Considering the fact that I have been following every track that he has made for over a year now it might surprise people that know me to know that I have never seen Frank Ocean live. It is only thanks to a friend of mine (shout out Anoushka) that I got tickets to this sold out show at the last second. I must admit, going into the evening I was concerned about how Ocean would live up to the incredible recordings that I have come to know and love. As a singer I know that recording an awesome track and giving an awesome performance are too very different things, and I was afraid that the smoothness of his falsetto would not come across great in a packed auditorium, especially after some negative reports from people who saw him at Coachella. I’d say he got maybe a half a song into the night before I realized that there was going to be absolutely no fall off in the quality that I had come to expect from him, and that in fact his voice was even more impressive live. Comfortable in his upper register, Frank delivered his music every bit as well timed as one of his biggest fans would expect.
The stage was perfectly set: a live band, a visualizer projection, rows of televisions broadcasting obscure and random things like Nascar races and moon landings, and a single stool and microphone with a cup of tea. The show felt much shorter than it was, as all great shows usually are, but he seamlessly mixed in his best music from Nostalgia Ultra and channelOrange. At one point an odd future member leapt from the top balcony to the stage to join the performance which clearly wasn’t communicated to the stage manager who tried to tackle him before realizing who he was (I caught the entire exchange on video and will upload it as soon as I get a chance). In fact, the entire OFWGKTA was in the house enjoying the show and perhaps the only disappointment that I had was that they didn’t join him for an encore. Made it in America was performed which only served to remind me of how disappointed I was that Jay and Ye didn’t make an appearance on his album.
If you haven’t gathered already I want to be very clearly that I would highly recommend that you see this man live. One of the most refreshing things about this show is that the crowd was composed of people who actually like his music. Not just the random crowd of teenagers who heard a song on the radio and had nothing else to do on a Monday night, but people who were singing along to tracks that haven’t even really been out long enough to know all of the words to (unless you, like me, have been listening to the album on repeat since it was released). I hope that Frank Ocean continues the incredible work, because to me he is the most talented R&B in the game right now, and has nowhere to go but up.