Rage Against The Machine

Lollapalooza--Grant Park--Chicago

August 02, 2008

BY JASON SONGE


This may sound gross, but it's a fair barometer of how much Rage's show at Lollapalooza moved me: I haven't sweat so much at a concert since Gogol Bordello played Twiropa in 2004 or 2005. When I got back to my hotel, I was super relaxed and had a natural high going, probably because of all the toxins I got out.

Maybe it's melodramatic or nieve of me, but I really felt like the world began and ended in that field Saturday night. Nothing else mattered, and if this was gonna be my chance to exorcise my personal shit and also lend my voice to a social and political dissent that Rage so intelligently and powerfully espouses, I wasn't gonna just stand there. I was alone, so I didn't have anyone to worry about or protect, and I was far enough up that everyone next to me were surefire fans. I spent most of the concert airborne, and I gotta say that I inspired a few people around me to get into the show more.

I didn't know from the beginning how good the show was gonna be. Maybe I'd enjoy the show but be less than blown away, like I was at Voodoo. Luckily, the band was tighter in Chicago, and they were angrier, which the crowd ate up in appreciation. All I can say is that I'd love to see a Rage show the morning of the presidential election. That'd be NUTS.

Something I noticed was that Tom Morello was more animated than usual, carelessly windmilling his body around. Awesome.

Only two songs came from "Evil Empire," "Bulls on Parade" and "People of the Sun." I really wanted to hear "Tire Me." Oh, well.

It's eerie how Rage's lyrics are still so relevant today:

"Mister anchor assure me
That Baghdad is burning
Your voice it is so soothing
That cunning mantra of killing
I need you my witness
To dress this up so bloodless

Mass graves for the pump and the price is set."--Testify

Walking back from the show, people from the Rage show were letting out a mass rebellious/celebratory shout that travelled up and down the streets like a wave. It was pretty powerful and very cool. I could hear it coming up behind me and then all of a sudden everyone around me is shouting and I'm shouting too.

After the last song, the four band members bowed together and then had a group hug. I couldn't believe it. After all the acrimony, here they were hugging each other and sporting huge grins like they had just won a gold medal. I think Rage is back, but if they never tour again and never record another album, I think this night in Chicago must be the closest they would have come to being inspired to make more music.

SETLIST:

Testify
Bulls On Parade
People of the Sun
Bombtrack
Know Your Enemy
Bullet In The Head
Born Of A Broken Man
Guerilla Radio
Ashes In The Fall
Calm Like A Bomb
Sleep Now In The Fire
Wake Up

Encore:
Freedom
Killing In The Name


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