Rage Against the Machine Reviews

Rage at Roseland Ballroom, October 2nd
By Christopher Wilkes

I drove past Roseland at about 6.  "SOLD OUT Rage Against the Machine SOLD OUT" was in huge letters on the front billboard.  The front was empty because the line had been pushed back down the block to the corner closer to seventh ave.  The line was really not that long, so I figured I did not have to rush on to line.   I parked and walked around the back on 53rd.  here was a small group of fans waiting by the back stage entrance.  Just when I got there, someone claimed they saw Tom Morello leaving.  The fans I talked to were just incredibly psyched and ready for the show.

I watched the line grow around the corner from a bar across the street until I felt the time was right.  I got on line at about 7 and the line just started moving.  Perfect timing.  Within 10 minutes I was inside, and for those who have never been to Roseland - there are no seats in there.  Your ticket just gets you general admission.  When you first walk in, they were selling shirts on the right and food and drink on the left.  Further in, they had a bar and a plastic beer cup beer stand to the right.  In and to the far left was the stage.  I was amazed at how close to the stage I was able to squeeze at that point.  I got in position about 10 people from the front and just a little to right - about where Tom would likely stand. Behind me, the crowd just got bigger and tighter.  I made it just in time.

The stage was lit up.  Brad's drums were ready.  And there was a huge banner behind the stage - it was a white and red version of what is now the opening graphic at the official rage site.  They also were selling tshirts of this. To the back right was a DJ set up with a Public Enemy banner over it - with their URL on it of course.   The crowd was pretty pumped.  There was a little weed smoking in the smaller groups.  A few drinking beer from the beer stand.  Even a few crowd surfers - and there was no music yet.  There was this one kid in a red shirt who was just flying through the air like a nut.  To the right of the pit was a second stage.  It had a velvet rope in front and the people up there just had way too much room.  There were actually a lot of girls up there as well as some recognizable KROCK people.

Before long, PE came out.  Chuck D had some Knicks shorts on and he had 3 s1W's behind him.  He ripped through about 3 songs before Flava Flav came out to rip some with him.  They were up there for about 40 minutes and at times they got the crowd jumping and moving. I was actually able to get a little closer to the stage thanks to the pushing. They did some older jams (I think Bring tha Noise went over best with the fans, but Shut em Down was my favorite).  The sound system was not great for them.  You could barely understand what Chuck or Flav were saying and when the DJ did his things for a few minutes, you could barely hear the scratching because the bass was so high.  I was surprised at how many people in the crowd did not seem to know any lyrics, but who cares.  At this point, I wanted Rage.  As they left they gave some serious push to their website and talked about distribution of their new records through the site.  There was a lot of "fuck the labels" and "fuck the record store" type shit.

Despite the appearance of most Rage equipment set up already, they still took a half hour to come out.  During the off time they played tracks from Rammstein.

Before you knew it, lights out, here comes Rage.  Zack announced "We're Rage Against the Machine from Los Angeles California."  And then, they just ripped it.  When the first chord dropped the entire crowd moved in a way it hadn't yet.  The whole pack of people just swayed about 10-15 feet to the right and then again back to the left and then repeat.  There was so much left to right action going on during the first few songs, you couldn't even really jump.  I had ambitious plans- I wanted to post a setlist - but I can't remember really.  Sorry, I tried.  It was just so nuts and everyone including me was just going so wild-- it was mind blowing. After hearing how muffled PE sounded I was nervous about how Rage would sound.  But the system was so perfectly set up for them and they sounded great.  I remember being completely soaked with sweat.  Same for everyone around me.  To Rage fans' credit, even with all the pushing, leaping, moshing and stuff, I did not see anything blow up into anger for one another.  Everyone just enjoyed the show in their own way the best way they knew how.  Time seemed to just go so fast though.

They played alot of new songs and some old songs, but no one word from Zack or anyone else.  From the new album, I believe they played Guerilla Radio, Calm Like a Bomb, Born of a Broken Man (which was probably the song of the night along with People of the Sun) and Maria.  They probably played a few others because there were some that I did not really recognize.

From the old stuff, I know they played Bulls on Parade, People of the Sun, Know Your Enemy.  They did not play Vietnow and they did not play Freedom - as far as I remember.  If someone was there and knows the set for sure, please post it and help revive my memory of this show.  They ended with Killing in the Name - that I know.   It was just over way too fast.  I think they played about 12 songs.

I had to run to the bathroom when it was done and it was funny because I overheard most people talking about how rage was taking an intermission. I wish that was the case, but there's no way they can rip as hard they did for much more than the hour they were up there.  Zack is going to need that voice for the Indio show in a few days. Needless to say, they did not come back out.  I passed out against a pole down stairs where the restrooms and baggage check was.  People were sprawled out everywhere.  It took us 20 minutes to get out and outside was as packed as inside.  Cops were running traffic and keeping everyone on the sidewalks.  I was so exhausted, I just limped up the block to a deli for some water - amazed at what I had witnessed.

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