This album is so awesome… I find myself listening to it more than some of the other albums. Rage definitly knows how to put on a show… with Chuck D and then Zack reciting “Hadda Be Playin’ on the Jukebox”, a poem by Allen Ginsberg. Also, as expected from Zack during shows, there are clips of him speaking to the audience before some songs. A must have for a Rage fan!
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This is a great live disc of rage. It takes songs from three different concerts all of which are soundboard recordings. It captures what rage is all about with a cool inro to Bombtrack on Leonard Peltier and the U.S. involvement in Mexico before With Out a Face. It als captures the intensity of a rage show with Zacks screaming. If you really like Evil Empire or Battle of L.A. I would suggest finding a good bootleg since most songs are from the first cd.
This “official bootleg” is a telling compilation of various Rage concerts throughout the mid-90s and may represent the final phase of “old school” RATM. What do I mean by old school? From the beginning up until the Evil Empire days, Rage’s live concerts emphasized speech and wicked guitar improvisations. Oddly, this sense of adventurism faded out around the time BOLA was released… and it’s quite obvious too. The “Bullet in the Head” solo on this disc destroys the one on Grand Olympic Auditorium. “Zapata’s Blood” is a recognizable live track to any hardcore Rage fan and this may be the best performance of the song ever. The bonus demo cuts are pretty good, and “F*ck tha Police” is a wild ride. But the real treat is “Hadda be Playing on the Jukebox”, an 8 minute poem that tells a story by its guitar work alone.This CD may not be as accessible to Rage newbies as Grand Olympic Auditorium, but will be an instant classic to true fans.
“Live And Rare” is an import, so it’s pricier and harder to come by than Rage’s 2003 live album “Live At The Olympic Auditorium.” But I still prefer this C.D. to that one.
One advantage, to me, is that frontman Zach de la Rocha talks to the crowd more, here, than on “Live at the Olympic.” For instance, before track three begins, Zach tells the light man to get the spotlight out of his eye, then he gives a brief lecture to the crowd about the FBI conflicting with the American Indian Movement (and that Leonard Peltier was thrown in jail for “crimes he did not commit.”) Zach also encourages the audience members to write a letter or fill out a pamphlet and send it to “Dixie Crack Clinton” (and “fill that punk’s room full of mail”).
If, for some reason, you don’t like live songs, there are still the two rare studio songs at the end (“Greed” and “Clear The Lane”). Plus, the last four live songs (“Zapata’s Blood,” “Without A Face,” “Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox,” and “F The Police”) can’t be found on any other Rage album.
The first five live tracks, which taken from Rage’s self-titled debut, are all very powerful and great. Some moments are so emotional and urgent, they even make the studio songs seem tame. From the beeping guitar and bass notes to the wild, crazy guitar solo, “Bullet In The Head” is perfectly executed, and, I think, even better than the original! Plus, this song’s chorus sounds like it has some backing vocals from Tom Morello. “Settle For Nothing” isn’t quite as melodic and restrained as the studio song, but it is still performed very well. Thirdly, “Bombtrack” is played without a hitch. Tom pulls off the tempo change greatly and Zach’s rapping is as fluid, fast, and consistent (he is able to rant and rage throughout the whole song without even pausing to take a breath.) This is also the case on the two following songs. Plus, I didn’t realize this before, but “Take The Power Back” also features some great musicianship and trippy guitar work (so it must have been quite hard to perform this song live.) And track five, “Intro (Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos”) is actually the song “Freedom.” On here, Zach doesn’t just whisper “anger is a gift”…he yells it!
“Zapata’s Blood” begins with the crowd clapping rhythmically. Then Zach introduces a surprise guest (Chuck D. from Public Enemy), who comes out and raps over Tom’s wah-wah guitars. Zach also starts a chant of “Everything for everyone, and nothing for myself!”
Next, “Without A Face” begins with Zach comparing the Berlin wall to the wall that separates the U.S. and Mexico. He then explains that Rage wrote this song (which appears on their “Evil Empire” album) when they found out that 1,500 dead bodies have been found there. Zach, Tom, Tim, and Brad also perfectly execute this song.
