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Raging during the Rage set: Here's what happened (Updated 3:30 p.m.)

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Recapping the nastiest moments Lollapalooza has yet witnessed during its four years as a reinvented destination festival in Grant Park, here's what happened as Rage Against the Machine performed in the headlining slot at the southern end of Hutchinson Field Saturday night, pieced together by myself and the Sun-Times freelancers on the scene, fellow reporter and critic Anders Smith Lindall and photographer Marty Perez, from what we saw ourselves and two dozen interviews with security and medical personnel and eyewitnesses.

Rage-crowd#1

Lolla crowd (8-2-08)

Lolla crowd (8-2-08)

Bodies pulled from the front of the stage during the set by Rage Against the Machine. A C3 staffer in the photo pit with the photographers and S3 Security personnel tried to discourage shots of the turbulence in the crowd, at one point grabbing a photographer's lens and redirecting it. Photos by Marty Perez for the Sun-Times

Hardcore Rage fans began positioning themselves near the AT&T Stage even before the start of Lupe Fiasco's set at 6:30 p.m., and numerous casualties from heat and exhaustion were passed over the barricade in front of the stage during the long wait.

By the time the wailing sirens signaled the start of Rage's set at 8:30, things were ready to boil over, and they did.

The crowd surged forward with a violent energy unusual even for a high-octane show such as this: Several longtime photographers and veteran security guards used to the wild ways of the pit said it was as bad as they've ever seen it, and they estimated that more than three dozen people in danger of being crushed were hauled over the barricades to safety during the first two Rage songs, "Testify" and "Bulls on Parade."

Sun-Times freelance photographer Perez emerged battered and bruised after the three songs the press was allowed to photograph, and in the chaos of one body coming over the security barrier, he lost a $2,000 lens.

After that third song, "People of the Sun," singer Zack de la Rocha started urging the crowd to calm down and "please take four, five, six steps back."

"We got enough problems out there in the streets with these f---ed up politicians and cops. Save that s--- for the streets," he said.

The set resumed, but things broke down again for nearly five minutes after "Know Your Enemy," with de la Rocha saying Rage would have to stop its performance unless people calmed downed immediately.

"We've already had a few people hurt. Unless we get together and help, we're going to cut it short."

The long breather that followed seemed to somewhat subdue the more boneheaded elements of the crowd, and the band started to play again, with de la Rocha announcing, "This one is called 'Bullet In Your Head.'"

Within those first four songs, security was reporting two fans forcibly ejected, with one of them riding away in a squad car. Medical personnel said they were treating "a lot" of people for bruises and dehydration but could not give an exact number.

As Rage performed inside the park, a huge crowd of people listened while standing or sitting on the grass across Columbus Drive; police and security were not allowing anyone on the eastern side of the street closest to the park.

Throughout the day, countless people jumped the fences to gain free admittance; the Sun-Times photographed some of them, reports were plentiful from many other journalists on the scene and Perez even saw a whole family--a man, a woman and their toddler--jump the fence before the Rage set.

Shortly before 9:30 p.m., about two-thirds of the way through Rage's show, a crowd that one festival security guard said was "500, minimum; easily 500, probably a lot more" and another said was "2,000, no doubt about it" formed a flying wedge that ran across Columbus Drive and through a guarded access gate south of Balbo Drive.

NEW: Just found this image of the surge (or the tail end of it) from Getty Images, posted on Idolator.com.

The opening for this mass surge came when the gate opened to allow the CTA bus that had been parked in that area to leave. Throughout the festival, buses were parked around the perimeter with their engines idling to provide cooling stations for the overheated concertgoers, even though Saturday was the most pleasant day Lollapalooza has yet witnessed, with a high of 80 degrees. As the bus pulled out, people stormed in, overwhelming security guarding the gate.

New details emerging from additional reporting onsite Sunday morning:

According to security personnel who were on the scene, the incident happened some time after the CTA bus pulled out. What prompted it was a C3 staffer ordering security to open the access gate to ease a bottleneck in the crowd already in the park. Concertgoers were jammed on a stairway leading down to Hutchinson Field, and some wanted to leave the crowd.

