Most would agree Panorama Music Festival’s main selling point was securing Frank Ocean as the opening night headliner. But by the third and final day (July 30), the crowd had just as much excitement and energy as day one.
While several electronic acts like Mura Masa and Cashmere Cat delivered dance-worthy sets, the two veteran acts that closed out the night — A Tribe Called Quest and headliners Nine Inch Nails — were surely the main draw.
2:28 — Rev. Vince Anderson and His Love Choir were just about out of time, but the rabble-rousing, life-affirming retro soul brass band went out with a bang. Minutes after roasting the Trump regime with a song presumably titled, “I Don’t Think Jesus Woulda Done It That Way,” Anderson turned things ultra-positive, urging each audience member to strike up a conversation with a total stranger. (Most of the crowd did.) They closed out their set with “This Little Light of Mine,” and reminded the New York audience of their weekly Monday night residency at Brooklyn’s Union Pool.
4:01 — Bishop Briggs closed out the opening set on the Panorama main stage with her biggest banger, the alternative radio hit “River.” The vocalist bopped around the stage along to her towering hip-hop beats, rallying the crowd. Just when you thought she was winding down, she got the crowd to jump in unison to a final instrumental onslaught after the last chorus.
4:31 — “You guys don’t mind some bubbles on stage, do you? I got some bubbles in my amp,” Angel Olsen told the crowd at the Pavilion stage, who then erupted in cheers. Olsen mostly ran through newer tracks off her 2016 album My Woman while performing in front of her backing band that rocked matching gray-blue suits; meanwhile, the keys and synth pad at the front of the stage were draped in sparkly silver cloth. In between songs, Olsen often offered tidbits of advice such as, “You can’t be too thirsty” and the importance of being patient and kind, but her impressive range and vocal power was most inspiring of all.
5:18 — “Thank you New York City,” Andrew McMahon said from the main stage. “I know not everybody is here to see my band, so thank you for not fucking killing me out there.” He then launched into “So Close,” emerging from behind his piano to belt the hook from the edge of the stage. By song’s end, a sea of beach balls were bouncing around the crowd and later as he introduced “Synesthesia” McMahon left the stage for the middle of the crowd and spread out a parachute over fans’ heads — the kind you might remember from elementary school gym class — delivering the song among fans near its canopy with phones in his face.
5:33 — Considering McMahon’s set had seen him perform tracks from both of his old bands (Jack’s Mannequin‘s “Dark Blue” and Something Corporate‘s “I Woke Up in a Car”), to keep things dramatic for the grand finale, he broke out his biggest radio hit, “Cecilia and the Satellite,” complete with some inflatable arm-waving men — the kind you see at used car dealerships — just for this one. “This one’s for my baby girl Cecilia,” he said before launching into the harmony-laced piano rocker.
5:39 — Fresh off the release of his newly released self-titled debut, Mura Masa kicked off his set with “Lovesick F–k” and “Nuggets” that saw the female singer who performed with him deliver fiery vocals while twerking to the beat. Elsewhere, Desiigner hopped on stage to perform his track “All Around The World” and was sure to bust out several of his signature ad libs. All the while, Mura Masa switched between banging on a synth pad to a set of drums, cymbals and chimes set up next to him (he later played electric guitar and sang) that helped elevate his live delivery.
6:06 — While Cloud Nothings performed on the indoor parlor stage, the 1991 film Highway to Hell played on the screen behind them. Cloud Nothings was great; the film, arguably even better with such a charged up soundtrack. Now I have to go back and watch it with the sound on; not sure if I looked at the band for more than 30 seconds total. Fun fact: Ben Stiller’s first-ever film! That’ll be worth it when it comes up as a trivia question in 30 years.
7:31 — Heralding Tribe’s set was a large photo of Phife Dawg up on the big screen, the late Five-Foot Assassin who was so much part of the fabric of the group. And with no further warning, Q-Tip, Jarobi and Ali hit the stage, launching immediately into the Beastie Boys cut “Get It Together.” New track “Dis Generation,” with Consequence joining them on stage (he would remain for the rest of the show), was an early highlight, before they went back in the catalog with “Excursions”; Q-Tip even took a moment before the song to lace up his size 10-and-a-half-Nike’s. They returned to some newer material quickly, and started to let Phife’s verses ride, with his photo again up on the big screen, a fitting — and welcome — tribute that lasted throughout the show.
— Keith Nelson Jr (@JusAire) July 31, 2017
7:38 — “It’s been… A pretty rough week,” admits Kiiara inside the Parlor Stage. “There’s nothing much else to say… These next few songs are for Chester.” The pop artist was featured on Linkin Park‘s last big hit, the year’s “Heavy,” which acted for many as a final connection with LP singer Chester Bennington before he took his own life earlier this month. Kiiara sat and watched as Linkin Park’s “Battle Symphony” played and right after, she rose to her feet to deliver “Heavy,” along with her band, as the song’s music video played behind them. After that, she gave a quick, “Thank you, New York,” and left the stage, letting everyone think about Chester for another moment.
8:02 — “We have some very special guests in the house tonight. We have Phife Dawg’s parents in the house,” Q-Tip said. “We want to thank everybody in New York City for supporting A Tribe Called Quest since 1988… This is one of my favorite joints from Phife.” He then told the story of how he conceived the beat for “Butter” off Low End Theory — and how Phife simply made it his own — before letting the late MC’s verse rock a capella, a stirring and almost unreal moment that sent chills down the spine. With barely a break, the group then broke into “Sucka N—a” and “Steve Biko (Stir It Up)” — made even more incredible as Tip went back and forth with Phife’s vocals — before delivering a proper “Buggin’ Out,” a true Phife staple. Tip beatboxed the intro to “Bonita Applebum” before closing out with “We the People,” with Tip at his most passionate. Tribe was truly fantastic throughout, and New York City represented in response.
10:05 — “He meant the world to us — musically and as a person,” admitted Trent Reznor, readying the crowd for Nine Inch Nails’ cover of his good friend David Bowie‘s “I Can’t Give Everything Away.” The minimal Blackstar closer won over the crowd instantly.
10:38 — The song to close out Panorama 2017? Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt,” in all its minimal, gut-wrenching glory. We’ll see you next year, New York.