Tyler, the Creator fires up Coachella 2024 in playful set with Donald Glover, A$AP Rocky

INDIO, Calif. − Always a maximalist, Tyler, the Creator pulled out all the stops to headline Saturday at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, literally crashing through a wall to start his set and only upping the energy from there.

The Southern California rapper brought out several musical guests − Donald Glover, A$AP Rocky, Charlie Wilson and Kali Uchis − over the course of his colorful performance.

Before those surprises, Tyler began by playing a video in which he had left his musical career to become a “park ranger,” with a full scoutmaster outfit to match. He then appeared on stage by crashing through a makeshift camper as “IGOR’S THEME” played over the speakers, with a gorgeous desert-themed stage that featured canyon sculptures and an array of graphics and pyrotechnics.

Spotted! Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce dance to Bleachers, Ice Spice at Coachella

Tyler, The Creator performed on a fantastical desert set Saturday night at Coachella.
Tyler, The Creator performed on a fantastical desert set Saturday night at Coachella.

Tyler last performed at the festival in 2018, and his set Saturday included lots of music he’s recorded since then, including from 2019’s “Igor” and 2021’s “Call Me If You Get Lost,” both of which earned Grammy Awards for best rap album. He began with several songs from those albums, before playing “BEST INTEREST” and “DOGTOOTH,” which featured an extra verse and an appearance from a goat mascot on stage.

That’s when the surprises started. As “RUNNING OUT OF TIME” began playing, a hooded figure walked onto the dimly lit stage, revealing himself to be Donald Glover. The duo performed a unique version of the song, with Glover providing lovely accompanying vocals. Tyler also joked that he “used to hate” Glover before thanking him for his wide-ranging artistic impacts.

The guests continued when rapper A$AP Rocky − who Tyler also joked that he used to hate − came on stage to perform “Potato Salad,” followed by “Who Dat Boy" from the album "Flower Boy," with flashing green spaceship graphics moving over the desert-themed stage.

Along with the performances at the festival in 2015 and 2018, Tyler’s history at Coachella dates back to a set in 2011 − a performance that Tyler recalled as “terrible” on Saturday. It was the same festival when he and his fellow Odd Future members paraded the festival grounds spraying people with water guns, leading to them being momentarily kicked out by security guards.

Aside from a brief cameo from his longtime pal Jasper Dolphin, there was no grand reunion for Odd Future, the early 2010’s rap collective of troublemaking teens including Earl Sweatshirt and Domo Genesis. (Maybe at Weekend 2?) But Tyler played a handful of songs from his Odd Future days, including “Yonkers,” “Tron Cat” and “She.”

Tyler, The Creator dazzled with a visually beautiful performance.
Tyler, The Creator dazzled with a visually beautiful performance.

Even without an Odd Future reunion, Tyler had a few more tricks up his sleeve. After playing "IFHY," he walked up to the top of the stage and began playing the piano, where he was joined by Charlie Wilson, a 71-year-old singer-songwriter who’s worked with a litany of famous R&B and hip-hop artists. The pair played a beautiful, piano-heavy version of “EARFQUAKE," as Tyler joked that he's wanted to copy Wilson every time he made a song with vocals.

Tyler then played one of his most popular songs, “See You Again,” with a brief appearance from Kali Uchis to sing the first chorus. The Colombian American pop star − who returned the favor from Tyler’s guest appearance at her Coachella set last year − appeared only briefly, and after her exit, Tyler congratulated her on delivering her first child last month.

Ultimately, with songs spanning across his career, the headlining set delivered on all expectations − the energy even impressing Tyler, who has beefed with some crowds in the past. He mentioned that sometimes Coachella crowds are “dead as hell,” but thanked those in attendance for their energy (and briefly needled Goldenvoice CEO Paul Tollett for the 1 a.m. curfew, which is set by the city of Indio.)

“To everyone who came this evening … I appreciate your attention in watching me this last hour and a half,” Tyler told the crowd, before saying he was ready to wash his, ahem, extremities and go to sleep.

But the tender moment was quickly eclipsed by one final stunt. As he closed with “NEW MAGIC WAND,” with flames shooting into the air from the red-lit stage, Tyler attached himself to cables that lifted him up one of the canyons. He briefly dangled midair from the canyon’s edge and flew off the side of the stage in a blur − a fitting exit for one of Southern California’s most frenetic artists.

This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: Tyler, the Creator ignites Coachella with Donald Glover, A$AP Rocky