Frank Ocean delivered a polarizing Coachella performance on Sunday night, hitting the stage an hour late, enlisting a DJ to perform six songs during the middle of his set, and then abruptly ending due to curfew. It wasn’t what fans were expecting of his first live show in six years, but a new Rolling Stone report claims it was because Ocean sustained an ankle injury in the days before his performance.
Fans first grew weary of Frank’s set when Coachella announced his performance would no longer be streamed live. Then, after he ended his set, a viral tweet claimed the enigmatic artist demanded last-minute changes to his production design, including the scrapping of an iceskating performance he had planned. A source told Rolling Stone that these changes were actually doctor’s orders to accommodate Ocean’s injury, which TMZ reports involved bikes used to get around the festival grounds.
The injury was supposedly the impetus for the change in production design, as well as why the 100+ hockey players hired for ice skating would instead serve as background dancers. Rolling Stone also says it’s why Ocean spent part of the performance seated — though at other points during the set he was seen dancing, so… yeah. There’s also still no explanation for the stretch of songs that Frank didn’t sing along to; “Chanel,” “Nikes,” and “Nights,” among others, were played from a tape, with Ocean merely listening to the backing track.
As for the mid-performance DJ set, Ocean explained on stage that he wanted to take some of the Coachella crowd’s attention away from him and onto an artist he believed was equally worthy of admiration. “This is fucking chaotic but so much fun.… Looking back, I feel like in 2020, when I was just starting to throw parties in little clubs in New York before shit started going down, I was having a good time listening to new music, with DJs coming in on their shit,” he said. “It’s become part of my weekly practice with Homer Radio. It’s good that it’s not always all about me, so I wanted to bring a little of that.”
Rolling Stone’s source also denied that Ocean ended his performance early, actually stating that his set went longer than planned. Even though the artist pointed to Coachella’s midnight curfew as a reason for the short set, the source claims Ocean only planned to play 20 songs, but ultimately ran through 24. These numbers include DJ Crystall Mess’ performance.
Despite his controversial performance, Ocean is still slated to close out the second weekend of Coachella on Sunday, April 23rd.