Rage Against the Machine Reviews


Rage at the 9:30 club, Oct. 31st, 1999

As I turned the down the street where the famous 9:30 club is located, I turned to my right and saw a giant "FREE MUMIA" banner hung on an iron gate.

When I turned to my left and saw a line of people forming across the street, I knew that I was in the right place.  It was Halloween night, and a feeling of anticipation and tension hung heavy in the air.  This was my third Rage show, and I had yet to hear any songs from their soon to be released album, so I was having trouble containing my excitement.  Everyone in line seemed very cool...it was good to be among fellow Rage fans.  We all knew that this was sure to be a night to remember.

My friend and I arrived at around 6:15, and proceeded to wait in line until about 7:30, when the doors finally opened.  After weaving through a crowd of people practically offering me their first-born for my ticket, and being checked for weapons, we were in.  I quickly took a spot behind one row of people leaning on the front railing, and started the waiting game.  After a quick set by the "Dead Presidents" Rage finally came on at 10:00.  I could tell the crowd was a little tired of standing around for so long (no seats at the 9:30 club), but as soon as the first notes of "Testify" came over the sound system, the entire crowd became one, jumping in unity to the beats laid down by Brad and ytimk.  I had never been so close for a Rage performance, and it only heightened the experience.  Zack (as usual) seemed to be on a whole different level than everyone in the room.  He was reaching down to a deep place that most of us hadn't found yet, but we were desperately in search of.  After every song he would turn around and kneel down by the drum set, for what seemed like a moment of meditation for the next song.  When the music would kick it he would leap into a fury of hip hop movements and tribal dance steps, almost as if possessed by Bob Marley, Crazy Horse, and Chuck D all at the same time.  I don't remember the whole set list, but I know they did Testify, Bullet in the Head, People of the Sun, Ghost of Tom Joad, Broken Man, Guerilla Radio, Know your Enemy, No Shelter, Calm Like a Bomb, as well as some others.  The highlight was at the end, when their encore consisted of "Killing in the Name" and "War Within a Breath".  Towards the end of "War within a Breath", Zack turned around in one motion and leapt into the crowd.  This whipped the people into a frenzy.

After one of the bouncers grabbed him and helped him back up on the stage, he finished the song and the band walked off without a word.  Tom turned around and flashed the peace sign as he went backstage.  The lights came on, and I saw that I was soaked in sweat and I had lost my voice, and I couldn't wait till the next show.  See you guys at the Baltimore Arena!  Peace...

Erik C.


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