Not everyone loved Frank Ocean‘s Coachella set. But Justin Bieber sure did.
The “Ghost” singer took to Instagram on Monday to praise his fellow musician’s festival performance, which divided fans and sparked a wave of speculation about the reclusive recording artist. Ocean headlined Weekend 1, Day 3 of this year’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
“I was blown away by Frank Oceans Coachella performance,” Bieber wrote.
“His artistry is simply unmatched, his style, his taste, his voice, his attention to detail.. I was deeply moved. It made me want to keep going and get better as an artist. He continues to set the bar high and gave me a night I will never forget! Thanks Frank.”
Bieber — who has recently taken a break from live shows and called off his Justice world tour in February — was among many who enjoyed Ocean’s first live performance since 2017, which included songs from his hit albums “Blonde” and “Channel Orange.” But others were left unsatisfied after the “Thinkin Bout You” hitmaker started the show an hour late, then appeared to cut his set short due to the city curfew in Indio.
(Coachella organizer Goldenvoice was fined $117,000 for violating the curfew on all three nights of the festival, city officials told Pitchfork. Ocean’s performance ended around 12:25 a.m. on Sunday, breaking the midnight curfew, according to the music publication.)
Ocean’s set was also excluded from the official Coachella livestream on YouTube — a bummer for those who couldn’t attend the festival in person.
“Who’s on drugs tonight?” Ocean asked the crowd during the show. “It’s been so long but I have missed you.”
Shortly after Ocean performed, rumors began circulating as to why his long-anticipated Coachella set was delayed and dropped from the livestream.
One widely shared theory speculated that Ocean’s performance was supposed to include an ice rink and ice skaters, but the headliner made a last-minute decision to cut that element from his set.
“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,” tweeted @TheFestiveOwl, a Twitter user who often posts about music-festival news. “Which is what you ended up seeing, and caused the hour long delay.”
The same source also alleged that Ocean “personally pulled the plug at the last second on the livestream.”
Meanwhile, Rolling Stone reported that Ocean suffered an ankle injury during rehearsals that caused a delay and prompted the Grammy winner to perform most of his set sitting down. The music publication cited an anonymous source, who claimed that Ocean’s performance actually lasted 15 minutes and four songs longer than originally planned — contradicting the assumption that he shortened his set because of the curfew.
Rolling Stone also weighed in on the ice-rink theory by noting that multiple members of Loyola Marymount University’s hockey team posted behind-the-scenes photos from the festival but didn’t come on for Ocean’s set.
Representatives for Coachella and Ocean have not responded to inquiries from The Times.
Times staff writer Kenan Draughorne contributed to this report.