Frank Ocean Returns With Baffling Coachella Performance, Panned By Critics
Frank Ocean hasn’t performed in six years, but the alternative R&B singer returned to the stage at Coachella on Sunday night. Ocean was scheduled to headline the festival in 2020 before the pandemic hit, and again last year before he postponed the performance to 2023.
Rumors spread beforehand about possible new music as Ocean hasn’t released a studio album since Blonde in 2016. It made Ocean’s set one of the most anticipated of Coachella.
Earlier that day, the festival announced that Ocean’s set wouldn’t be live-streamed on YouTube like every other performance. His show was scheduled to start at 10:05 p.m., but he didn’t show up after an hour, causing many to fear he had canceled.
However, Ocean finally began playing after 11 p.m., opening with “Novacane.” The singer sat in the middle of the stage with his face obscured by a blue hoodie. There were long pauses in between songs like “Crack Rock” and “White Ferrari” with Ocean barely interacting with the crowd. The first time he did speak, he gave fans a vague update, saying that there is a new album but with no further details.
Ocean and his musicians intentionally hid behind a group of people walking in a circle onstage around them. They could only be seen on a video projected on a giant screen.
Further into his performance, Ocean opened up, sharing a memory of his first performance at Coachella 11 years ago before the release of Channel Orange. He then talked about attending the festival with his late brother, Ryan Breaux, who died in a car accident in 2020.
A DJ then started playing EDM in the middle of the set without an introduction. The cameras then rolled over to Ocean holding the green baby doll that he brought to the 2019 Met Gala. He then lip-synced to some tracks before cutting the performance due to the festival’s curfew.
It remains to be seen what his second performance will be like next weekend. Although Ocean is known for his eccentric and unpredictable nature, many fans may have felt hard done by, considering it was his first performance in years.
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