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Frank Ocean’s Coachella performance: tributes, delays, curfews & covers

Frank Ocean’s Coachella performance: tributes, delays, curfews & covers


Update: This piece was updated to reflect news of an ankle injury and production issues.

Frank Ocean played his first headline set since Flow Festival in Finland in 2017, last night by headlining night three of the first weekend of Coachella in Indio California.

An hour delay

However, the live stream was pulled from the schedule with a few hours to go, and the set started an hour late apparently due to production issues. There was no Frank Ocean merch on sale on the site, as many fans had hoped.

After the hour delay, the set begun with ‘Novacane’ and was divided into 3 sets of music. Part 1 featured ‘Bad Religion’, ‘White Ferrari’, ‘Solo’, ‘Pink +White’, and an unreleased Sango remix of ‘Chanel’.

“It’s been so long, but I have missed you,” Frank said after ‘White Ferrari’. “I wanna talk about why I’m here because it’s not because of a new album … not that there’s not an album, but there’s not right now”.

Tribute to late brother

“My brother and I came to this festival a lot.. I felt like I was dragged out here half the time, I hated the dust… but one of my fondest memories was watching Rae Sremmurd with my brother, … I know he would have been so excited to have been here with us, and I wanted to say thank you for the support, the ears and the love of all this time.”

Ocean dedicated the set to his brother Ryan Breaux, who died in 2020 in a car crash.

DJ interlude

Part 2 was a short DJ set intermission performed by DJ Crystallmess with Jersey Club remixes, Underworld, Ice Spice and ‘No Church In The Wild’ that nodded to Frank’s PrEP+ club night he put on in New York in 2019 and 2020.

“I feel like in 2020 when I was just starting to throw parties in little clubs in New York and I was having such a good time, it’s become such a part of my practice now. It’s good that it’s not always about me and I wanted to bring a little bit of that in to this.”


Part 3 featured ‘Self Control’ , ‘Nikes’ , Nights (Sango remix)’ and two covers ‘Night Life’ by Willie Nelson (also covered by Marvin Gaye and Aretha Franklin) and The Isley Brothers’ ‘At Your Best (You Are Love)’, which was covered by Aaliyah, and is a song that Frank first covered on his Tumblr in 2015 to mark Aaliyah’s passing. A version of the song is on Endless.

Ankle Injury & Ice rink

The set was apparently cut short due to curfew and the one hour delay to the set.

Reports have since emerged that there was intended to be an ice rink with skaters that Frank decided to remove from the production at short notice.

It was then suggested thank Frank had injured his ankle in a biking accident on site before the show which affected his performance (and is called serious by TMZ) and lead to a scaled back production, which was planned indeed to use an ice rink and 100 LA-based hockey players.

After arriving on site Sunday, the hockey players were told the skating routine was cancelled, and they could come on as background dancers. The players were given some custom Prada gear as an apology.

Fans left disappointed

Most fans at home watched the show via fan live streams from the crowd, and it has since emerged since this initial report that Frank was content to let the backing track do the work while he danced around during some songs and also apparently sat on a stool. His movement during the show doesn’t suggest a severe ankle injury though.

Better look at the real Frank
by u/Electrical-Animal-30 in FrankOcean

Many fans were in attendance were not happy with the show as a result, and felt long delays between songs, unfocused performance and the reliance on pre-recorded songs weren’t good enough for a Coachella headline set.

Frank Ocean has been able to rely on his reclusive enigmatic image for his art, but aspects of the weekend 1 Coachella performance that appear to show a lack of care in the overall show, has left some to think twice about their love of Frank, the mysterious artist.

Frank Ocean is scheduled to play again next Sunday so I guess we’ll find out if any of this will be addressed or improved.

Here’s the setlist:

Frank Ocean – Coachella 2023 setlist – Weekend 1
Part 1

‘Come On World, You Can’t Go!’
‘Crack Rock’
‘Bad Religion’
‘White Ferarri’
‘Pink + White’

Part 2

‘Lost’ (Interpolated with “Born Slippy (Nuxx)” by Underworld; Jersey Club Remix)
‘Slide'(Jersey Club Remix)
‘In Ha Mood’ (Ice Spice)
‘Provider'(Jersey Club Remix)
‘In My Room’ (Jersey Club Remix)
No Church in the Wild / Pyramids (Beyonce / Kanye / Frank songs) (Mashup)

Part 3
‘Wise Man’ (unreleased)
‘Night Life’ (Marvin Gaye cover)
‘Self Control’
‘Nikes’ (short)
‘Nights’ (Sango remix)
‘At Your Best (You Are Love)’ (The Isley Brothers cover)

Setlist.FM listing

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