RATM, New Haven Colliseum, Dec. 5th
This was a night I had waited for for some time, but it had arrived. My friend Mike and myself arrived at the New Haven coliseum (after a bit of a delay), to see the best band in the fucking universe live and in person. Entering the Coliseum, two things became immediately evident- there were pigs everywhere, and Gangstar was pathetic. The pigs scanned the aisles with the flashlights (no doubt freshly used beating some 'punk kid' or 'dissident'), and sent kids standing up back to their seats. Gangstar's whole set seemed to center around giving people the middle finger. He told everyone to show law enforcement 'love' by giving them the finger. Then he told them to show him 'love' by giving him the finger. Fuckin idiot. Gangstar evidently had about a half-dozen members, most of whom did nothing but walk around bopping their heads, and one of whom did nothing but sit on a couch and headbang. Then Gangtar himself had everyone raise their lighters in remembrance of Tupac Shakur and the Notorious Big (that's right, the Big), asked everyone if they were ready for Rage (which everyone was, at this point) and thankfully vacated the stage.
At this point, Rage's equipment was brought out, the giant black/red star banners hung on either side of the stage. While this was going on, Mike and myself had the pleasure of viewing some shitty frat boys scream for beer and struggle in what i hope was an intoxicated daze to tear up their seats. Fuckin morons. Then about five kids showed up, to find the frat boys taking up one of their seats. The obviously fucked-up guy in the Budwieser shirt made a big joke out of it, and it continued until the kids went and got security. They finally got their seats, to the applause of several people in the area.
Eventually, the equipment was all set; Tom's amplifier featuring the image of Che Guevara, Brad's set with the red star on the bass drum, etc. The arena went dark; everyone stood up and began to cheer. We could see the band off to the side of the stage. The place errupted with cheers when Rage came on, the stage still dark, and again when Zack said 'Check one two'. Then, "Good evening, we're Rage Against the Machine from Los Angeles, California", and right into Bulls on Parade. During the middle of the song, the giant banner covering the 'Battle of New Haven' poster was dropped, to further cheers. The mosh pit swirled, and appeared to be made up of about 95% white male kids. It was fuckin' awesome.
The set lise was something like this (likely out of order a bit): Bulls on Parade Testify People of the Sun Bullet in the Head Calm Like a Bomb The Ghose of Tom Joad Know Your Enemy Sleep Now in the Fire Born of a Broken Man No Shelter War Within a Breath Encore: Guerrilla Radio Freedom Killing in the Name
Most amazing shit I have ever seen. Big blue light on Tom during the wah-wah part of Bulls on Parade, with everyone going crazy. Testify was wicked; so was every song to follow. It's fuckin Rage, man. Bullet in the Head really got everyone going; hardcore shit. The chorus to Calm Like a Bomb was amazing, definitely of the evening's highlights. Tom was fuckin five feet in the air. Matter of fact, so was Zack. Tom Joad was really thrashing; slightly abridged, though.
Know You Enemy had everyone, and I mean everyone, singing along, fists in the air. It's quite an experience to see several thousand kids yell 'We don't need the key, we'll break in!" in unison. Zack was really screaming during Sleep Now in the fire, and Tom was playing all these crazy notes that made the song very powerful and urgent. That guy is a fuckin crazy guitar player. Amazing. The guy can jump, too.
Broken Man was my favorite song of the night; fuckin heavy shit. It just exploded from the guitar intro, and everyone was singing it's chorus, too. It's an incredible song anyway.
The encore was just as crazy. Guerrilla Radio is a killer song live. Freedom...come on man, it's fucking Freedom! The only shit that beats that is Killing in the Name. Everyone's middle finger in the air, everyone shouting along with the outro. When it was over, all we could do was sit and shake our heads, in awe of the amazing shit we had just been witness to. After the show we got our shirts with the album cover and tour dates, and picked up some information about Leonard Peltier and on WalMart labor abuse.
Very nice folks at the Peltier table. I urge everyone to take action on behalf of such wrongly opressed people. Call/write your elected officials; most of their time is spent helping out their own worthless asses, anyway. They want your vote, above all else; if a large portion of the electorate supports these causes, the money-sucking bastards in DC will start listening. That, or violence, is the only way it's gonna happen. If you ever get the chance to see Rage live, go. It is the most amazing musical experience I have ever had, and I'm sure it will profoundly affect you as well.
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