Frank Ocean Disappoints at Coachella

By: Aliya Koshalieva

Graphics Editor

After a long hiatus and a highly anticipated comeback, singer Frank Ocean hit the stage as the Coachella Festival headliner. This concert marked his first performance after a six-year-long break. However, his performance was panned by both critics and festival-goers, with some fans leaving during his set.  

Hours before his performance, YouTube, which was live-streaming all of the shows, tweeted a reminder about Ocean’s set, which was promptly deleted. Fans reacted with fear that there would be no live stream, which YouTube confirmed later in the day. Fans then scrambled to find other live streams of festival attendees using social media platforms. 

Ocean was set to hit the main stage at 10:05 pm, but an alleged delay in production caused him to come out an hour later. The production delay resulted from Ocean cutting the ice rink from his stage at the last minute, leaving the crew rushing to melt and remove the rink. This left fans confused as the crew carried ladders back and forth in a hard-to-see stage filled with rows of computers. Fans initially thought this was a nod to Endless, Ocean’s visual album, where he builds a staircase within 45 minutes. However, it grew clear that this was not the case. To keep the crowd entertained, the DJ played house music. 

Ocean finally came on stage around 11:15 pm, delivering a promising rendition of his hit song Novacane, which tells the story of drugs at Coachella. However, the set design obstructed fans’ views of Ocean throughout most of his performance. During his 90-minute concert, fans spotted a camera crew recording the set, leading fans to think that he was planning a new visual album or recording. Ocean sang or lip-synched to Jersey Shore remixes of his songs and  repeatedly left the stage and came back during songs, confusing fans. The DJ, however, kept playing songs, leaving the crowd wanting more. A memorable moment during his set occurred when a security guard twerked to the DJ’s remixes, which went viral on social media. Another viral moment was Ocean dancing to songs Nikes and Nights while the track played behind him. Many fans were disappointed with his set, comparing it to Karaoke. 

As if to compensate for his set, Ocean was very interactive with his audience. He confirmed another album is on the way, then in another touching moment, Ocean recounted his memories at previous Coachellas with his late brother Ryan, who passed away in a car crash in 2020, accompanied by a tear-jerking version of the song Godspeed in honor of his brother. 

He suddenly ended his performance 25 minutes after the curfew, even though he had been on stage for about 90 minutes. Going past the midnight curfew meant Coachella organizers fined Ocean $45,000. Two days later, Ocean’s representatives announced that he was dropping out of weekend two, citing a bee sting mere moments before his show and a broken ankle from a biking incident, leaving fans devastated. 

(Sources: Billboard, SF Gate, Variety) 

Categories: Culture

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