Watch Pharrell Perform 'Freedom' Atop 'Tonight Show' Marquee - Rolling Stone
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Watch Pharrell Perform ‘Freedom’ Atop ‘Tonight Show’ Marquee

Singer becomes first musical guest to stage Sixth Avenue gig

Jimmy Fallon capped off a Donald Trump-filled episode of The Tonight Show Friday with Pharrell Williams showcasing his latest single “Freedom.” The “unprecedented” performance marked a first for the late-night show as Williams and company delivered the song from atop The Tonight Show marquee outside 30 Rock and right next to New York’s Radio City Music Hall.

“You know why I love New York City? Because you guys make no apologies for who you are. You make no apologies for your accents. And you make no apologies for the way that you dress,” Williams told the Sixth Avenue crowd before launching into “Freedom.” “So tonight, I would love for the rest of the world to see what freedom looks like and sounds like. What say you, New York City?” Williams’ call to celebrate “Freedom” fell on the 14th anniversary of 9/11, and Pharrell tweeted of the “special” performance, “#neverforget.”

Fallon becomes the latest late-night host to bring his musical guests outside the studio confines: Artists like Paul McCartney and Jay Z have performed atop the Ed Sullivan Theatre marquee during Late Show With David Letterman appearances, while Jimmy Kimmel Live! often sets up an outdoor venue near Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue, like Van Halen’s Kimmel gig in March.

The Tonight Show marquee isn’t the only big stage to see “Freedom” in the past few weeks: Pharrell also brought the single to the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, where he similarly hosted an open air pop pep rally, this time outside Los Angeles’ Orpheum Theater.


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