Tag Archives: rage against the machine


Maybe it’s ironic that I went to see Rage with three Phish heads (thanks, Adam, Don and Bert!), but as we waited on the freeway exit where cars were bumpered up for miles, trudged across the muddy parking lots, encountered fanatics wearing concert t-shirts from 1997, 1998, 1995, with every step, I understood.

It wasn’t just that Rage’s music fused political ideals, anger, funk, hip-hop and rock into an intelligent, multi-layered package succicintly appealing to testosterone-laden adolescents, music aficionados or just folks who liked vitriol.

It was also that it was a night of “haven’t been/had/done this since…” Adam kept saying it hadn’t rained this much in Milwaukee in a hundred years. His friends agreed that they’d never seen Alpine Valley that muddy. Rage Against the Machine hadn’t played the Midwest in more than seven years, since they broke up. (They’d only played a handful of shows, maybe four, since reuniting this year.) All these circumstances bubbled up into in a feeling of anticipation, the knowledge that it was going to be a once-in-a-lifetime concert.


Even Tom Morello’s mom, Mary, a tiny old lady, seemed giddy. She introduced “the best f**king band in the universe,” and then the band burst into “Testify.” Mud was flying everywhere and, people were walking around dirtier than hippies. Security seemed a little worried, but compared to the crowd my friends saw at San Bernardino (or even Coachella, where I saw Rage reunite for the first time), the crowd looked really amped, but not dangerous. (Actually, because I was in the covered part of the amphitheater, I didn’t realize that people were reportedly sliding down the hill in mud to mosh.)

Zack de la Rocha was wearing the exact same outfit he had on at Coachella — a red collared shirt and black pants — and they performed in front of the same black flag and a red star used by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation as a backdrop.

But at that show, where the whole band looked absolutely ecstatic, grinning from ear to ear, yesterday’s was polished and flawless. And maybe even a little weary. Still, Morello’s solos were flying, bassist Tim Commerford and drummer Brad Wilk drove the backline tighter than an emo kid’s pants, and de la Rocha was at top form, jumping, kicking, pumping up the crowd. My only complaint? It seemed that there was too much treble in de la Rocha’s vocals.

No matter what, though, it was awesome the way Rage channeled nostalgia and made it current.





During “Wake Up,” he went on to talk about how they’ve made the news since they’re reunited. (Okay, I’m a nerd and I taped it, but I can’t make out all of it so here is the MP3 and we can all figure it out together! Yay!)

Press play to launch.

It was a rallying cry that, 15 years after the band first made its mark in music, still has the power to stir us today — no matter whether we’ve grown up to like Phish, Of Montreal or Justin Timberlake.

“At Coachella… that was our first show back I said a few things on stage and the next day Fox News ran a whole piece about us saying the president should be assassinated. Those fascists got it wrong … what we said was the whole Bush administration should be held on trial for war crimes…But I sat there and it made me think of something. It made me think of what the f**k they’re so afraid of. It made me think of what scares them. Is it really just four musicians from Los Angeles? …Is it really just this music and these rhythms and these words? My conclusion was…they’re not scared of us. They’re scared of you. They’re scared that you might come election time and throw Bush and Cheney and all those bastards out … And I say this, that the Democrats are scared of you too, because they’re scared you see through their bullshit too…they know they’re going to power and they’re going to take credit for it. If they don’t start pulling troops out of Iraq, you’re going to start burning every office in every city…the whole world is watching you. Your brothers and sisters in South America have their eyes on us. Our brothers and sisters in Iraq have their eyes on us… so wake up! Wake up!”


Set List
“Bulls on Parade”
“People of the Sun”
{a blank out of about four songs here as I was making my way back to my seat, witnessed a crowd tear out a barricade, had to navigate muddy moshpits, drunk dudes, potsmokers, etc. According to the Journal-Sentinel, it was “Vietnow,” “Bullet in the Head,” and “Take the Power Back,” }
“Tire Me”
“Guerilla Radio”
“Calm Like a Bomb”
“Sleep Now in the Fire”
“Wake Up”
“Township Rebellion” (outro)
“Killing in the Name”


–Text and photos by Lilledeshan Bose

For many music fans, Coachella is better than Christmas. So when I found out that the festival was expanding to three days, I was ecstatic. Then I got really upset when it sold out in February. I was lucky; I got a ticket eventually. But although this year isn’t a big mad rush to see as many bands possible in a 24-hour period, it is definitely way more crowded than any other I’ve been to. The camping area, for example, was populated by 15,000 people. Yikes.

