Frank Ocean suffered a serious ankle injury at on-site rehearsals in the week leading up to his headlining set at the 2023 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, Pitchfork has learned. According to a source familiar with the situation, doctors advised Ocean take pressure off his ankle by changing his production for the show. A visible catwalk and circular stage at the end, rumored to have been an ice skating rink, were not used. Instead, Ocean sat on a stool while singing and periodically walk over to his backing band.
This injury was one of many apparent problems during Ocean’s headlining set this past Sunday night. Mere hours before his scheduled set time, YouTube revealed it would not be livestreamed as promised. When the reclusive Blonde singer did arrive onstage, it was nearly an hour late. Ocean also ended his set abruptly around 12:20 a.m. PST, citing the festival’s curfew. Coachella’s curfew is 1:00 a.m. PST on Fridays and Saturdays, and 12:00 a.m. PST on Sundays.
During his headlining set this past Sunday night, Ocean performed alternate versions of songs from his catalog, including stripped-back renditions of “Novacane,” “Crack Rock,” “Pink + White,” and “Bad Religion,” as well as a modular-synth rework of “White Ferrari.” He also sang a handful of deep cuts, including “Come on World, You Can’t Go!” and a punk version of “Wiseman,” and covered Willie Nelson’s “Night Life” and Isley Brothers’ “(At Your Best) You Are Love,” the latter of which is featured on Endless. He was briefly joined onstage by dancers wearing custom Prada.
When addressing the crowd, Ocean did hint that a new album was in the works and paid tribute to Ryan Breaux, his younger brother who died in 2020. “I know he would’ve been so excited to be here with all of us. I wanted to say thank you for the support and the ears and the love for all this time,” said Ocean. He also strayed from the microphone during a few moments, revealing that he was singing with—or, at times, not singing along to—pre-recorded vocals for some songs.