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Live & Rare

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★★★★½
(57 Reviews)

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  • 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.”

    Posted on November 10, 2009