The first stop of this year’s Rock the Bells was marked by a number of memorable moments and some unwanted memories. From the triple digit heat and Mary Jane tube socks to the comeback of holograms, Rock the Bells once again gives fans something to talk about.
The line-up was stacked for both Saturday and Sunday but that was not without flaws. With crowds bearing the extreme Southern California heat only desert folks can withstand, Rock the Bells started slow Saturday. Not only did ticket lines extend into the parking lot, sets ran late and bled into one another. While hip hop is stereotyped to run on its own time, when it comes to a three-staged festival, this comes with consequences. Some sets were bumped to different hours upsetting fans.
Despite the bumpy start, Rock the Bells turned around with as night began to fall on the amphitheater grounds. During Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s set, fans got a nice surprise as the late rap legend Eazy-E appeared on stage. The Godfather of Gangsta Rap passed nearly 10 years ago due to complications from AIDS. His return, albeit in hologram form, created a rare reunion for Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and is the biggest highlight for the festival Saturday.
Sunday too offered yet another surprise for hip hop fans. While sets were still somewhat off time, it seems rather manageable as the sun set that evening. The crowd continued to grow throughout the night clan in everything from Wu-Tang tanks to crop tops and marijuana leaves-covered tube socks, which seemed to be all the rage. ASAP Mob played to a large and continually growing crowd. The crew didn’t so much rely on front man ASAP Rocky but kept the focus on the entire crew.
J Cole and Juicy J both put on great sets but it was as predicted Wu-Tang’s show that capped the night and weekend. As technical difficulties and a lack luster crowd threatened an early end to the group’s set, Method Man called out, “We still tryna put on a show.” To the delight of fans, Meth did not walk off the stage and Ol’ Dirty Bastard walked on. The holographic rendition of the late Russell Tyrone Jones was summoned on stage as the crowd was urged to chant his name. His likeness brought the crowd and it seems Meth back to the show.
Hip hop has now officially recreated three of its legends since 2012’s Tupac Shakur appearance at Coachella.