Tyler, the Creator at Coachella review – an exhilarating, high-stakes spectacle

Estimated read time 3 min read

“These are Epstein hours,” Tyler, the Creator said at the beginning of his Coachella set, joking darkly (as he is wont to do) about his 11.40pm headliner slot. Later, the rapper told festival-goers he went into the performance “skeptical”, because, in his words, “the [Coachella] crowd can be dead as hell.” Luckily for both parties, the audience had no choice to pay attention, get loud and fully immerse themselves in the whirlwind, a breathless experience for all.

Tyler commanded attention from the beginning, throwing himself through the wall of a fake trailer. He did this while pyrotechnics went off in the foreground. The desert-themed set was high spectacle and controlled chaos, exactly what you might expect from an artist hell-bent on delivering shock value.

During his opening numbers, WusYaName and Lumberjack off of 2021’s Call Me If You Get Lost, Tyler fully owned the stage, dancing around it with his signature weird-but-smooth moves, moving so fluidly it seemed like he was floating. Eventually, Tyler did fly, in a bit of stagecraft in which he held on to the set as if the desert wind might blow him away.

Though the Odd Future reunion some fans on Reddit and X were hoping for did not come to pass, Tyler’s guest stars included Donald Glover (AKA Childish Gambino, who Tyler said he “used to hate” before getting to know better), A$AP Rocky (again, someone Tyler copped to hating at one point), The Gap Band vocalist Charlie Wilson, and Kali Uchis, who sang her part of See You Again.

man jumping in the air on a smoky stageView image in fullscreen

Tyler’s irreverent banter kept fans focused in between songs. “I’m about to be yelling on stage and singing out of key and jumping around dick all sweaty,” he told the crowd, though to be fair, his vocals stayed top-notch. The topic came up again toward the end of his set. “I can’t wait to go clean my dick,” Tyler said before closing with New Magic Wand, a synth-y offering from 2019’s Igor. (Right after that, he urged guests who might be rolling on MDMA and considering a festival orgy back at the campsite to use protection.)

Even with high winds and cold temperatures that forced some of the less rugged attendees to flee before Tyler finished, the set seemed to really fly by, probably due to the production’s tight choreography and effortless transitions. After Lana Del Rey’s disaster-prone Friday night opener, it was refreshing to see someone’s hard work go very, very right.

And yet even amid all the extravaganza, my favorite moment of the night came from an unscripted, off-the-cuff remark. Tyler let the audience know he only had four minutes left to perform before curfew, and when some started to boo, he advised them to direct their heckling to Coachella’s top boss, Paul Tollett. Tyler, ever an agent of chaos, reveled when they obliged: “Boo the owner, that’s sick.”

Source: theguardian.com

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