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Tyler, the Creator’s Theatrical Coachella Headlining Set Was a Thing of Odd & Enchanting Beauty

One year after his onetime Odd Future collaborator Frank Ocean headlined the Coachella main stage on weekend one (to general bafflement from the public), Tyler, the Creator took a crack at the festival’s Saturday headlining slot with a fierce, visually arresting performance of some of his best-loved tracks.

Throughout the rapper’s roughly 80-minute performance, he held the assembled crowd in the palm of his hand thanks to a potent combination of down-to-earth real talk, a liberal dousing of (typically racy) humor, passionate performance intensity, hard-charging rap flow, eye-catching visuals and a bevy of special surprise guests.

For the performance, which rivaled Lana Del Rey‘s Friday set in terms of theatricality, the main stage was transformed into a desert vista, centered by a broken-down trailer flanked by two rocky hillsides — one topped by a green tent and adjacent sign that ironically read, “NO CAMPING.” The projection behind the physical set was a thing of ever-changing beauty, hosting such arresting images as a desert rainstorm, a giant silvery moon against a purple sky, a fiery hellscape and a sci-fi tableau complete with flying saucer.

“Thank you for staying. I know you all are tired [after] being here all day, so thanks for staying to watch my tired ass up here,” said Tyler near the beginning of his set. But the amped-up crowd was anything but tired, energized by the rapper’s impassioned renditions of songs like “See You Again,” “EARFQUAKE,” “NEW MAGIC WAND,” “WUSYANAME” and “RUNNING OUT OF TIME.”

The impassioned performance was marked by pyrotechnics in both the literal and figurative sense, as sparks flew not only from the literal stage but between Tyler and his fiercely loyal fans, many of whom could be heard belting out the brainy rapper’s often complex lyrics right along with him.

Check out all the highlights from Tyler’s set below.

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