Frank Ocean reportedly suffered a “serious” ankle injury prior to his polarizing performance at Coachella this past weekend.
The reclusive R&B star headlined the Indio, California festival on Sunday night (April 16), delivering arguably the most anticipated set of the entire weekend after a six-year hiatus from performing.
But his long-awaited comeback left many fans underwhelmed. After gracing the stage almost an hour late, Frank dedicated roughly a quarter of his 80-minute set to a “rave mix” from DJ Crystallmess and later lip-synced some of his own songs, including “Nikes” and “Nights.”
The performance, which fans at home were expecting to livestream on YouTube until the broadcast was mysteriously pulled at the last minute, ended on an abrupt and anticlimactic note, with Frank telling the crowd: “Guys, I’m being told it’s curfew, so that’s the end of the show. Thank you so much.”
An injured foot may be partly to blame for his shortcomings, though. According to TMZ, Frank Ocean sustained a “serious” ankle injury while rehearsing for the show just days before his onstage comeback.
The accident reportedly occurred while Frank was riding a bike around the Empire Polo Club grounds, where the festival is held. The injury was severe enough for doctors to advise the singer to change his stage production, forcing a planned ice rink to be scrapped.
TMZ added that a casting director had recruited over 100 local hockey players for the performance, with the athletes rehearsing on an elevated ice rink at Paramount Studios in Hollywood.
When the hockey players arrived at Coachella on Sunday, though, they were told the skating routine had been axed. Instead, they joined Frank on stage as background dancers (or more accurately, walkers) and were draped out in custom Prada.
The Festive Owl additionally claimed that “Coachella had to deconstruct the approved stage (that had been planned and signed off on for months in advance) + melt the entire ice rink and then set it up how Frank decided today with no warning. Which is what you ended up seeing, and caused the hour long delay.
“This all happened when doors had already open for Sunday, and people were securing their spots to see him. If the last minute changes weren’t made he wouldn’t have performed at all — leaving the festival without a closing headliner. Frank also personally pulled the plug at the last second on the live stream which left a very sour taste in many inside Coachella mouths.”
Despite the disappointment over his Coachella performance, Frank Ocean did excite fans by hinting that he has a new album in the works.
“It’s been so long. Everybody talks about how long it’s been. ‘It’s been so long, it’s been so long.’ But I have missed you,” he told the crowd during a brief intermission. “I want to talk about why I’m here, because it’s not because of a new album. Not that there’s not a new album… but there’s not right now.”
He also touched on the tragic death of his younger brother Ryan Breaux, who was killed at the tender age of 18 in a car accident in 2020.
“These last couple years, my life changed so much,” he added. “My brother and I, we came to this festival a lot, and I feel like I was dragged out here half the time because I hated the dust out here. I always left with a respiratory infection or whatever, so I would avoid coming, but I would always end up here.
“One of my fondest memories was watching Rae Sremmurd on — I don’t know what that stage is called — watching Rae Sremmurd with my brother and Travis [Bennett]. We were just dancing in that tent to their music… I know he would’ve been so excited to be here with all of us, and I want to say thank you for the support and the ears and the love over all this time.”
Frank Ocean is set to return to the Coachella stage on Sunday (April 13) to close out the second and final weekend of the festival, although it remains to be seen whether his performance will be a repeat of this past weekend.