Security initially resisted opening the gate, believing "It was a bad call, bad judgment" by the C3 employee to open an access point that was not supposed to be unlocked until after Rage's performance ended. But when the C3 staffer insisted, security complied, and as people began to leave Grant Park, the crowd across the street seized the moment: "They bum-rushed the gate like they were in Korea protesting the Olympics."

The flying wedge of gate crashers entered the park and broke into two contingents, one simply rushing down the stairs and into the field and another hopping a high fence to gain access to the field through the V.I.P. areas and luxury cabanas.

Below: Scene of the crime on Sunday morning: The camera is positioned in front of the access gate that was crashed; the path leads toward the stairs on the right down to Hutchinson Field. On the left in the foreground is a small wooden fence that half of the gate crashers stormed over; on the left in the distance are the V.I.P. cabanas that the rest of the uninvited guests decided to visit. Photo by Anders Smith Lindall

fence

One eyewitness said several police officers were near the gate and initially tried to stop the flood of crashers. One officer was struck by a gate crasher, and at that point, his supervisor ordered officers out of the park and onto Columbus Drive.

At another point during the show, security personnel said, a similar surge of fans--either gate-crashers (most likely) or suddenly over-excited concertgoers who had tired of Wilco's set in the north--stormed past Buckingham Fountain in the center of the park and rushed onto Hutchinson Field en masse in the south.

During both of these crowd surges, people in the already packed field "got trampled," shoved and knocked over as the newcomers stormed in.

On his way south from the Wilco show, Lindall witnessed the surge from the bus gate and ran toward the gate to see what was happening. "You've got to get out of here; they're running over people," he was told by a security guard.

Shortly after the surge, I interviewed several people who had witnessed it, including a second security worker and a freelance photographer who shot it all and showed me dozens of images of the incident from start to finish. (Time Out Chicago has some images of the aftermath and more reporting posted here. The Windy Citizen has another report here.)

The influx of non-paying customers through the gate was only stopped after about 10 minutes when 10 Chicago Police officers and two ranking officials all appeared on horseback. "The horses scared everybody and finally it stopped so we could close the gate," a security guard said.

"It took horses and trucks to close this," another added.

Numerous police vehicles also rushed to the trouble spot, and Columbus Drive was sealed off.

By 9:45 p.m., the situation on Columbus was once again in control. To their credit, police did not hassle the remaining crowd of about 500 people on the western side of the street who continued to listen to Rage from that distance.

Speaking to the crowd late in the set, de la Rocha showed a much more qualified support for Barack Obama than is otherwise in evidence at Lollapalooza. According to the local blog Windy Citizen.com, de la Rocha said, "We know brother Obama. But I tell you what, if he comes to power come November and doesn't start pulling troops out of Afghanistan, I know a lot of people who are gonna stand up and burn down every office of [the] Senate."

Once the music stopped, the mass exodus of 75,000 from the park once Rage and Wilco finished by the 10 p.m. curfew seemed to take place with no major incidents.

None of the publicists for promoters or key production people with C3 Presents could be found onsite during or after the Rage performance to comment, but the Chicago Tribune is reporting that a security official with concert promoters C3 Presents said there were no major problems: "A lot of people want to see this band. You can't really blame them for wanting to get into the show. But it wasn't anything we couldn't handle."

Sunday morning, the primary promoter with C3 Presents, Charlie Jones, could not be reached because his voice mail was full and not accepting new messages. C3 publicist Shelby Meade also could not be reached for comment.

New: The response from promoters C3 Presents

Reached onsite Sunday morning and asked about the events on Saturday, Lollapalooza spokesperson Shelby Meade said, "The weather's great."

Questioned specifically about the gate-crashing, Meade added: "Things happen. The police handled it beautifully. There were many, many less than you said... It was inaccurate."

Asked if additional security measures would be taken Sunday to prevent further gate-crashing incidents, Meade said: "The police have handled it beautifully. You're going to have some of those things happen but we're all working beautifully between the city and our production, so it's all actually run smooth. Which is cool. Everyone has been working well together."

Meade did not provide specifics for concertgoers given emergency medical treatment onsite, but said fewer were treated Saturday than on Friday.

"The weather's great, which keeps everything to really--that's why it's fewer, you know, last night, 'cause you don't have as many people overheating. We had less than Friday. I don't have exact numbers."

