Rage at '99 Tibetan Freedom Festival
I was among the large group of people attending the Tibetan Freedom Concert at Alpine Valley in East Troy, Wisconsin, and had already purchased my ticket the day the tickets had just gone on sale. I was looking forward to it for sure as I was to finally see the Beastie Boys, one of my personal favorite groups. But, I was hoping they would add on some additional groups. About a week before the show, I started to feel like the show might kinda suck thanks to the likes of Blondie (no offense to fans!) and a few others. But then, I hear Rage Against The Machine is going to play........I just had to scream. Pumping my fist in the air as I was trying to keep driving, I felt my adrenaline raising to the max! I was so uncontrollably excited.
At this point I was a reasonably large fan. I loved the band, but wasn't the biggest follower. This soon changed greatly, I can assure you this!
All day me and my friends just kept saying, "Man get these punks Blondie off tha stage....." or "Man this Tracy Chapman really needs to hurry up so Rage can get on" and so on. I mean, I respect all kinds of music, and whoever plays their own kind of music, and meant no disrespect to these artists but, I wanted to see Rage, alright? I mean, come on. I couldn't wait any longer to see them.
They finally took the stage that night and the crowd was hyped more than I have ever witnessed a crowd. As soon as Tom Morello's amp with the Che Guevara pic showed up, the crowd was waiting on the edges of their seats to see a glimpse. Then they came out, yelling , and screaming fans filled the whole arena, unlike any other group made them the whole day long. Bam! They bust into "People of the sun" and the crowd gets even wilder. Everybody knew the words to all the songs and was trying to sing and beat each other up at the same time! I mean, this place was wild! It was like moshing city, even for kids with seats in the way. The grassy hill was turned to mud by then and it showed on these cheering, yet agressive fans. Rage played "Know Your Enemy," "Vietnow," "Bulls On Parade" and closed with "Killing In The Name." (I'm somehow cannot remember what the other couple songs were) "Killing..." was the real jam of the night. It was anarchy from top to bottom in the crowd during this! Especially during "Fuck you I won't do what you tell me" part. Everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY was flipping their middle finger in the air during this including Zack de la Rocha flipping all of us off the whole time. It put a strange feeling of freedom in the air and got some pent up fury out of each and every one of us in the crowd out at that moment, and throughout.
They left the stage way too early by all of our standards, but they had to, that's the way it goes with these festivals. If it had gone our way, they would have played on all day and only left room for Run DMC and the Beasties. But, what are you gonna do?
After this show I was transformed into a full-on Rage-fanatic as were many of the audience members there that day, I know this for sure. Rage put on the single most incredible and most entertaining show I have seen by far, and I know that if they return to any nearly-close arena, you can bet I'll be there, pumping my middle finger once, and forever more.
By John Krekling
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