Rage Against the Machine Reviews

RATM, Philadelphia, Dec. 6th, 1999

I have never seen such a soul-shattering, mind-awakening, body-ripping band.  Their conviction, the energy that goes into every word, every chord, every beat is so contagious.  The floor was 3/4 covered with swarming human bodies, a foaming wave.  The lyrics that Zach accentuated spoke out to the youth as much as the music.  "Anger is a gift" - this is what the band seemed to be saying - get angry, get out and fight censorship and dictatorship.  In Zach's only oration, he spoke of CIA, FBI agents that were clearly evident in the outer halls of the venue.  I mean, c'mon, do you really think men in their 40's & 50's, dressed in golf-type shirts and khakis came to hear Rage?  I'm 44, and could see how they stuck out like a sore thumb.  I just hope that the younger ragers keep aware of this - we are being watched by "BIG BROTHER".

The band seemed so much tighter, so much more mature in their performance.  This was evident to me immediately when I listed to BOLA and could hear the differences from their previous albums.  This has ripening spilled over into the live performance - I saw them in 1997, and the live performance this time was much more succinct.  Tim & Brad have melded into this incredible fusion with Tom's guitar and Zach's voice.  Listening to the instrumental interludes let your head wander and your body move involuntarily.  This is the best of this genre.

I was very disappointed to hear so many young attendees talking out against Rage, saying that the only reason they came was to hear the music, not the message.  You CANNOT witness Rage without hearing the message, it just doesn't work that way.  It's like there's something missing if you don't listen to it and take it to heart.  Perhaps we are becoming too complacent, perhaps we are afraid to see oppression going on in our materialistically comfortable world, or perhaps those that won't listen are afraid of losing that comfortable niche of wallowing in apathy.

Okay, enough soap box.....it's just simply what Pamela Africa said, Rage is the mightiest fucking band on earth!  My 15-year old son says, "Seeing Rage lets you get all that pent up anger out in 2 hours, then lets you face the world for another year, refreshed and ready to fight the enemies.  You crave them, you crave the release, you crave the energy..."

The FOP here in Philadelphia are now campaigning to stop Rage, whose music they say "spreads hate & violence"....see how authority distorts the truth about a band?  You can just imagine how this "most corrupt police force in the nation" (this was brought to light a couple of years ago) distorts the truth when they are enforcing the law.  By boycotting Electric Factory concerts (the promoters) and Comcast Spectacor (the venue owners), they are trying to censor the voices of freedom.

By Julie Root

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