*this post is for yesterday, 8.3.2012*
As the lights grew dim, the screams became louder. Having waited for almost an hour, it was finally time. Bodies damp with sweat from the humidity attempt to hold in their bursting excitement as he slowly makes his way to center stage. He almost looks scared. Nervous even as he peeks out at us from a bowed head. For a second, he looks as if he belongs in the audience standing among us. Dressed in a simple two-toned button up over a white tee, dark jeans & Dunks, his signature American flag bandana tied around his head. Without any words, he took his seat on the stool, one foot resting on the second rung, the other hanging lazily. He looked as if he belonged there as he proceeded to sing a beautiful cover of Sade's "By Your Side".
Frank Ocean is everything his hype makes him out to be. Prior to this night, I told myself to focus on his mannerisms and body language as he went through his set. I wanted to see the different emotions he would feel with each song. His electrifying smile was undeniable throughout the show. It's that infectious kind that curls your lips upward without you having to try. It's quite adorable actually. With each song he seemed to genuinely be enjoying himself and in between them, he would just stand and bask in his glory.
The love and admiration the fans showed this man tonight was unbelievable, despite his most recent confession (which is his own personal business). He would look out into the audience a few times and just stare in amazement, as if we didn't feel the same way about him. In my case, it wasn't even on the level of being star-struck but more so at his level of talent. When I tell you this brotha can SING!!!! His Maxwell-esque falsetto gave me chills as he blessed us with his current single, "Thinkin' Bout You". He wasn't selfish either, sharing the mic with his amazing background singers (that'd be us, the audience). Between him, us and that dope a** 3-man band he had…whoo! I wish you could've been there!
Known for his sometimes dark and complex lyrics (Swim Good), young Frankie really seemed to be in a good space as he serenaded us. It was as if he was infecting the crowd with his good vibes (*swoons again as I think about that smile and those bright and eager eyes*).
As he readied himself to perform "Bad Religion", the song that started all the controversy surrounding his sexual preference, I zoned in. His eyes told a story of another language, one that I could not decipher. With each word and note, I could feel the hurt as he painfully remembered a love lost, pleading with the taxi driver to help alleviate the pain.
When he finished, I watched the crowd erupt in what I assume to believe was their acceptance of him. Everyone by now is familiar with Ocean and how he fell in love with a male friend at 19 years old. Listening to the crowd grow to the decibel right below 'permanent hearing damage', something came over me. It had a cooling effect almost as I panned the entire crowd, balcony included, just to take in what was happening.
Ocean has reached a place in his life where he seems at peace with himself and his reality, whatever that may be. I guess you can say I'm proud of him for not giving a d*mn about what people think. That takes courage and I can only image how freeing that can be. The show was an amazing experience that was a perfect ending to a great summer in one of my favorite cities.