Guest Blog: Frank Ocean – Live at Paradise Rock Club (Review)
@whoa_shutitdown was able to catch Frank Ocean’s performance at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston, MA, this past Saturday. He was nice enough to grace our readers with a recap of the night’s events. On the fence about shelling out cash to see Ocean? Read this review, then make your decision. Hit the cut to read on & head to the Member’s Section to check out Channel Orange if you haven’t already.
“On Saturday July 28th, Boston was treated to an explosive performance from one of R&B’s rising stars. Frank Ocean sold out Boston’s Paradise Rock Club and the rest of his tour dates before even releasing his first full length album, Channel Orange. Frank Ocean, the “big brother” of Odd Future was once a relatively unknown force, garnering a cult following the release of his mixtape Nostalgia, Ultra. Recent collaborations with artists like Jay-Z and, more recently headlines regarding his sexuality, have catapulted this 24 year old from Long Beach, CA into the limelight.
Having been a fan of Frank Ocean for over a year, I’m glad that he’s getting the recognition that he deserves. I have seen Odd Future twice in concert, but never with Frank supporting. I camped on my computer as the tickets were released and managed to score one general admission ticket to the Paradise, which I was absolutely certain would sell out within a couple hours. No sooner had I finished my purchase did I notice that countless others shared my mindset. Frank Ocean sold out one of Boston’s premiere venues in less than an hour. What follows is my experience at Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange Tour at the Paradise.
Despite their best efforts, the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority failed to keep me from the Paradise. I arrived to the venue at 6:30, an hour and a half before the doors were scheduled to open. What I saw astounded me – a line that circled the entire city block. Never mind the fact that it was pouring, the enthusiastic turnout for this show could only mean great things were in store. I made it into the venue at 9:15, and the show had not started at its scheduled time due to the sheer volume of people attending. The lights dimmed and the crowd erupted as two men with acoustic guitars walked onto stage and begun playing. I didn’t recognize the song, and thought that there was going to be an opener that hadn’t been announced. Then Frank waltzed onto the stage and sang a cover of “By Your Side” by Sade.
Frank was accompanied by a full band – guitars, bass, drums, synth and piano, something that I had not expected. This was a pleasant surprise and it left no room for any sort of lip-syncing that is so pervasive in popular music nowadays. Frank Ocean took some liberties with his own music when arranging the instrumentals for a live band. Hits like “Novacane” took on a symphonic feel that was nothing short of spectacular. The evening featured a fair balance between his newer material from Channel Orange and older songs from Nostalgia, Ultra to satisfy fans like myself, who have been digging him over the last year and a half. Notable was his rendition of “American Wedding”, my favorite song of his. He stated that he got in trouble for this song, and was unable to perform it as was written on the album. Regardless, the way he made the song…legal (for a lack of a better word) to play was fantastic and I feel like a re-recorded version could make its way onto a future EP.
It’s hard to really pick a stand out track from Channel Orange like one can with Nostalgia, Ultra with “Novacane”, but the reception for “Pyramids” from the audience was by far the most enthusiastic. Ocean’s Magnum Opus, “Pyramids” is an unconventionally long R&B clocking in at almost 10 minutes. The song shifts from a club anthem to a soulful hit seamlessly and the crowd followed suit, dancing and singing along with Frank.
For Frank to experience such success in such a short period of time is nothing short of amazing and it’s clear that the young crooner knows this, expressing his appreciation for every single one of us coming out that night. His catchy and soulful albums and finely-tuned performances make Frank a powerhouse of R&B and I urge any one of his fans to see him live. He treads that fine line between staying true to his recorded sound while still evolving musically in a live setting. Many artists fail to be so versatile and his ability to do such will skyrocket him to the tops of the charts for sure.”