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OK, Seriously, What Was Frank Ocean’s Deal at Coachella?

Frank Ocean’s Coachella performance last Sunday (April 16) was so bizarre, beginning with the fact that much of it took place backstage, that some critics assumed it had to be a deliberate, brilliant deconstruction of expectations for festival headliners. Or something. Then Ocean himself said it “wasn’t what I intended to show” and canceled his performance for Coachella’s second weekend, a move his reps claimed was made on doctor’s orders due to a leg injury. All in all, it wasn’t what anyone expected from his first performance since 2017, with the world still waiting for a follow-up to 2016’s instant-classic Blonde.

In the new episode of Rolling Stone Music Now, Tomás Mier (who covered the Coachella performance) and Simon Vozick-Levinson join host Brian Hiatt to discuss the performance, Ocean’s possible mindset, whether it’s OK to admit that even geniuses can have a bad night onstage (the answer is “no” according to Justin Bieber), and Ocean’s whole brilliant and confounding career so far. Find the episode here at the podcast provider of your choice, go directly to Apple Podcasts or Spotify, or just press play above.


We also discuss new details that have emerged, including Rolling Stone‘s report that 100 ice skaters were set to join the performance before Ocean abruptly changed his mind (again, his reps blamed a leg injury for any changes.)

Download and subscribe to Rolling Stone‘s weekly podcast, Rolling Stone Music Now, hosted by Brian Hiatt, on Apple Podcasts or Spotify (or wherever you get your podcasts). Check out six years’ worth of episodes in the archive, including in-depth, career-spanning interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Mariah Carey, Halsey, Neil Young, Snoop Dogg, Brandi Carlile, Phoebe Bridgers, Rick Ross, Alicia Keys, the National, Ice Cube, Taylor Hawkins, Willow, Keith Richards, Robert Plant, Dua Lipa, Questlove, Killer Mike, Julian Casablancas, Sheryl Crow, Johnny Marr, Scott Weiland, Liam Gallagher, Alice Cooper, Fleetwood Mac, Elvis Costello, John Legend, Donald Fagen, Charlie Puth, Phil Collins, Justin Townes Earle, Stephen Malkmus, Sebastian Bach, Tom Petty, Eddie Van Halen, Kelly Clarkson, Pete Townshend, Bob Seger, the Zombies, Gary Clark Jr., and many others. Plus, there are dozens of episodes featuring genre-spanning discussions, debates, and explainers with Rolling Stone’s critics and reporters.

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