With just one, repetitive guitar line, “Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox” is, musically, pretty simple. But this song was not written by RATM; this song (which features lyrics like “the CIA and Mafia are in cahoots”) was originally written by the poet Alan Ginsberg. It’s a long song, too, so props to Zach for memorizing the whole thing.
Next comes a cover of N.W.A.’s “F The Police.” It begins with Zach referring to the song as a “nice, friendly message,” and he then dedicates it to the Philadelphia police department. And, with angry rapping and hip-hop sound effects, it seems like Rage were almost meant to play this song.
The first of two b-sides at the end is “Darkness.” This song originally appeared on the “Crow” soundtrack. I’m a big Rage Against the Machine fan and even I’ll admit that this song isn’t that great. Fortunately the lyrics (which deal with governmental greed and lying) are very well written. The other rarity is “Clear The Lane,” which has beeping, wah-wah guitars, a grumbling bass, surprisingly calm vocals, and is really quite catchy.
So, “Live And Rare” is a great buy which is absolutely essential for all Rage Against the Machine fans. If you’re a diehard and you need another C.D. to listen to, and you don’t yet own this…what are you waiting for? This is a pricey but very highly recommended album. And, as aforementioned, you should at least get this for the two rare tracks (even though they aren’t Rage’s best songs, they’re required listening).
At the end of Rage Against the Machine’s “Battle of Mexico City” set closer, “Freedom,” the audience was brimming with adrenaline, and the band was pouring every ounce of energy they had into the last remaining seconds. The men with Deftones shirts, the women who looked like models, and the coloful teenagers knew however, that Rage was not done. They could see it and they could feel it. After an urgent guitar riff, Rage frontman Zack De La Rocha roared the word “Rock!” at the top of his lungs, proceeding to command “Go!” a number of times, and Rage was back in full effect. At the end of Rage’s encore, there was not a single body in the building gasping for air. It was electrifying, it was astonishing, it’s what Rage Against the Machine does best. Throughout their career, Rage Against the Machine has displayed an uncanny knack for pulling off stunning live shows. “Live & Rare” does a splendid job of capturing glimpses of Rage’s live shows over the course of their early years.1. Bullet In the Head: Superior to the studio version in every way. Contains one of the best and most eingmatic guitar solos you will ever hear.2. Settle for Nothing: It was songs like this that set the stage for the angst-driven anthems of domestic discontent that flood the airwaves nowadays. During this performance, no one would have been suprised if Zack had broken down and cried. It’s that emotional.3. Bombtrack: This track opens with a history lesson by Zack about the case of Leonard Peltier. From there, the track explodes and does not let up.4. Take the Power Back: Killer bass line, scolding of the American school system, enthusiastic crowd. What more could you ask for?5. Freedom: Not the one from the Battle of Mexico City. That would come much later, however, many Rage fans consider this track to be one of rage’s best live releases.6. Intro (Black Steel In the Hour of Chaos): Chuck D and Zack exchanging verses.7. Zapatas Blood: Picks up directly after Black Steel. Great interaction between Zack and the crowd.8. Without a Face: A studio version of this song would later appear on “Evil Empire.” It’s interesting hearing the crowds reaction to a song they have yet to hear. Starts off with Zack discussing facts about the Berlin Wall.9. Hadda Be Playing on the Jukebox: Musical interpretation of a poem with the same name. Very, very interesting.10. F*ck the Police: Excellent NWA cover.11. Darkness: Excellent studio track. From subdued to angry, angry to subdued. Nice ping-pong structure.12. Clear the Lane: What Rage is all about. The perfect prototype for Rage’s sound. P.S. Studio versions of “Bullet in the Head,” “Settle for Nothing,” “Bombtrack,” “Take the Power Back,” and “Freedom” can all be found on Rage’s self-titled debut. The studio version of “Without A Face” can be found on “Evil Empire.”