Rage at Nassau Coliseum (Uniondale, NY)
The big night I had been waiting for. I had listened to the CDs, and I had watched the video, but nothing could've prepared me and the other 15,000 people for what was to come that night.
My friends and I arrived at the Coliseum at about 7:15, and proceeded to one of the openings to the inside of the venue. After being patted down, we had our tickets checked by one of the security guys. Thinking our tickets were to be somewhere with seats, as opposed to the floor, we started walking in. Security checked our tickets and gave us the big surprise: "You guys got general admission. Just walk outside and around to the escalators. When you go down, they'll give you wristbands for the floor."
I could not believe it. We assumed, since our tickets had numbers on them (somewhere in the 200 section), we would be up higher. That was not the case. I think at that point, my heart started beating a lot faster.
We walked downstairs and had the security give us the wristbands. After walking through the big opening to the inside, we were there; not far at all from the stage, on the floor of Nassau Coliseum. The show started promptly at 7:30 with this band called At the Drive-In. Holy crap, did they suck! I've never really heard a band quite as bad as these guys. Guitars were thrashing, bass was thumping, the drums were crashing, and the lead singer (who had this silly fro) was just screaming at the top of his lungs. I asked my friends: "You get one word of that??" "Nope," they replied. Thank god their set was only a half hour.
Next up: Gangstarr. I'm not really one for the hip hop scene, but they weren't all that bad. The setup had some nice bass, so I was grooving to the beat. A couple of times they asked "You guys wanna hear some more?", and the crowd screamed "NO!". At least he understood later that we all wanted to see Rage. Halfway through his set, he stopped for a moment to warn the crowd to take it easy on the women who were getting pretty banged up in the pits.
At this point, when Gangstarr left the stage, things got crazy. Between the sets while they were getting ready for Rage, the crowd on the floor screamed to the people in the stands to come on down. Well, they reacted and stormed the floor in a stampede. At first, security tried to stop it by slamming people down, or just tackling them and throwing them to the side or back into the seats. But then it just became too much, and security pretty much gave up as people flew over the edge of the floor (which happens to be an ice hockey rink) and piled onto the floor, rushing into the crowd. By the time Rage came on, the floor was packed and the energy was up.
Here is the play list (i think.. it might be off a little bit):
1. Testify 2. Guerrilla Radio 3. People of the Sun 4. Calm Like a Bomb 5. Bullet in the Head 6. Ghost of Tom Joad 7. Vietnow 8. Sleep Now in the Fire 9. Broken Man 10. Know Your Enemy 11. No Shelter 12. War within a Breath Encore--- 12. Bulls on Parade 13. Freedom (with an awesome intro regarding Mumia and the cop-killers Rage does not support) 14. Killing in the Name
The pits were just sick. After just the first song, the heat was so high that almost everyone was sweating ridiculously and in a beautiful frenzy. I especially remember "bullet in the head". In the pit, people were getting thrown around and when someone fell (i saw my best friend go down a couple times), 3 guys just helped him up back on to his feet. I almost lost my shirt in the excitement. The fans were enjoying themselves amazingly (though i wish I had a bottle of water halfway through). When you travelled on the outside of the pit, the heat was high, but as soon as you ventured into the center, this cool breeze came around your body.
Tom took some really phat solos that I'd never heard and so did Brad on the drums. I forgot which song it was, but he just went crazy back there with amazing fills on his crash and snare drum. By the end of the night, everyone was just fried, sweating and smiling.
Now I know what people are talking about when the say Rage is one of the best live bands in the world. This night was one that I will remember for many years to come.
by Brett Leber
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