Rage Against the Machine Reviews

"The Battle of Baltimore"
Rage @ the Baltimore Arena - December 2, 1999
by Matt Knox

Just wanted to give everybody some info. on the Baltimore concert...

As usual... it was the BOMB! We came in half way through Gangstarr's set. I'd never heard anything from them before... they were pretty good. But, let's face it: Openers are openers. They finished up around 9:15 and all 25,000 at the Baltimore Arena waited in anticipation for that rap-metal band called Rage Against the Machine from Los Angeles, California. Word around the arena was that everyone was gonna charge the floor at 9:30. Around that time there was an attempt by a group of about 200 but it was pretty weak and barely anybody got to the floor. They only had rent-a-cops at the concert of course because Baltimore PD was boycotting Rage. I wasn't gonna try getting to the floor because there was no way I was gonna allow my ass to get thrown out. I have been waiting patiently to see them again since their incredible performance at Woodstock.

Around 9:50 Zack, Tom, Timmy, and Brad strolled on to the stage and the huge "Battle of Baltimore" sign was unveiled in the background. Zack intoduced the band in that oh so familiar way: "We're Rage Against the Machine from Los Angeles, California". They then started right into "Testify" and the most electrifying and energizing 1 hour and 15 minutes in live music had begun. The time flew by. From what I can remember, here were some of the highlights of the concert for me...

"Guerrilla Radio" seems to be one of those songs that can just blow the roof off at any spot or anywhere in the set list... kinda like "Bulls on Parade".

"Calm Like A Bomb" was really really cool... that's the best I can put it. >From Zack's loud whispers (if thats possible) of "Feel the funk blast" to that militant anti-myth poetry at the end all while Tom is dishing out some funky-ass guerrilla guitar sounds.. it's all really really cool.

"Ghost of Tom Joad"- they cut out the whole middle section of the song... but the "You'll see me!!" part was fucking awesome. I just love that song.

"Born of A Broken Man".. just as awesome in concert as on the album. Tom writes good music. Zack writes good lyrics. This song is a good example.

"Know Your Enemy" - probably the best song of the night. I never had seen this one before in concert... but it was incredible!

THE ENCORES... "Bulls on Parade" just tore the place down. "Freedom" was dedicated to Mumia (the last verse was changed from "Freedom!... Yeah Right!" to "Freedom!... For Mumia!!" and as always was awesome. "Killing in the Name" started about 2 seconds right after "Freedom" ended and wrapped up the show and was the perfect end to my night.

"FUCK THA POLICE?"... Nope, they didn't play it. But I can remember 2 occassions where the entire crowd was screaming and chanting for it. Look for this one to possibly be played at future concerts if they are allowed to play it.

Everything's pretty much the same as the previous shows on the tour except it seems they added "Vietnow" for the Baltimore show. Here's the PLAYLIST:

Guerrilla Radio
People of the Sun
Calm Like A Bomb
Bullet in the Head
The Ghost of Tom Joad
Sleep Now in the Fire
Born of a Broken Man
Know Your Enemy
No Shelter
War Within a Breath
Bulls on Parade
Killing in the Name

By the end of the night, I had lost my voice after singing about 80% of the lyrics. I don't have a clue as to how Zack can do it every other night for 3 months straight. The concert was an experience.. an incredible one. I can't wait to see them again. Maybe I'll make a trip to Europe next year and catch a show. Anybody wanna donate any money???? See ya.

-Matt Knox

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