"THE BATTLE OF DETROIT"
This was it. The night I had been waiting for 6 years, ever since I first discovered Rage. Little did I know then that the course would take me here, to a night that made me believe in what Rage is all about even more so that what I was already feeling. Myself, my sister Jenny, and my two fellow criminals Dave and Van, arrived at the Palace around 7:00. I won't lie. Our seats weren't great. Upper deck, straight on from the stage. We began scheming how to get onto the floor. Of course, we would eventually change our minds about that, but you'll see why later. After buying a T-shirt (the one with the album cover on the front and the tour dates on the back), we all settled in. The first opening group was a band named At the Drive-In. We could only decipher two actual words that the lead singer, or should I say screamer, was belting out. All of their songs were apparently about "frat boys". They were heavy, but far from original. It might've been the distance, but their lead guy looked exactly like Zach de la Rocha as he moved over the stage. The next act was Gangstarr. They weren't bad, but they weren't great. Your run-of-the mill rap act. They had some cool things to say, like how to be a "rebel" and how to show love by giving the middle finger. Finally, it was time for Rage.
The moments to when they came on stage were some of the most excitement-filled of my life. Our plans for snekaing onto the floor came to a halt when it seemed like everybody in the building had the same idea. For about 10 minutes straight, massive groups of kids stormed the floor. Most of them got in, the rest weren't treated so nicely. It seemed like it really sucked to be a security guard but then again, in some way the probaly deserved the hell the were getting. I could hardly contain myself when the huge "Battle of Detroit" banner was raised. Micheal Moore introduced the band and ripped on Auburn Hills, callin it a town built "espiecally for Chrysler". Their couldn't been a better intro. Rage took the stage to incredible noise. Their was no intro speech from Zach as they stormed into "Testify". You could hear the urgency in Zach's voice and you knew it was going to be, in the language of my friends, a "goosey" night, loosely translated as completely insane. "Guerilla Radio" was next. I made sure to say every lyric at the top of my voice so I wouldn't' have a voice by the next day. I'll never forget during the "All hell won't stop us now part" as the lights showed the chaos of the pit and Dave saying what I believe was "holy shit" at the sight of the fury in on the floor. Their was a few second delay before the next song, as they did for most of the night if only to build the anticipation. "People of the Sun" was greeted to a huge ovation. "Calm Like a Bomb" was next and kicked just as much ass as it does on the CD. "Bullet in the Head" saw the drunk guys in front of us start their own personal mosh pit, which was funny and cool to see, as long as they didn't end up on top of us, or my sister, who was the running butt of "you're gonna get raped" jokes all night long. Honestly, though, Rage fans are a lot more mature that Limp Bizkit fans. A shortened version of the "Ghost of Tom Joad" was next. This was a mild surprise that they played this one, and of course everyone lost it during the "you'll see me" part. "Sleep Now in the Fire" was insane. Zach was screaming most of the lyrics at the top of his lungs, doing more than just urging the point across. "Born of a Broken Man" was next, and it amazingly topped even the CD version. "Know Your Enemy" was one of the highlights, hell every song was a highlight, but jumping along with 20,000 other people to the song's final section will forever be planted in my memory. "No Shelter" was another pleasant surprise, and Zach continued to make it a point to venemously point at the numerous ads around the Palace whenever he needed us to realize that there are some things right in front of us that we need to fight. The set closed with "War Within a Breath" which brought the plight of the Zapatistas right into our face. The band left the stage, lighters sprung up everywhere, and they returned 5 minutes later for the encore. It was at this point that I decided to just let loose and get even more crazy than I alrady was. I think I elbowed poor Van about 12 times during "Bulls On Parade". "Freedom" was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Everything around me, including myself, seemed to explode during the "anger is a gift" part. Zach proclaimed "freedom.....for Mumia" at the end, which is exactly what I wanted to hear. "Killing in the Name" closed the set, and I'll never forget how as myself and 20,000 other people stuck their middle-fingers in the air Dula-style (another inside joke, don't ask about this one.) the house lights came on to reveal the sheer intensity that is a Rage concert. I made sure to return the raised fist of Tom Morello as the band left the stage. The rest of the night was spent reliving every single moment of the concert,and how it was the most intense, exilirating, powerful, beautiful, and Inspiring experience of my life. I know I will never miss Rage whenever they come into town next, and I know three other people who share the same feeling as I do. They weren't lying when they say Rage is the best live band around, and also the most important band anywhere today. To be able to fully realize everything they stand for will always be one of the most rewarding things ever to happen to me.
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