Questioned by Sun-Times freelancer Anders Smith Lindall about the decision by a C3 staffer to open the access gate early, Meade said: "We opened the doors. To allow for flow to come out, we opened these doors, and they just came in. People need to exit, so we opened some of the doors, and they decided to invite themselves in. It's not like they crashed.

"We always have access. We did it with Radiohead. We opened it up to allow traffic flow out. 'Cause normally you come in and [unintelligible], but you have to open some of the exit doors to allow flow, so--but everybody was there, so it was OK. It was fine."

New numbers on medical treatment, updated 1:20 p.m.

Contacted for official comment, management of Safety Service Systems (or S3, the company that handles event security for Lollapalooza and is widely respected throughout Chicago as the class of such providers) referred inquiries to Lolla spokesperson Meade.

The festival's First Aid provider, Medical and Safety Engineering, Inc. (MASE) estimated that at least 40 concertgoers were transported to area hospitals yesterday. MASE owner Jake Willens said he believed about 30 concertgoers were similarly transported on Friday.

While the First Aid tents saw few sick or injured attendees in the early part of Saturday, "from 8 to 10 last night, we got served," Willens said. Rage Against the Machine took the stage at 8:30.

"We had six ambulances and they ran non-stop" to hospitals, Willens said. Most of those were "lower extremity injuries" such as twisted or broken feet, ankles, legs and knees that happened people were stepped on by surging crowds or in mosh pits. A nurse recoiled when she told of treating an open fracture last night; "the bone was sticking out," she said.

Even so, Willens said, the number of serious injuries and illnesses his crew has treated this year aren't out of line with previous Lollapaloozas, and certain maladies (such as drug overdoses) have been less frequent so far.

But the weekend's not over. "Every year Sunday is the worst," Willens said. "It doesn't matter what band they put in here. People get to Sunday and they want to get their last partying in."

New numbers on arrests: Updated 3:30 p.m.

Chicago Police Department spokeswoman Monique Bond reports: "Six arrests on Friday, seven Saturday. They're probably disorderly conduct. They're nothing major."

Did you photograph or witness the crowd surge or any of the injuries during the Rage Against the Machine set? Send your pictures and comments to jimdero@jimdero.com or post them here.

More images from the photo pit at the front of the stage during the set by Rage Against the Machine. Photos by Marty Perez for the Sun-Times

Lolla crowd (8-2-08)

Lolla crowd (8-2-08)

Lolla crowd (8-2-08)

Lolla crowd (8-2-08)

Below: A more cheerful moment in the crowd during the hours leading up to Rage Against the Machine.

Lolla crowd (8-2-08)

Below: Fans after the show. The shirt's inscription reads "Rage Against The Machine--The Battle of Chicago."

Lolla crowd (8-2-08)

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40 Comments

welp, my son dragged me to Lolla and I have to say it was great checking out all the new bands. But the Rage show was a bit out of hand. The suburban youngsters were all driven to out of control, rush the stage, pushing and shoving that i've never scene. I was out the World Series of Rock back in 1977 for ELP and the rolling stones when Flipside sold 140,000 tickets and scammed the city of chicago. this rage concert reminds me of the tud nugent show at the aragon brawlroom in 1974. lots of people getting the sh*t kicked out by the bouncers if you dare got up out of your seat to move closer to the stage. the rage concert was just as scary...it of control suburban kids not thinking very well. memeorable to say the least. bands like Explosions, Battles, Dr Dog, Gutter Twins. Never heard of these guys before. I still enjoy my bands. But fun discovering all this new stuff out there. good job lola and chicago. everything went well except fo rwhat i mentioned.

Just looking at the picture of Jim DeRogatis explains it all, I think his negative outlook reflects that he had to cover Rage and was unable to see Wilco (sorry about your friends lens, that is really sad and moving). For anyone who was not there or has never been to a Rage show before the crowd was pretty good (this wasn't AC/DC were people are getting crushed to death). I only saw one bonehead (you know the guy who pushes everyone out of his way before the show starts to get to the front). Having been to many shows in the past, including Rage, the biggest difference was the high number of petite girls and Rage first timers that were mixed too close to the stage before the set started. They were the biggest problem (advice: in the future start at the perimeter and work your way in to your tolerance level). Essentially the show was stopped a couple of times at the beginning to get them out (Rage did a great job handling the situation). High octane energy, unity, and excitement: yes "violence": what? People were jumping up and down with fists in the air not at one another. The show was great, Rage sounded awesome, don't believe the media.

