Published Jul 21, 2014Frank Ocean had initially been booked for a late afternoon slot at Pemberton Music Festival, but a last-minute scheduling change meant that he played after Sunday headliners Outkast. As the final performer of the weekend, he brought things to a mellow, soulful end, acting as a soothing digestif after so much partying.
He appeared on stage alone, silhouetted against a large screen displaying dreamily abstract visuals and hazy colour gradients. At times, he sauntered over to a record player close to his mic stand, dropping the needle and singing along to the tracks. This leant a sense of personal intimacy to a performance that was essentially a one-man karaoke session.
The bulk of the set list came from his 2012 masterpiece Channel Orange. His falsetto reached angelic heights on set opening "Thinkin Bout You" and he rapped Earl Sweatshirt's chorus on "Super Rich Kids." The only disappointment was "Pink Matter," as fans groaned when it ended without a guest appearance from André 3000 (who is featured on the album version, and had just appeared with Outkast at an adjacent stage).
Ocean also dipped into his earlier Nostalgia, Ultra mixtape for the standout "Novocane," its tale of chemically-induced festival oblivion doubtless ringing true to more than a few spectators.
The epic, thumping "Pyramids" would have provided the perfect exclamation mark on the set, but the fans called him back for an encore. Ocean clearly hadn't planned on this finale, but he obliged with the gorgeous "Wise Man," sending campers back to their tents with a mood of calm satisfaction.
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