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flag US - California - Full Moon 41 - 02/19/00

Rage Against The Machine
Philipshalle, Düsseldorf, Germany 04.02.00

The last time Rage Against The Machine were in town was in the summer of 1993 when they just released their debut album and didn't even come close to selling out the 1,500 capacity Tor 3. Now, seven long year and a pretty rotten second album later RATM are having a renaissance - sort of. But why on earth did they book the Philipshalle in Düsseldorf, which holds close to 8,000 people? Well, basically, because RATM are able to sell out huge arena like this again - and they did. The venue was so much sold out in fact that they removed the (very few) seats on the side to make space for even more people.

The Asian Dub Foundation opened and did a very good job considering that their music has nothing at all to do with RATM's. They do however, have common goals as far as most of the lyrics are concerned and not only because the Asian Dub Foundation performed on special invitation by Rage Against The Machine, their set - closing with the "charity hit" Free Satpal Ram - was very well received. But then: The main course.

With a gigantic banner of their latest album sleeve behind them (which, funnily enough, read "The Battle of Düsseldorf" instead of "...Los Angeles" for tonight's show) Zack and his gang took to the stage, said "Good evening Düsseldorf, we're Rage Against The Machine from Los Angeles, California" and kickstarted the show with Testify, the opening number from their excellent third album. This announcement was to be the only words of wisdom for the whole night! No silly political comments, no rockstar shit, just the band and its music. Testify was followed by the staggeringly good Guerilla Radio which proved that RATM are a very special band indeed. You know how usually the first ten rows pogo and jump up and down for about 30 seconds whenever a smashing song starts. Tonight, all 8,000 people were jumping up and down (and screaming!) for bascially the whole duration of the show! There were no ballads, no slow parts... Rage Against The Machine RAWKED! They did Bullet In The Head very early on and in a very wise move avoided large parts of Evil Empire to concentrate on the good material from the first and third album. The highlights included the new Maria plus the very Hendrix'esque new single Sleep Now In The Fire. For the encores, they rolled out the old war horses, Freedom (dedicated to Mumia Abu Jamal) and Killing In The Name Of, which - of course! - was the closing song of the night. Just because they had no choice! How would you want to follow up a song like that with 8,000 people yelling "fuck you I won't do what you tell me" 16 times (!) on top of their voices only to follow it with a 'heartfelt' "motherfucker"? See, it had to be the last song even though it looks kinda silly on paper when a band closes with arguably their biggest hit.

I wasn't a real fan of RATM before and I only went to the show because I was given free tickets. It all changed over the course of 80 minutes though and while I still don't like all of their music and certainly not their image, I have to say that I hardly ever saw such raw power on stage before. Respect is due!

Copyright © 2000 Carsten Wohlfeld e-mail address

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