NPG, you are so wrong. I was positioned up front and it was scary. The potential for serious injury was overwhelming and we can be grateful that it didn't develop into a tragedy. The crowd was well behaved in the sense that there was no deliberate violence, but the crush was truly dangerous, and people got hurt, no question.

NPG, being a fan is one thing but blindness towards the obvious is perversely above and beyond.

I was one of the people that got injured. I got knocked out by a mad elbow or shoulder or head or knee at the end of the third song. I was dazed for most of the fourth song but then the adrenaline kicked in. I was back on my feet by the fifth and jumped back in later. It was still dangerous but it wasn't as violent because people weren't pushing so hard to get to the front. It wasn't until after the show that I got a mind-splitting headache and I got so dizzy I had to lie down against a building a few times on my way to the train station. Despite getting hurt and losing all the stuff I had on me except my cell phone, I still contend that it was among the greatest experiences of my life.

Best concert ever. Rage Lollapalooza 08 will never leave my memory. I was with my girl just left of the sound stage and as soon as testify started I had to get her out of there(she couldn't breathe) I had her in one arm and plowing through people with my other(who thought I was moshin with them LOL) I was able to get to a tower speaker about 500 feet from stage where it was calmer. We still rocked out there and both of us had a blast.

I was standing by the fence you show crushed.Police were preventing fans from going down the stairs.Suddenly a group ran past us nearly trampling a few.we pushed the fence to get out of the way.I saw no one hurt.Horses and cars moved in quickly to seal the fence.Total breach much less than 500

Screw Rage. They should change their name to "Rage Against Nothing."
All they do is cater a false sense of revolution to impressionable suburban boneheads. I guarantee each and every one of those band members is as much a capitalist consumer as the next guy.

Jim writes...

Did you photograph or witness the crowd surge

If a picture's worth a thousand words, this video's worth at least a thousand pictures...

Video medley from the front row of Rage at Lollapalooza '08

NPG, you must of been standing way in the back because the bruises I have are from being smushed against hundreds of people. I could not move my arms or re-situate. But truthfully, it was sooo worth it. I am sorry for those that got hurt though

I agree with NPG on the fact that there were a lot of young girls in the front row. Rage is know for being a heavy band and i don't think 100 girls should be there, I'm a 170 man and i know better than to be up front. But that also doesn't mean that the jerks that plowed there way to the front had a right to do that. Same thing happened at NIN the 3rd night. About 100 asses plowed through everyone to get to the front.

you guys are pussys- I was there front and center and its the tamest rage show ive been to yet - if you are going to a rage show- be able to stand your grownd

danny c's comment is a good example of the mentality of a common Rage fan. Be able to stand your ground? Since when is it a battle? Why must people be prepared to defend themselves against others at a rock concert?

Sure, Rage talks about atrocities and violence, but do they approve of it? What would a Rage fan hurting another Rage fan do for 'the cause'?

I suppose I should be ready to 'stand my grownd [sic]' if I go to see an anti-war movie because people should take thier anger and frustration towards the power that be out on each other?

You, like so many other Rage fans, are a moron and do not get it at all.

Wow. Trash80, you're a sad little human being. Of course everyone in this country's a consumer. You are too, so get the hell off your high horse. It's the fight against it that matters. Exactly what, if anything, are you doing to make things better? Did you go to a protest rally? Hm? Well that's nice. Someone needs to deflate your huge fucking ego.

And stop typing your handle in "leet speak."

You're too old. Retire!

whistle.. it's people like you who don't understand what you're in for. If you go to a Rage concert, Yeah it's gonna get wild, it's gonna be intense and if you're stupid enough to go there in the front and not 'hold your ground' then yes.. getting crushed is most definitely an option.

Rage is not for the feint of heart.. so for those whining, go hide in your homes and hope it's safe.. while Rage and others inspire a justice and transparency needed in this politically corrupt era.

By the way, the sun-times article and most of Derogatis' coverage was mostly about any 'bad' that happened, and way too little about the good. Get some real representation, and do a better job, this is pathetic.

Keep rocking out Rage. The naysayers will be swallowed.