Coachella 2007

There are pluses and minuses: there’s more art, I think, which takes up a lot of grass space. (That’s a good thing, though.) And of course, there are many more great bands. This is the first time every single headliner is a repeater (Rage Against the Machine in 1999, Bjork in 2002, Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2003).

Coachella 2007 Coachella 2007 Coachella 2007

Lastly I think that word-of-mouth has gotten so good that people just don’t want to miss it. I’m personally addicted to going to Coachella. I don’t know anyone who has been who would voluntarily forego it. So excuse me a moment, but I couldn’t help but get emotional more than a few times on Sunday.

I Cried During Rage’s Reunion If you are a true music fan, music that changes you will always mean a lot to you. Rage Against the Machine was the kind of band that stood for something important. They always put their money where their mouths were. They attended rallies, helped political prisoners, used their music for good. Hardly anyone does that now. (Also, “Killing in the Name Of” may not seem romantic, but that was my song for a boy I loved when I was 16. )

After I witnessed Chris Cornell tearing through “Sleep Now In the Fire” for Audioslave in 2005, I watched a Rage Against the Machine DVD. It was no contest; I missed them a lot. Apparently I wasn’t the only one; about 60,000 people saw Rage rage on on Sunday night. For me and many others, it was a return to childhood, a return to good music, a return to a time when you did something about issues that mattered to you.

Coachella 2007

Onstage, singer Zack dela Rocha said that if American presidents were tried like Nazi war criminals, all of them would be hung and shot. During “Killing in the Name Of,” everyone stood up and yelled along. The air was electric with anticipation before they came on; a lot of people were predicting riots and they were pulling people out of the mosh pit every second before Rage came on.

But in true Coachella fashion everything was chill and safe and it was one of the best moments of my life, musical or not. I wanted to share it with you, so here is Rage Against the Machine’s “Bulls On Parade” on video. (Press play when the new window launches.)

I also cried during … Explosions in the Sky. It was perfect; the sun on your back, lush, sweeping music that drove your soul without lyrics.

Coachella 2007Boo to Rude Concertgoers It was supposed to be a joyous Crowded House reunion (on right), but on their first or second song the crowd was already chanting “We want Rage! We want Rage!” During “Don’t Dream It’s Over” someone threw a water bottle or something at lead singer Neil Finn.

I’m Glad I Didn’t See … Air. I have always loved Air, but I’ve seen them many times. Apparently, their set was 30 minutes late. Oh, and Paris Hilton was there, too. So I missed her as well.

Discoveries of the Day Mika was so cute, frolicking on the main stage in his paint-splattered jeans. His crew–blonde Asian bassist and kilted guitar player, was as androgynous as he was.
The Kooks, from Britain, were hot, too.

Best Cover Song of the Weekend The Roots played a phenomenal set, which included a funkified cover of “Masters of War” by Bob Dylan and setting the tone for the main stage’s political acts.

Here is a video of The Roots, singing a song I don’t know the title of. (Press play when the new window launches.)

The “I Didn’t Understand a Word of It, But it Was Great” Award Goes To Manu Chao, who played the best set ever. I don’t know why, but my Mexican friend said it was a big deal that they played a punk version of “Volver, Volver.”

Coachella 2007

The Rehab Rumors May Not Be True … But Lily Allen kept forgetting the words to her songs, even though it was a wickedly brash and fun set, which included a cover of Blondie’s “Heart of Glass.”

Coachella 2007

Still Truckin’ It was Willie Nelson’s birthday on April 29, and it was cool to watch him before he expires. Lots of people lit up joints in honor of him being at Coachella; I made my way from the main stage through a cloud of marijuana smoke to watch Placebo.

Coachella 2007 Coachella 2007

I missed CSS, Grizzly Bear, Junior Boys, Damien Rice, the Lemonheads and Rodrigo Y Gabriela. But that was OK, because on Sunday my feet did hurt. And I was tired. But seeing Zack de la Rocha, Tom Morello and co. embrace after their 13-song set meant more to me than aching knees or lack of sleep.

On our way back to the car, after Rage, people were so happy they kept sporadically cheering and clapping.
This year’s Coachella festival was probably the last time I was acutely aware of how happy I was, exactly at that moment. See you all next year, sunblock in hand.

–Lille Bose