Doug Van Sant/Courtesy of
Elusive R&B singer Frank Ocean performed at the Panorama Festival on
Friday, his first concert in New York City in five years, in
a set marked both for its intimacy and its elaborate production,
headed by legendary film director Spike Jonze.
Rather than perform on a traditional stage, Ocean and his team
created a runway and central platform that extended down the
middle of the audience.
The set-up allowed Ocean to spend the set wandering up and down
the runway, sitting calmly in a chair at the center, or hanging
out at the front of the platform with a keyboard.
Fans that were lucky enough (or got there early) to make their
way to the the closest third of the audience were gifted with a
close-up view of Ocean, depending on which area of the crowd he
decided to sing to during a song.
The central platform was arranged with a keyboard, a tapedeck,
some speakers, and a few clear chairs for his band — who didn’t
even come out for the first couple of songs and played from a pit
below the stage.
At times, the set gave off the feeling of watching a recital or a
jam session in someone’s living room, not a festival headliner.
The minimalist arrangement meshed well with Ocean’s spare style,
but was contrasted by all the other elements that went into the
The main stage was reconfigured with a video screen that
stretched 30 feet high and 170 feet wide, wrapping around the
Nikki Jahanforouz/Courtesy of
A kind of improvisational concert film played on the screen, with
a team of camera operators running around the platform with
Ocean, capturing his every move:
The camera work, which mixed ultra-HD and lo-fi video cameras,
was directed by none other than Jonze, best known for “Her” and
“Being John Malkovich.”
Some have speculated that…