Rage Against the Machine Reviews

Concert Review for Rage Against The Machine
11/19/99, Oakland Arena
Oakland, CA

I knew I had to get tix when I heard that Rage was coming to Oakland...  To say that they have a powerful stage presence would be an insulting understatement.  We got to the arena at about 8...  The first opening band, Dilated Peoples was OK, but not the kind of opener I would have chosen for Rage.  They were political, but they didn't have the confidence to assert their views.  People kept throwing bottles at them, and they would catch them and chuck 'em right back, so that was cool.  Then they left, the lights came on, people began moshing, and girls started flashing their tits, which got old pretty quickly.  The arena began to fill with smoke from spliffs and cigarettes, and Gang Star came on.  They weren't much to speak of either, but they had a good DJ.  When the fourth rapper came out, I thought "this is overkill".  And the last guy's mic wasn't working for half of his performance.  He kept swinging around this fake plastic mace that I saw in a halloween store a week prior.  It seemed pretty cheesy, and I was hoping they'd leave soon.

Finally, they left and the stage crew began setting up those guitars and basses I've come to know and love.  I saw Tom's "Arm the Homeless" guitar, and his black telecaster, and I got a picture of his pedalboard for future reference.  When they rolled down the "Battle of Oakland" banner, the crowd went nuts.  It was pretty awesome, but they raised it up too high and it was hard to see during the show.  Finally, the lights went off, the lighters lit up, the shirts came off, and the band came out.  They opened with Testify, and it was so fierce I could have gone home happy after that one song.  They played:

Guerilla Radio
People of the Sun
Calm Like a Bomb
Bullet in The Head
Sleep Now in the Fire
Born of A Broken Man
Know Your Enemy (the intro is so FUNKY)
No Shelter
War Within A Breath

Then they went offstage and I didn't realize until after the concert that this was the end of their set.  It seemed so short. Then they came back on and played Bulls on Parade, Freedom, and finished it off with Killing in the Name Of.   In the last chorus of "Killing..." they flipped on the lights when everyone was chanting "Fuck you..."  and EVERYONE had their fingers up.  It was great. I've never moved so mush in my life, or had so much fun.  If rage comes by your town, BUY TICKETS.

(In the middle of their set, my friend went to the front of the pit to take pictures of Zack.  The security pigs at the front saw him and tried to put up their hands so he couldn't take pictures, cuz cameras weren't allowed.  Zack saw what was going on, and told them to leave, then he got down on one knee, put the mic aside, grinned and told my friend to "take the pictures".  Wow.  Can't wait to see those developed!)

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