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After 2 Years of NADA, I FINALLY went to a Concert last night. And the wait was well worth it because Frank Ocean performing at San Francisco’s Regency Ballroom was a great experience on different levels.

Is this review going to give you a detailed set list? NO! Will I write a chronological list of exactly what happened from start to finish? NO!

What I want to do with this review is give a sense of the vibe of the show and an overall look at this amazing rising star.

First things first, me and my friend were commenting on the crowd which was beautifully diverse. Every racial make up was present, and every little niche group from the Hipsters to the Backpackers to the College Kids were there. Observing the crowd during the show, everybody was having a great time. Hanging on every word Frank sung and just showing him some true Bay Love!! It was a very positive, yes very youthful, crowd and you could tell everyone adored the man on stage.

Frank was just adorable when he finally walked out. It was a trip because Ocean is someone who is highly respected across the globe for over a year now, yet he seemed so humbled and actually surprised that a room full of people knew his music. You could see his little smirks when the crowd took over singing a song like “Novacane” or “Sweet Life”. There was a bit early in the show where he kneeled down to touch the hands of the girls in the front row, and he seemed shocked and almost like he didn’t know what to do with their adoration. It was really nice, and new for me, to see an artist who is so regular. He’s on the cusp of great things (I predict the Grammy’s will love him come December), and whatever the future holds it was nice to see him like this. Just an artist doing what he loves, and astonished that so many are fans of his art.

Funny enough, in 2004 me and my friend (the same friend) saw Kanye West at the same venue when his debut album first dropped. Maybe because Kanye was more Hip Hop and that super confident braggadocio is expected in that genre, but the vibe of the two artists were completely different even though we saw them at about the same points in their career.

As far as the actual performance, Frank more than held his own and showed he’s just a work in progress as a live performer. Ocean sounded great, just as good and sometimes better than his recorded work. When he finally busted out with his own material (he opened the show with a subdued cover of Prince’s “When You Were Mine” — i went CRAZY!! — and followed it with some country song), the crowd went ape shit nuts for “Thinkin Bout You”. Since the crowd was singing along with every word Frank managed to throw in some impressive runs and high notes to stand out above the crowd and it sounded light years better than the album version because of it. He wasn’t in full voice the whole night, but there were plenty of times when he’d bust out with a power note or a delicious ad-lib that showed the boy knows how to sing.

Most of his set was appropriately coming from his new album “Channel Orange”, with a few tracks from his mixtape “Nostalgia, Ultra” thrown in. He didn’t sing either my nor my friends favorite songs (“Love Crimes”, “We All Try” and “Dust”), but hey it’s not our personal show so we got over it! From “Nostalgia” Frank pulled “Novacane”, “Strawberry Swing” and “American Wedding” (which I believe he said “got him in trouble”) and the rest of the night was mostly “Orange” material (again… I was so wanting to hear “Pink Matter” or “Lost” but nada).

A few moments when the crowd went nuts. “Forrest Gump”, because it’s uptempo and extremely catchy the crowd was with him 100%. Same with “Sweet Life” and “Super Rich Kids” which provided the most fun and energy in what was mostly a down tempo set. (During “Super Rich Kids” I have NO idea what happened. A guy jumped down on stage from the balcony, at first I thought it was Earl Sweatshirt… until Security swung at him on stage. But than a minute later he was standing by Frank’s side dancing with him. so WTF?)

Than, towards the end, the crowd went INSANE for “Pyramids”. And most understandably for the second part of that song which is frikkin EPIC! (I loved how the crowd added their “hey- hey- hey” to it) Frank peaced out, but than came back for one last number. He sat a piano and did his own version of Beyonce’s “I Miss You”, which he wrote for her from her last album “4” (I should also mention he did his bit of “Made In America” from Jay and Kanye’s “The Throne” album). Now anybody that opens with a Prince cover and closes with Beyonce is a friend of mine… “it’s so simple, but it’s e-everything” gave me so much life and left me very satisfied.

Overall, yeah… he’s not a great showman. There was not much room, but he only either sat on his stool or walked back and forth on stage. These things can be worked on, but than you have to think his music is so “indie” and deeper than the average that he probably isn’t going to be that type of performer anyway. The important thing, his voice, was in top form though. The experience was just great because you had a beautiful crowd giving him so much love, and he seemed to look at us the same way. In Awe of our excitement, and we were all in Awe of his talent. Great show!

Thank xanman86 and 6ariannajade9 for posting those YouTube clips so quickly!!

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