“Save that shit for the streets!” declared Rage Against the Machine frontman Zack De La Rocha. He was reprimanding an overly aggressive crowd that forced the band to stop multiple times to restore order amidst the fans (as many as 2,000 gate crashers among them). The delays seemed to throw off the band’s rhythm a bit, though they were still able to play their explosive rap-rock with surgical precision. In fact, they sometimes seemed too focused on execution and not enough on expression. When they did let themselves explore a bit musically — as with the atmospheric interlude during “Bullet in the Head” and the funk grooves dropped into the outro of “Sleep Now in the Fire” — Rage Against the Machine reminded everybody just how good they can be. De La Rocha’s politics haven’t eroded a bit, either: as the set ended, he threatened that if Barack Obama won the White House but didn’t withdraw troops from Iraq, then he’d have a nation of angry, militant youths at his front door. Strong words from a strong band that inspired strong reactions, and as Saturday night’s show proved, sometimes that leads to anarchy.
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UPDATE: According to reports, medical personnel treated many people for bruises and dehydration as a result of the Rage Against the Machine show, but there were no serious injuries. Security reports that only two people were forcibly ejected from the festival because of violent behavior during the Rage show.