Nobody at rage shows is intentionally injuring other fans! Yes, bodies are smashing into each other hard and often but that is heavy metal music for you. I am a huge fan of jambands and groovy shows, but Rage was a totally different energy than Phish ever was and it was fantastic. With 50000 fans there of course there will be injuries. People were not punching and stabbing people here however; Moshing is fun- but its not for little people or those without a pair. For those that can't handle it, Hannah Montana is going on tour soon, u can prob pick up tix for that hahahahaa.

It's hard to take someone's point into consideration who is so apparently on either side. Being a moderate RATM fan (honestly i didn't know every song). I was still aware what having a massive amount of people within a proportionally small area with a energetic band and big following would ensue. I would say that 75% of the crowd at the beginning belonged nowhere near the dense mass of fans. Personally i have been to a number of hardcore, metal, and punk shows/festivals and to me the only difference between this crowd and a 'bury your dead' show, is about 50,000 more people and a lot less black eyes.
About the front, well it was pretty horrible to be honest. It was hot, humid, feet and people were being crushed, and there was no room. But how is that not to be expected? If you don't want to sacrifice your comfort to be close to the stage, you can have a wonderful experience 100 yards back. I know i did for a lot of other bands, but when there is that energy pumping through the center stage, its hard to not enjoy it regardless of discomfort.

I'm sure the fans who passed out or broke a bone are enjoying their war scars and RATM Lolla 08' stories, they deserved them!
:)

I came from Toronto, Canada to see Rage and after Radiohead on Friday I lined up for the Rage show the next day...I started lining up at 11pm on the Friday...Along with a whole bunch of other people we were at the front of the AT&T stage all day with plenty of water and supplies and by the end of the day I had been up for 44 hours without sleep

A couple of the people had seen Rage at Rock the Bells or Coachella last year, but they said it had never been this bad...I myself have been in open field Slayer concerts among others, and was fine and had no problems...but 10 minutes after Lupe Fiasco went off stage it all began to get extremely ugly...thats was about 7:45 and the security gates were bending to the point where I was sure the barriers were going to break...every where people were screaming for help and a couple of people beside me on the gates had their ribs crack from the pressure (before Rage was on stage)...it was a constant struggle to find half an inch to inhail some air...at around 8pm this waterfall of people starting pouring over the security barriers to get out and it didnt cease until Rage finished...the security guards never got off the benches on the barriers...by 8:10 I noticed my friend beside me was purple because he was suffocating from being crushed so I had to be pulled out to get him out...If I had not got out he would have not been able to get out because we were in the front corner of the barricade...

After I got out and got him out I tried to get back up front, but ended up in a seriously heavy mosh pit that caused my glasses to fly off and be trampled...so for the rest of the show and heard Rage and was in front of the sound booth, but all I saw were blurrs...it was still amazing and completely worth it

$500.00 later I have new glasses and luckily I had prescription sunglasses in my hotel room so I could enjoy day 3 (NIN)...after all the bruising, extreme sunburns, and the shed blood, sweat, and tears, I would do it all again in a heart beat

I'm just waiting for the next North American tour date so I can make my travel arrangments and if there isn't another North American tour date next year I'll be heading to Europe for Rage

It is extremely disheartening to read posts that justify the carelessness of others during a rock concert.
Why should it be acceptable for non-paying watchers trample and push over ticket-paying patrons? Where did you guys grow up?
And since when did a musical show become some form of defiance from being a spoiled, suburban brat? Not happy w/ the way things are going? Then exercise your right to vote, or better yet--why don't you get involved in your local community to make things better? It all starts, and thereby, can end w/ you.

For all those posters above who support this insane behavior, I'm sure your parents are disappointed that you've only turned out half of what you could have become.

People getting hurt at a rock concert is a tragedy, for sure - but as some other have hinted, I don't think we're blaming the victim if we point out that the pit at a Rage concert is one of the most dangerous places in rock fandom. And it always has been. Back at their height only the most advanced and experienced thrashers even approached that pit at their live shows. I had friends who thrashed like crazy at NIN shows but would never go near a Rage pit! I don't mean to defend the whole scene - just pointing out an empirical fact. I imagine that there were fans up front who had never really experienced one (maybe younger fans?) - and had no idea what they were getting into. They shouldn't have been there, and made the whole experience a little worse. Fans, just accept the fact that some concerts will be dangerous and act accordingly, just like some kinds of weather are dangerous.

you guys gotta chill out and find a new outlet for your anger. i hear GWB is looking for a few good men. why don't you donate your body for the cause and go and kill some terrorists???

