This weekend, Ariana Grande performed her second headlining set at the Coachella music festival in Indio, California—and she brought out a very special guest for the occasion: Justin Bieber. (Last week, she brought out Nicki Minaj and ’NSync.) It was Bieber’s first performance and appearance after announcing a brief hiatus from music earlier this year. In his February Vogue cover story, he had explained the decision, saying, “Just thinking about music stresses me out. I’ve been successful since I was 13, so I didn’t really have a chance to find who I was apart from what I did. I just needed some time to evaluate myself: who I am, what I want out of my life, my relationships, who I want to be—stuff that when you’re so immersed in the music business you kind of lose sight of.”
For his Coachella comeback, Bieber only performed one song, though he made it count: He sang his crowd-pleasing track “Sorry.” He did, however, tease that new material is on its way shortly, swiftly hinting to the audience, “Album coming soon.” In any case, his surprise appearance at the festival wasn’t planned. “I wasn’t going to bring out any guests tonight,” Grande said before bringing Bieber out. “But my friend Justin Bieber came all the way out.” After performing, Bieber also acknowledged that it was his first time hitting the stage in two years. “I had no idea I was going to be on a stage tonight,” he said. “No idea. I wore this fly outfit not knowing I was going to be onstage.” Judging by how the crowd went wild, the Beliebers are still very much here and ready for him.
Bieber’s last musical release was a feature on the single “No Brainer” with DJ Khaled and Quavo in 2018. He has mostly been taking time off to focus on himself, channeling his energy into his new clothing line, Drew House, and spending time with his new wife, Hailey. To Vogue, he touched on allowing the music industry to get to his head and needing time to reevaluate. “I started really feeling myself too much,” he said. “People love me, I’m the shit—that’s honestly what I thought. I got very arrogant and cocky. I was wearing sunglasses inside.” Call this a new—and humbler—era of Bieber, and it’s off to a good start.