The Harlem rapper arrived, as he's done at previous festivals, notably late. Fifteen minutes is a faux pas at a well-oiled event where clockwork doesn't compromise.
A few songs in, Rocky justified his tardiness by explaining that the strong weather conditions threatened the entire performance. "Coachella! I know there's a lot of wind out there. They almost cancelled our fucking set, almost made us take our screen down," he said.
It started out ambitious, and it was clear he had a vision in mind. He began with an odd surprise: Juliette Lewis appeared on the screens in a pre-recorded introduction, where she played a flight attendant giving instructions to the swelling audience.
"You're about to go on a journey. You should shut the fuck up!" she said. "I'm giving instructions. If at any point you're feeling confused, faint, raise your hands in the air and wave them like you just don't care.
"You've gotta ride your wave," she continued. "You're not wavy enough. This isn't the fucking kiddie pool. These are big waves. If at any point people start to get unruly and push and pull, push them the fuck back. Oh god, you with the jean shorts... Oh wait, that's everybody."
The crowd felt the wave, somewhat. Rocky elicited a strong reaction when he elevated off the ground (literally) during "L$D" and "Pretty Flacko 2." But he slowed to a painfully awkward crawl halfway through, when a barbershop quartet emerged, pinstripes and all, singing "Flocka" in harmony. It was the furthest thing from clever. They remained onstage for "Jukebox Joints" and left singing "Goodbye Coachella."
"That was cute, right?" Rocky asked the audience. No one cheered. It was looking temporarily bright when he launched into "Electric Body," joined by ScHoolboy Q, and brought out the biggest surprise: a guest appearance from Kanye West, who came out to perform "Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1."
His mic was off the entire time. Rocky had used up his time on stage, because he showed up late, and 'Ye took the hit, rapping the whole song without apparently noticing that no one could hear him. (See the Instagram clip above: Rocky brings Kanye out, Kanye greets the crowd, and then the only thing you can hear are the chants of "Kanye! Kanye!" and the ensuing silence up front.)
Expectedly, Rocky's mic cut off as West left the stage. He continued performing until he realized what had happened. Frustrated, he threw his hands up in the air and left. The crowd followed suit, audibly angry, few chanting for his return.