A Sheffield photographer became chauffeur to the stars after a taxi gaffe left rap legends Public Enemy stranded – moments before their arena performance.
Gig snapper Kevin Wells had to ‘fight the power’ of traffic in his Ford Focus to get rappers Chuck D, Flavor Flav and entourage to the Motorpoint Arena ahead of their show with The Prodigy.Public Enemy had been at the iconic Record Collector store, in Broomhill, signing copies of their new album before the show on Saturday.
Kevin, aged 50, of Kilamarsh, who is a Public Enemy fan, said he had nipped into the store for a quick autograph ahead of a busy night photographing other gigs across Sheffield.
He said: “Public Enemy had a taxi booked for 6.30pm, but it drove off before the guys had finished signing autographs.
“People started panicking and looking for someone to drive, so I volunteered.”
Kevin put his knowledge of the city’s back roads into action and began the ‘most surreal journey’ of his life.
He drove the multimillionaires – who shot to fame in 1987 with album Yo! Bum Rush the Show – in his faithful Ford Focus.
Kevin said: “They were such nice guys, we had a right laugh.
“We were chatting away, but the phone was constantly going as their management were clearly worried.
“Then as we were coming through Attercliffe, Bohemian Rhapsody, by Queen, came on the radio.
“Everyone was singing the words and rocking out in the back of my car, it was like a Wayne’s World moment.
“I was looking in the rear view mirror thinking, ‘is this actually happening?’”
He added: “We got to the arena about 15 minutes before they were due on stage.
“I drove up to security and said, ‘I’ve got the band in the back.’
“They looked at me as if I was having them on, but then I rolled down the windows and Chuck D showed them the security pass.
“Amazing, it just didn’t feel real.”
After a few hugs backstage, Kevin drove off to photograph Scouting for Girls at O2 Academy and The Enemy at the Leadmill.
He posted a selfie of Public Enemy in his car the following day, which was liked and shared hundreds of times online.
Barry Everard, owner of Record Collector, said Public Enemy had contacted him the week before the show to arrange the signing.
He said hundreds of fans braved the rain to turn up for the event.
He said Public Enemy had been using taxis to get about as their tour bus is too large for smaller roads.
Barry said: “Public Enemy were absolutely brilliant; such nice guys and they were great with the fans.
“Sometimes fame can ruin people, but it clearly hadn’t with them.”
He added: “They are arguably the biggest act we’ve ever had in the store.
“It really was an honour to have them and I’m glad they made the show on time.”