Rage Against the Machine Reviews

Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto
1999 November 29

A few anticipatory years were distilled into an 85-minute performance. And I have been greatly humbled by the sonic experience of seeing Rage live. 

To get this out of the way, I caught the last opening act of three, Gang Starr, who truly and totally were awful; rap poseurs of the lowest degree who bored me to a coma.  Anyway, they're off and the growing tension begins with heady delight.

Red stars on a black blackground drape the tower speakers on both sides of the stage. 

Enough waiting.  Lights are down at about 915pm.

"The Battle of Toronto" begins: okay, so the album cover reproduced as a stage backdrop seems contrived ... but all is forgiven.

Start with "Testify" and "Guerrilla Radio" and we were well on our way into a set of being sonically assaulted.  For the main course, we got helpings of the following :

"Bullet In The Head"
"Know Your Enemy"
"Calm Like A Bomb"
"Sleep Now In The Fire"
"Born Of A Broken Man"
"Ashes In The Fall"
"War Within A Breath"
"The Ghost of Tom Joad"
"No Shelter"

This setlist is from memory and NOT in order, plus I've likely forgotten an extra song or two ...

The high energy was maintained for the entire set ... no sad-sack melodramatic tunes.  Just what a Rage fan is to expect: an in your face and god damned loud, head-shaking, earth-grinding, ear-crunching experience that rarely let up.  As expected from other reviews, the only time words are spoken when Zack introduced themselves at the very beginning simply with "Hi, we are RATM from Los Angeles." 

Fortunately, our seats were about 100 feet away direct-line and about 30-50 feet above the floor in the mid-reds.  Unobstructed view on the side of Y.tim.K, but got a view of all 4 dudes, leaving me to the  conclusion that Tom Morello does inexplicable things to his guitar to make the most unique sounds ever to come out of a guitar.

For a dessert of a 4-song encore, it all came complete 
IN ORDER with: 

"Bulls On Parade"
unfamiliar low-tempo song (segue into Freedom ... ?)
"Killing In The Name Of"

All in all, what an astounding sight to see the house lights turned on for "Killing In The Name Of" as the entire crowd just went apeshit and into convulsions.  The entirety of the mosh pit fully occupying on what would have been the ice surface of Maple Leaf Gardens was set into wave motion, back and fro, with smaller turbulent eddies forming in the midst of various massive attacks of slamming flying bodies.

And all of a sudden, it's 1040pm and house lights are on for the last time.

Hot damn.

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