First and foremost, I’d like to thank everyone for their reception of my channel ORANGE album review; it means a lot that people actually respect my opinion (or argue with me over it) and that I’m able to make a sort of connection with the people. It’s not the last one to happen; there will be more, but again…thank you.
When I found out that Frank Ocean was coming to Toronto, I, like many people in the city and the outskirts, automatically proclaimed that I would be attending this concert, because in such a short time span, who REALLY in their right minds would have thought that he would be such a big name? We all knew that ‘nostalgia, ultra’ was a great mixtape, and the smash hit ‘Novacane’ was all over the place. You literally couldn’t go anywhere without hearing it, but that’s not a bad thing. Also, people tend to forget that he’s a member of Odd Future and feel like he doesn’t belong, but they really miss the whole point of Odd Future as a whole, and I won’t get into that, because that’s not why I’m here, so I digress.
When I say that this concert sold out QUICK, I’m really not joking. You couldn’t really think about it, it was an act of instinct, and the answer was either Yes or No. There was no “you know…let me chill and wait until I get paid before I buy this ticket,” it wasn’t one of those moments. This concert was so anticipated, 2 people told me in text messages not to broadcast it to anyone because it would be getting huge…but…in time….of course I had to say something.
Concert doors were supposed to open at 7pm at Koolhaus (moved from The Guvernment, even though they’re….right…beside…each…other *signature confused STiXX face*), but what had happened was, I got down there at 6pm, and there was already a big ass line down the side of the building and around the corner.
I was informed by a friend (Shout out to Denina) that people have been lining up since 10am. We even heard people say that there were people in line since 8am….listen….I WAS STILL SLEEPING! The fans are insane, but when it’s your favourite artist, I can sort of understand…but still…holy crap!
So, I’m waiting around with my homies Bruce, Nat, and his girlfriend, and during the day, it had rained already, almost like a bad omen or something, but it had simmered, but then…Mother Nature decided to play tricks on people by starting to rain…AGAIN! It wasn’t hardcore torrential rain, but it was enough that I had to crawl under someone’s umbrella who I had no idea was, but still had that positive vibe to do something like that, so whatever.
So, we’re waiting….and waiting….and waiting some more. 7 o’clock hits – we’re still in line. Cool. 8 o’clock hits, we’ve managed to move about 7 feet from our previous standing spot. We pretty much got inside around 8:15-8:25ish (give or take), and we proceeded to take our standing positions & make last minute washroom trips before it got too crazy packed in there. Now, listen, you can scroll down and read when Frank actually comes out (because he does), but this is a serious thing here. So, as music is playing, more people are filing in, we’re waiting patiently. We were thinking 9pm he’ll come out, and then kill it for 2 hours – nope. 9pm came, and no Francis. 9:30 – no Francis. You see where I’m going here? The people were getting antsy; I’m on my dying phone texting 2. Bad. Bitches. At the. Same. Damn. Time (you wanted to say it, so I said it for you – you’re welcome), and quite honestly, when you have long arms & legs like Nathaniel & I, we grew to be physically exhausted. The only sign of a good thing coming was that the “DJ” or perhaps a pre-recorded CD started playing songs from Hodgy Beats’ ‘Untitled EP’ that came out earlier this year. People were shazamming the song, and I even had to explain to this guy who he was…clearly, they weren’t Odd Future fans, but that’s fine. I just wanted the show to start, as did the thousands of people who were: Hot, tired, smelly, couldn’t breathe because of the choke of the marijuana smoke (Thank you Biggie), and overall just…IMPATIENT! But…alas
The Man. Finally. Showed Up.
He came out as the lights dimmed, and the stage was lit by the stage lights and the hundreds of camera phones & cameras in the crowd (P.S, never listen to Koolhaus ever again about a camera policy….DISPOSABLE CAMERAS MY ASS). He came out performing a song I didn’t recognize at first, and me and the crew were earlier guessing which songs he would perform first. I was almost right. He performed a cover of Sade’s ‘By Your Side’ (one of my personal favourites by her) and he really got the party started. He performed songs from Nostalgia, Ultra (Strawberry Swing, American Wedding, Swim Good, and Novacane) and I will tell you right now; the crowd sang every word of every song for the ENTIRE SHOW! Honestly, I’ve never been to an R&B concert, but of all the concerts I’ve ever been to, I’ve never seen that. We were practically singing the songs with him in unison, and it was just – amazing.
He indicated that he had the flu at the beginning of the show, but even still, he was still singing great; you really couldn’t tell that he was sick until he started talking to the crowd. He’s a laid back, cool dude, and that adds to his mysterious persona, because he hasn’t really been in the public eye since his appearance on ‘Late Night with Jimmy Fallon’ when he performed ‘Bad Religion’ (which is as amazing live as it was watching it performed on TV).
Choice songs that he performed for his surprisingly short set (literally like…an hour or just a little over that) from Channel Orange were: Super Rich Kids, Lost, Crack Rock, Bad Religion (as I said before), Forrest Gump, Sweet Life (amazing), Thinkin Bout You, and lastly, Pyramids. No, he didn’t perform Pink Matter, and no, Andre 3000 wasn’t making an appearance that many had wished for (Double L). He also threw in ‘Made In America’ from his feature on Kanye & Jay –Z’s ‘Watch The Throne.’
I failed to mention this earlier, but Frank had a live band behind him the entire time. If that’s not some amazing stuff, then I don’t know what is. Pyramids sounded simply BEAUTIFUL, especially when he did the Kanye-esque autotune solo into the microphone, and the lead guitarist held down a dynamic solo. All around, brilliance. I don’t know how many times he’s used a live band behind him, but he had the whole ensemble and it was amazing. I won’t lie, I did want to see ‘Monks’ performed live, because the song itself sounds like a live band would rock it, but that didn’t happen. But wait, that wasn’t all. After he performed ‘Pyramids’ and gave us a goodbye, the crowd was cheering and then started chanting ‘Frankie’ & ‘Encore’ until he came back out and performed a song that he had wrote for Beyonce, entitled ‘I Miss You’ (and I’m just hearing Beyonce’s version for the first time, and I have to go with Frank on this one)
The performance was great, the waiting 4 hours (for me, at least) was not. But overall, it was worth it. Frank Ocean is a great artist who still has much more to give as far as him being an artist. How many people can say that they’re selling out concerts before their DEBUT album comes out? The power of music & the internet have really been able to draw out big crowds for people without even having to release an album (See – Kendrick Lamar).
Frank is one of the most interesting figures out right now, but not only that, he’s also one of the most talented and creative. For all that attended a show of his, not just in Toronto, but whichever city he stopped at, we witnessed something great. For those who did not have the opportunity to do so, I strongly advise not to miss an opportunity like this again. It’s worth it, but hopefully you won’t have to wait that long for him, but the lines will only be longer the next time around. So, for now, until the next event
That’s My Word & It STiXX