Review Summary: Live at the Grand Auditorium perfectly captures the energy of a Rage Against the Machine concert. This album shows why Rage is the perfect riot band.
Rage Against the Machine. The band that shut down Wall Street, whose name is associated with politically-charged lyrics and riots. Openly opposing the police, the government, and pretty much all that is wrong, their concerts are known to have extremely high energy. Live at the Grand Olympic Auditorium is a recording of the final two shows Rage Against the Machine played before their breakup in 2000.
Rage Against the Machine:
Zach de la Rocha - Vocals
Tom Morello - Guitar
Tim Commerford - Bass
Brad Wilk - Drums
Similar to almost every live album released, the first thing you hear is, of course, the crowd's screaming fading in. After a small guitar intro, the drums blast in and the band starts Bulls On Parade. The energy created by the band is so high, and the screaming audience in the background only helps to compliment this feeling. When de la Rocha screams, "What's up Los Angeles" during the intro, the crowd goes absolutely crazy.
The first four songs on the album keep up the same insane energy of the opening track. During the hit Killing in the Name, the audience sings the pre-chorus in the place of de la Rocha. Zach also changes up the second set of verses to an equally as catchy line. This song should definitely be heard and re-played like this, because I think it is an interesting improvement on the studio version.
Another major highlight of the album is Morello's abnormal guitar effects. I say abnormal because some of the sounds created by his guitar sound completely computer-generated, even though they are not. The guitar throughout the entirety of Calm Like a Bomb and the solo of Testify are prime examples. Of course, all these effects are expected, as Morello is the "guitar wizard."
Although there is an incredible amount of energy and crowd participation, a few tracks will seem incredibly bland. People of the Sun sounds extremely repetitive, with the same parts being repeated over and over. Also, Kick Out the Jams was a horrible choice for the setlist. There were so many better songs on Renegades that could have replaced it. Zach's singing seems like he is trying to scream while he raps, and it doesn't sound very good to the ear.
Although Born of a Broken Man and I'm Housin' are the two slowest tracks on the album, they provide a nice break for the audience and a good chance to really listen to Rage's musical ability. I'm Housin' is the perfect cover song, blending Zach's rapping with Morello's guitar effects.
Overall, this is a solid live show, and it really makes one want to go to a show and see Rage in person. Sadly the quality of the songs on this album is a little below average. The guitar and bass melt together at some points, which is very distracting. Also, personally, I would have rearranged the setlist a little bit. Some of the songs didn't flow into each other very nicely, but maybe that's just me.
It's hard to pick out the highlights of this album when almost every track was a single or hit at one point in time. However, solely because of the energy of the crowd during these two tracks, I would have to agree that Killing in the Name and Guerilla Radio are the two tracks you need to hear from this album.
I would definitely pick up this album. Although it is a live album, it pretty much is a compilation of Rage's greatest hits [minus a few tracks.] Though the album has a few lagging points, this is a great release, and worth a listen or two.