Hockey Podcasters Detail Frank Ocean's Vetoed Skating Rink Performance at Coachella: "To See It All Fall Apart Was Really Sad"

Brothers Dan and Chris Powers were set to skate alongside over 100 other performers during Ocean's headlining set

BY Kaelen BellPublished Apr 19, 2023

As you're likely already aware, Frank Ocean finally headlined Coachella this past Sunday (April 16) to decidedly mixed reception. The day after the performance — which saw Ocean arrive on stage nearly an hour late and play a set that featured covers, alternative versions of songs and what some have described as a brief "mini rave" before ending early — it was revealed that Ocean's original production plan included an elaborate skating rink and over 100 choreographed skaters and dancers. The plan was nixed after Ocean injured his ankle at the festival site.

Now, two former hockey players-turned-podcast hosts have detailed their involvement in the lead-up to Sunday night's performance, explaining what they saw go down behind the scenes on the day of the headlining show and in the weeks leading up to Coachella.

Brothers Dan and Chris Powers, who host the hockey podcast Empty Netters, spent some time during their latest episode explaining their experiences after they were recruited by friend and hockey player-turned-Hollywood producer Chris Nelson to participate in Ocean's performance as choreographed background skaters.

Dan Powers says during the podcast that the two were brought to Paramount Studios, where they auditioned on an "elevated ice surface" alongside figure skaters and background singers.

He continues: "For about a month, we've been doing rehearsal. We've been hanging with Frank, hanging with the other skaters, hanging with these incredible figure skaters, going through this whole process, just this huge ordeal where we're under this elevated stage. We went to Indio last week to do a rehearsal at location on the stage."

You can check it out for yourself in the video at the bottom of the page, but here's Dan Powers' account of what happened in the days leading up to the performance:

We're there. We're at the festival. We're buzzin' around. We're havin' a blast. Sunday morning shows up. We get our call sheet. We have to go to this hotel to be picked up by a runner to be brought over to wardrobe and makeup. Right there, that moment is when the wheels started to fall off. We get to this hotel — we're told to be there by 12. We then get a text that, "Oh, the runner's not going to come 'til 1." We then get another text: "Uh, they're not going to come 'til 3″… We're then waiting outside at 3. We got our skates. We're ready to rock. The bus of all the other skaters who weren't at Coachella already has arrived. They're all sittin' in wardrobe; it's a nightmare.

We sit at this hotel and we run into the figure skaters — these Olympic figure skaters, mind you. And they have a disgruntled look on their face, and they casually mention to us that they just got a phone call and they've been cut from the show. So we're sitting there like, "What the fuck is happening right now?" These Olympians just got cut from this Coachella performance with Frank Ocean, and they think that we're gonna go on? You're saying goodbye to these skaters, but a bunch of dipshit former hockey players are going to go up on that stage and buzz around?

So we're already gettin' bad vibes here. We then get in this runner's van. We head over to wardrobe. They're putting this ridiculous chrome diamond makeup on everybody. Needless to say these guys don't know that they're not skating… So we're there, we're hearing rumblings, this is neither confirmed nor denied. Allegedly Frank has been in an accident that has given him an ankle injury. Something's going on there. So people are starting to talk like "Frank's not in a good headspace, we don't know what's going on." We are sitting there, and it is becoming very clear that things are not going well with this show.

We get a call from Nelly, and he goes, "Have you guys been in makeup?" I say no, and he goes, "Do not put on makeup." And we're like, "What the fuck are you talking about?" And he's like, "You're not skating. They're deconstructing the ice right now." But people are out there. The festival has started. People are inside the doors walking around. There are people at 4PM camped out for a 10:30PM Frank Ocean show. Like, they are waiting. And they're trying to undercover rip out this ice-rink stage because they don't want anyone to know it was there because they're not going to do it.

So now we're being told that, "OK, we're still going to put on these sequined Prada suits, but we're just going to walk back and forth on stage for about five minutes, we're not gonna skate. And Nelly's like, "Do you guys want to do that?" And Chris and I, straight up, with Frank Ocean right there, Nelly right here, all these people, we just go, "Fuck no." No thank you. I'm fucking out of here.

Chris Powers goes on to discuss just how much time was spent rehearsing and travelling in order to be part of the show, saying that many of the performers "bussed to Coachella — without a pass. They can't go into the festival. They are literally sitting in a tent in the baking sun."

Dan Powers sums up the segment by saying, "It felt like this was this thing that [Ocean] really cared about that he was super psyched about, and to see it all fall apart was really sad, but also nuts." 

The breakdown of Ocean's performance starts just after the two-minute mark and goes until about the 19-minute mark. Check it out below. 

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