From EPMD to the Coup to Sage Francis and MF Doom, the Rock the Bells festival was a combustible engine. L.A.’s own Murs conquered the main stage, as did Mos Def. Public Enemy brought out Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian early in their set for “Bring Tha Noise.” Later, Flavor Flav, ever the entertainer, showcased his drumming “skills.”
The bonfires started during the Wu-Tang Clan set, and they seemed a portent for what was to come. Security guys near the pit briefed each other and us photographers, then instructed the first 10 rows of the crowd on exit strategies, just in case. As the lights were about to go down, a skirmish broke out. When Rage Against the Machine finally hit, they were all business, and so was the crowd. Up in the photo pit, fans jockeyed for position. By song three, the photographers were trapped by a mass of people trying to break through to the stage. Security pushed us into the crowd. Removed from the mayhem, I took the opportunity to get the long shot (top).