Ever since 2014, when Coachella split into two largely identical weekends at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, CA, weekend two quietly established itself as the superior option between the two, especially for those attendees who favor appreciation of art and music over collecting clout amid the hype. But after a fantastic finish featuring a Blink-182 reunion set on the main stage and a mind-blowing appearance by the spectacular EDM trio of Skrillex, Fred again.., and Four Tet, the secret must be out.

This year’s breakout performance by weekend two is due, in part, to the stumbles of weekend one. Following a late-arriving and all-around disappointing appearance as the Sunday headliner, Frank Ocean canceled his weekend two set outright, with reports pegging a leg fracture and ankle sprain for the stunning exit.

Ultimately, though, Frank’s departure left open a void that was filled by arguably the greatest closing run of Coachella’s 24-year history.

Blink-182 brought plenty of buzz to the Sahara tent on Friday of weekend one. Like Arcade Fire before them, the legendary San Diego trio had no plans to return for weekend two. Meanwhile, rumor had it that Skrillex, Fred again.., and Four Tet would sub in for Mark Hoppus, Tom DeLonge, and Travis Barker.

When Frank bowed out, Blink stepped in to play a Sunday night set on the biggest stage in live music. But the schedule for weekend two revealed a “TBA” immediately thereafter.

It wasn’t long before those three letters gave way to the EDM supergroup that recently took New York City (and the entire music world) by storm, via Fred again..’s Instagram account.

And so, Goldenvoice managed to flip an embarrassing loss into a historic victory, by way of a trade for the ages. Greater still, the organizers turned the expense of Frank’s ice skating rink that never was into a DJ booth in the round, with lights and lasers scanning every corner.

Skrillex, Fred again.., Four Tet – Coachella – 4/23/2023 – Full Set

The most shocking surprise of all, though? Between snippets of group-member originals like “Rumble”, “Baby again…”, and “Cinema”, samples of beloved pop tracks like Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” and Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA”, and plenty of tabletop dancing by Skrillex and Fred again.., the three-headed monster announced that this would be its final performance of 2023—thereby cementing this as yet another truly special and unique moment made with classic Coachella magic.

To be sure, there was much more to weekend two than the dynamic duo of acts that so ably filled in for Frank Ocean. For one, Rae Sremmurd brought a double dose of hip-hop and R&B to bear on the Outdoor Theatre, with Top 40 smashes like “Sunflower” and “Black Beetle” to bolster a standout selection of songs from their catalog.

The always-impressive array of guest appearances included—but was certainly not limited to—Bad Bunny giving Grupo Frontera a platform on the main stage, Dave Grohl and his daughters storming onto the Mojave stage to scream with Wet Leg during “Ur Mum”, Chromeo debuting “Feel Like You” with Leroux, Zendaya sending the crowd into a frenzy with her cameo during Labrinth’s mesmerizing set, and Damon Albarn welcoming Beck, Thundercat, Yasiin Bey, and the surviving members of De La Soul to perform with Gorillaz.

Not that the only standout sets were the ones speckled with guest appearances. Rebelution rocked the Outdoor Theatre under the Saturday sun with heroic horns and Southern California ska-reggae vibes galore. Monolink continued his run as a one-man band behind his guitar and electronic production gear. Calvin Harris likely could’ve had his pick of guests, but instead opted for a simple-but-effective, hit-filled performance on the main stage.

The Chemical Brothers and Underworld brought ‘90s techno back into fashion with their trip-tastic sets, while Dinner Party and Hiatus Kaiyote kept jazz alive with their respective performances, which overlapped on Saturday afternoon. Blondie needed only to show up with its usual cast of characters, including punk goddess Debbie Harry and disco architect Nile Rodgers, to send the crowd into a frenzy with ubiquitous tracks like “One Way or Another”, “Call Me”, and “Heart of Glass”.

Debbie was easily the most accomplished among an eclectic and talented cast of female-led acts at Coachella 2023. Muna brought boygenius into the Mojave tent before the trio of Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, and Julien Baker took centerstage on their own at the Outdoor Theatre. Ashnikko punctuated the proceedings with her brand of pop punk, Remi Wolf and Björk both commanded crowds with emotionally powerful performances, and Weyes Blood’s haunting vocals summoned goosebumps amid warm desert winds.

Certainly, Sofi Tukker wouldn’t have made nearly as much noise without the multi-instrumental mastery of Sophie Hawley-Weld. Nor would Saturday evening’s dance recitals on the main stage have garnered such spotlights without Rosalia and Blackpink fronting those showings.

In seemingly every facet, weekend two of Coachella 2023 brought all the same goods to the party as weekend one, and then some. Gone were most of the technical glitches, along with the near-no-show by Frank Ocean. Instead, fans were treated to spectacular sights, pitch-perfect sounds, and a closing combo for the ages. All of these factors not only made weekend two a remarkable comeback story but also put it on the map as the better bet of two annual options, thanks to what could (and perhaps should) go down as the greatest Coachella of all time.