Concert Coverage: An Evening with Frank Ocean
An Evening with Frank Ocean @ Terminal 5, NY on July 26th
On July 26th at Terminal 5, I got to the venue at 8:40 in the morning with a lawn chair, an umbrella, my camera, and a pair of headphones. I sat there next to the venue for hours, thinking about what the set list would be, would the Odd Future crew perform, and was it worth getting to Terminal 5 so early. Well, I can tell you that it was definitely worth it. By 5:00 PM, the line for the concert was around the block. Fans of all ethnicities, of all stereotypes, men and women, and of all different sexual preferences came just to see one man perform his music.
The power of one person with a microphone has always been an interesting idea to me. It’s why music has always been a part of my life. It’s why I enjoy writing these pieces about artists I listen to. This man has made waves in the music industry for quite some time. He has written for some of the most prominent names in the music industry. Frank Ocean has gotten rappers to accept him coming out. A generally homophobic part of the music industry, known for anti-gay lyrics, accepting a man with only one album out. We live in a time full of acceptance where the music is what matters and not the drama of someone’s personal life.
When I was finally inside, front row, and at center stage for the concert, I stood there, arms over the barrier anticipating a very beautiful, introspective performance. He delivered a hundred fold. About an hour before, on the balcony, the entire Odd Future crew arrived in the VIP section to watch a part of their “family” perform that night. Earl and Tyler laughed with Clancy, their manager, while Taco, Jasper, Domo, Hodgy, and LeftBrain goofed off. The vibe seemed very laid back.
With only minutes left before Frank came out, the person next to me and myself decided to start chanting “Frankie” and the entire venue erupted in it. Once Frank Ocean came out, people went crazy. He started the performance with a cover song of Sade’s “By Your Side”. Then he performed a track that was unreleased called “Summer Remains”, that he released a video of him working on at his home a few months ago (Watch Here). I enjoyed this version a lot more because it was far more upbeat.
Ocean than said he wanted to play a few tracks off his widely successful nostalgia, ULTRA and the crowd went wild as he performed “Thinkin About U” and “Novocain”. I had been anticipating “Sweet Life” from the moments I heard it on channel ORANGE and it was amazing live. He went on to perform “Forrest Gump” and “Super Rich Kids”. Earl was singing along at the balcony and the crowd kept looking at him, expecting him to come down to perform his verse. Earl decided he didn’t want to perform his verse. But there was a moment where Earl could have performed Super Rich Kids and right when his verse was supposed to be performed, he waved his arm to pretty much say the song was over. Tyler immediately started laughing.
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Frank moved on to “Strawberry Swings”, his interpretation of the Coldplay song and then he sang the chorus to “Made in America”, his very popular collaboration with Kanye West and Jay-Z for the Watch the Throne album. The most interesting part of the concert was when he commented on the controversy of the song “American Wedding”, which was his reimagining of the Eagle’s song “Hotel California”. This version was very stripped down, more elegant sounding, and it sounded great. He then performed “Voodoo”, and left the stage while his guitarist did the instrumental to the song “White”.
He made his way through “Crack Rock”, “Swim Good”, “Lost”, and it all culminated with the final three songs of the night. Onstage, he said “It was my life, you know?” “And I felt the need to say that, so I did.” As the one singular light shone behind him, he crooned his most personal song. The entire place was clapping immensely and Frank Ocean smiled, grateful to be accepted by fans who loved him for his music. To the fans, it didn’t matter what his sexual preferences were, because his music was so wonderful.
Then he played “Pyramids”, which was just as great live. He had the whole crowd making triangles with their hands (similar to the diamonds for HOVA). Tyler and Earl were jumping up and down, going crazy while listening to Frank perform. For Frank’s final song, he came out and performed a song that he wrote for Beyonce called “I Miss You”. As he sat at the piano, singing this song, I could no longer associate it with her. It was Frank Ocean’s track and always had been. It goes to show that the music he creates is so special, that even if he decided to share the track with another artist, it will always be his song.
Overall, it was an amazing concert and it was worth camping out 12-13 hours to see him perform live. From the rug on the stage floor, to the stacks of TVs, and the screen displaying revolving TVs around a disco ball, the set up was great. The stage crew graciously gave me the set list from the stage. Look below.