After twice scheduling -- and twice canceling -- a string of shows at San Francisco's Fillmore, where they intended to record their upcoming live album, Rage Against the Machine
decided instead to stick close to home for the project. Last night the band played the first of two sold-out concerts at the Olympic Grand Auditorium in downtown Los Angeles, where they were joined onstage by members of Cypress Hill
Video cameras and microphones were visible just about everywhere as the quartet blazed through fifteen songs -- somewhat long by Rage standards -- with singer Zack de la Rocha never mentioning the live recording. The show, which was held at a former boxing arena, included tracks from all three of the band's albums, plus a few cover songs.
The quartet opened at 9:30 p.m. with their customized take on the MC5
's "Kick Out the Jams," followed by "Bulls On Parade" and "Testify." Later, they played a tripped-out version of Cypress Hill's 1991 track "How I Could Just Kill a Man" with B-Real and Sen Dog joining in on vocals.
Rage did skip their winning version of Bruce Springsteen
's "The Ghost of Tom Joad," which they usually play, and they passed on "Calm Like a Bomb," a track from last year's The Battle of Los Angeles
, even though it was included on guitarist Tom Morello's set list. Instead, they opted for two hip-hop covers, EPMD's "I'm Housin'" and DJ Eric B. and Rakim's "Microphone Fiend." The show closed with "War Within a Breath," and a blistering version of "Killing in the Name" (from Rage's 1994 debut album), which sent the mosh pit into a frenzy.
Local Latin rock/hip-hop crew Ozomatli
, who also played with Rage outside the Democratic Convention last month, opened the night. They performed "Como Ves" and "O Le Le" from their 1998 debut album, as well as plenty of new songs, ending with their traditional conga line, which wound through the crowd and out into the lobby.
A number of social, religious and political organizations set up camp on the sidewalk that surrounded the venue, with volunteers distributing pamphlets and shouting slogans. There were also numerous posters and banners inside the auditorium in support of death row prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, among other causes and issues championed by Rage.
Revelers backstage after the show included Cult
singer Ian Astbury and Anthrax
guitarist Scott Ian. One dollar from each of the $25 tickets will be donated to charity.
Written by TROY J. AUGUSTO for RollingStone.com News