June 3, 2023

Hockey Players Discuss Ice Rink Left Out of Frank Ocean Performance


Frank Ocean performs at The Parklife Festival 2017 at Heaton Park on June 11, 2017 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Visionhaus#GP/Corbis via Getty Images).

Frank Ocean performs at The Parklife Festival 2017 at Heaton Park on June 11, 2017 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Visionhaus#GP/Corbis via Getty Images).

More details surrounding the contentious Frank Ocean headlining performance at Coachella are being revealed. Former hockey players Dan and Chris Powers, hosts of the podcast Empty Netters, explained what happened behind the scenes of the critically panned show.

The hosts claimed that they were slated to appear onstage with Ocean, legal name Christopher Breaux, after being referred by talent scout, Chris Nelson. Prior to his Hollywood breakthrough, Nelson played for the New Jersey Devils.

Dan said that for almost a month, he and several dozens of ice skaters had rehearsed for the performance. “We’ve been hanging with Frank. We’ve been hanging with the other skaters. Hanging with these hanging figure skaters. Going through this whole process, it’s this huge ordeal,” he explained.

The co-host also shared that rehearsals continued until the Tuesday prior to Coachella, but noticed that “the wheels started to fall off” when pick up and call time for wardrobe and makeup was rescheduled multiple times.

“We get to this hotel, and we’re told to be there by 12, noon. Then get a text that the runner’s not going to come until 1 p.m.,” said Dan.

Chris added, “Then it was 2:15 p.m. Then 3 p.m.”

Once the pair arrived at the designated area, Dan says that “it was a nightmare.”

“At this hotel, we run into the figure skaters. The Olympic figure skaters, mind you, and they have disgruntled looks on their faces. And they mention to us that they’ve been cut from the show,” Dan recounted.

He added, “We start to hear rumblings allegedly that Frank has been in an accident that has given him an ankle injury. So, people are saying, ‘Frank’s not in a good head space’ and they ‘don’t know what’s going on.’ And we’re sitting there, and it is becoming clear that things are not going well with this show,”

The hosts claim they were told that the ice surface portion of the stage was scraped, but were asked to appear onstage in costume. The two declined.

“To be fair, we both know how show business works in a lot of ways,” Chris said. “Production is a mess in everything, all the time, but I will say it was a worthy experience if it had gone off correctly. But, I would say there were a lot of sunk time for the participants.”

He continued, “[Frank] really cares about the production. He had a very clear vision, and even though that vision changed a lot, he was always on us. Helping us. Making sure everyone hit what he was pitching in his mind.”

But Chris had criticism towards Ocean, saying, “It’s not like this fell apart, and he was, ‘Oh no.’ He was actively like, ‘I don’t want to f*cking do this anymore.’ Those figure skaters got cut not because there was an ice issue. Not because something went wrong. There was no malfunction. He was straight up like, ‘F*ck this. I’m not doing this anymore.’”

A fan who livestreamed the entirety of Ocean’s Coachella performance, Morgan Lee, told Pitchfork that she saw “a giant circular thing covered up with a black tarp and several black things on top of it” onstage that could have possibly been the ice rink. “I can’t confirm that they melted anything, or that the thing I saw was the rink, but if there was an ice rink, it would’ve been there at the back of the stage,” she said.

Watch the podcast in full below.

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