Rage Against the Machine at Denver Coliseum, with Flobots, the Coup, State Radio, 8/27/08
2:20 p.m., Rage Against the Machine: Finally the moment everyone has been waiting for. In a natural segue from the Flobots set, members of Iraq Veterans Against the War briefly appeared on stage before Rage started seriously tearing the roof off this motherfucker. The stands are literally shaking beneath my feet.
Chad Fahnestock Iraq Veterans Against the War.
It's astounding that a band that has been dormant for so long is still as powerful as it was in the beginning. Running through fevered versions of "Guerrilla Radio" and "Bulls On Parade," with Zach de la Rocha stalking the stage like a rabid pit bull, Rage is proving that it's still every bit as vital (and angry) today as it was in the '90s. Fists are raised and the entire arena is bouncing up and down in unison.
Chad Fahnestock Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine.
Dressed head to toe in white bearing a guitar emblazoned with the American flag, Wayne Kramer from the MC5 just joined Rage on stage. "Forty years ago we went to Chicago to protest a war that we were lied into," he says. "Today in Denver we're here to protest a war that we were lied into." And with that, the band and Kramer proceed to "Kick Out the Jams," motherfucker!
Chad Fahnestock The teacher and the student.
Looking around the venue, there's a few empty seats but not many. Just noticed a sign on the railing advising that "rail jumpers will be ejected!" Holy shit! They just kicked into "Killing in the Name," and the crowd is going absolutely bananas. As long as I live, I don't think I'll ever be able to exhume from my memory the experience of seeing (and hearing) an entire arena chanting along to refrain of "Killing in the Name" ("Fuck you! I won't do what you tell me!").
Chad Fahnestock The one and only Zach de la Rocha.
Looks like that was the last song. What a way to end the set. Everyone seems completely exhilarated as they exit the building, heading for their cars or preparing to join the march to the Pepsi Center, intent on making their voices heard -- all with the words of Rage still ringing in their ears: "What better place than here? What better time than now?"
Personal Bias: Don't really have any, really. I generally loathe rap metal, but I still have a soft spot for Rage Against the Machine.
Random Note: Eric Fuller from To Be Eaten was spotted in the front row pumping his fist during Rage's set and I ran into Tyler Campo from Cowboy Curse who was working as a volunteer at the ticket table.
By the Way: There was no need for that "rail jumpers" sign. This crowd was very notably restrained -- to that end, I'm sure that the fact that there was no beer for sale certainly helped account for that.