I've been fortunate enough to have the chance to see RAGE twice on their tour so far. Last night I went to the show in Oakland (my hometown) and tonight I went to the show in Sacramento. A pretty intense experience I might add.
For the Oakland show I missed Dilated Peoples because I got to the area late (this little thing called work, you know) but I got there in time to see Gangstarr get the crowd ready for rage. I've been a fan of Guru since his Jazzmatazz album. I thought that Gangstarr was a good choice for an opening act. The crowd reaction to them was good and I wouldn't have expected anything else from Oakland. Oakland is one of the original birthing places of hip hop so the reaction towards an older, true hip hop act would be expected to be good.
After Gangstarr left the stage the energy level of the crowd started to build and build. There was harder moshing going on BEFORE rage took the stage than I've seen at the high point of some shows. After rage's crew set up there was a banner the said, "The Battle of Oakland", hoisted. When the crowd saw this the energy level went up even again.
The lights went out, one could here last minute adjustments on the bass and drums, a tweaking of Tom's guitar, and Zack's "Check one two." Then, "We're Rage Against the Machine from Los Angeles California," and then they went right into Testify. The playlist went like this:
Testify Guerrilla Radio People of the Sun Calm Like a Bomb Bullet in the Head Bombtrack Sleep Now in the Fire Born of a Broken Man Know Your Enemy No Shelter War Within a Breath encore Bulls on Parade Freedom Killing in the Name
At one point in the show Zack stopped and said for the fucking creep looser motherfuckers to stop copping a feel on the young women in the crowd or get the fuck out. Those weren't his exact words but he gets much respect for saying that because that's bullshits for guys to be doing that. Just because a female wants to get hard-core at a rage show doesn't mean that she should have to put up with some sweaty motherfucker groping at her. Respect due to Zack.
Both live performances of War With in a Breath the I have heard (I have a tape of the Nov. 5th performance in L.A.) are slight different than the album version. The only difference is the Zack leaves out the "Every official that come in..." part, and the "Their existence is a crime ....." part. I wonder why? That being said I think that this is the best song on the new album. When I hear it, especially live, I want to cry and scream and fight all at the same time. It makes me feel the universality of the Chiapen peoples struggle and the importance of it.
Zack changed a little bit of the lyrics of Freedom. At the end of the song, he said, "Freedom, for Mumia," instead of, "Freedom, yeah right." There was an air of awareness of Mumia's plight. It felt as if one was a part of something greater when at the concert. Some positive change. I think what rage has done for the cause in Mumia's case is very heroic. That was evidenced in Oakland on Friday night. Rage is the best live band (or band period) that ever was.....
I was able to get to the show in Sacramento on time and was able to see the Dilated Peoples. I was glad that I did because I thought that the emceeing was worth checking out. Gangstarr's set was a solid one again, except the crowd reaction was not as good.. Their was even some booing at points in their set. I was rather disappointed to see that, but I guess that there are fewer hip hop heads in Sac than in other places.
It took longer for rage's crew to set up after Gangstarr's set that it did last night. The crowd wasn't quite as aggressive between sets as it was last night in Oakland. Lots of crowd surfing ect. going on though.
Once again Testify was the opening song. The set list was as follows:
Testify Guerrilla Radio People of the Sun Calm like a Bomb Bullet in the Head Bombtrack Darkness of Greed Sleep Now in the Fire Born of a Broken Man Know your Enemy No Shelter encore Bulls on Parade Freedom Killing in the Name
The energy level in the crowd when Guerrilla Radio started was fucking straight hard-core. The excitement level when the bass and drums kick in and Zack shouts, "Set it off!" is very high. At that point I got turned around and slammed into a wall to the left of the stage. At that point I was so excited that I didn't care but right now that Shoulder really hurts (I just got my third tattoo and it happened to be on that shoulder, ouch).
No War Within a Breath tonight but they dusted off Darkness of Greed instead. I think Darkness comes off bad ass as a live song. During the slower jazzy sounding part it feels the wick of a cannon going out before the explosion. Bad ass.
Again tonight Zack had to stop and tell the guys to stop touching the girls. Damm people, be respectful of other people. He sounded pretty pissed of to have to say anything about it. I have tremendous respect for Zack because of his taking a stand on this.
During the encore, right before Bulls on Parade, Tom did this really cool guitar effect where he made the guitar sound like a cathedral organ. Also before Freedom they did a minute or two of a phunky beat with some interesting guitar effects (a bit like Zapata's Blood sounds) and Zack whispered, "Free Mumia." He then dedicated Freedom to Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jamal. Freedom has never sounded better than how they played it tonight. They went right into Killing in the Name Of. That song is, in my opinion, the best song that any band has ever played live. At the end when Zack was screaming, "FUCK YOU I WON'T DO WHAT YOU TELL ME!," the lights turned on and everybody had their middle finger in the air and screamed it to.
Right now, my head is throbbing and I'm feeling rather sleep deprived, but, because I have done what few can say that they have. I seen the greatest band in the fucking universe, not once, but two nights in a row.
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