I was in the pit close on the left side and I didn't have any problems beside a sore knee on Sunday. I expected it to be WAY worse. All the poeple in all the crowd around me were very cool. They were very quick to help someone up if they fell down and quick to move away for people who needed to get out. In fact one guy lost his glasses during testify and people the all stopped and helped him find them. I can say I've been in way worse mosh pits before. There was no malicious intent from anyone that I saw. Everyone just wanted to see a legendary performance.....and they did.

RATM are a bunch of phonies. Bet they live in million-dollar mansions in LA when they aren't touring.

Rage is overrated, so is RATM!

The behavior of drunk fans and mob mentality, though dangerous and frightening, are not at the root of Saturday night's unfortunate situation. I've attended each Lollapalooza since its rebirth, and this has been the first at which I've felt concern for my safety. Worry struck me Friday afternoon as I first walked on to Hutchinson Field (well before Rage's Saturday night set); I saw that a key area for both watching the show and navigating one's way out of it had been closed off.

In previous years of the festival, the western hillside leading down to Hutchinson Field has served as a key area for the crowd to gather. By each nightfall, hundreds of fans found seats along the slope to watch the headliners. Those in the crowd below could easily walk up the stairway or wend through the crowd to access both the bathrooms and exits.

This year, instead of hundreds of fans, expensive VIP cabanas populated this hillside. With such a broad area of seating suddenly unavailable, displaced fans had to find somewhere else to watch the show. More importantly, cutting off the hillside created an instant bottleneck at the one stairway in that quadrant of the field. This was the stairway at which fans requested to be let out of the park on Saturday night.

Many looking for a good view of the stage chose to clog those stairs. Bottlenecks started by mid-afternoon as crowds took up residence on what should have been a clear path for safety's sake. I have clear recollections of security stopping such crowds from sitting on the stairs in the past, but this year, when it was most necessary, it seemed that no one intervened.

This article states that "Concertgoers were jammed on a stairway leading down to Hutchinson Field, and some wanted to leave the crowd." This is precisely what should be under scrutiny. Why were fans jammed on this stairway? Why did this situation develop this year and never before? It's easy, and rightful, to place blame on the shoulders of disorderly fans, but this situation at the stairs directly led to the gate opening and letting in the flood.

There are other factors that have led to my increased discontent with the festival's organization (such as easily-accessible sources of water shrinking each year), but setting up VIP areas that both block exits and steal space from the crowd astonishes me. I'm now hesitant to attend an event that I usually consider a summer necessity.

I'd love to compare aerial photos of the field from each year if anyone knows where some are available.

I loved the rage show until i fell into the section between the stage and the crowed when i was body surfing to killing in the name off. two police officers or security officers handcuffed me and took me to the side of the stage where i was kicked and choked i made a police report and went to the hospital where i found out that i had a broken rib but i cant do anything about it because i have no witnesses i know that some one out there had to have seen it happen and if you did i ask you to please help me do something about it thank you. my email is tioshnohek@live.com

I loved the rage show until i fell into the section between the stage and the crowed when i was body surfing to killing in the name off. two police officers or security officers handcuffed me and took me to the side of the stage where i was kicked and choked i made a police report and went to the hospital where i found out that i had a broken rib but i cant do anything about it because i have no witnesses i know that some one out there had to have seen it happen and if you did i ask you to please help me do something about it thank you. my email is tioshnohek@live.com

Alright, the bands name is 'rage against the machine' commonly called 'rage' they are a very aggresively charged rap metal band, playing to one of the biggest cities in the world at one of the most politically intense times in history, what did we expect to happen? of course people are going to get hurt, of course people are going to charge the gate, but thats not why I'm pissed. The media directly miss quoted zack. He did'nt suppourt obama, as a matter of fact, he did'nt suppourt any polotician at saturday's show. he did'nt say 'we know brother obama' he said 'we don't suppourt obama' and he also said that the current incarnate of the system had turned its back on us 'the democrates too' more or less he said it does'nt matter who gets office in novemeber, they'd better do as the people say or their going to have a lot of pissed of people to deal with.

ben says, "Alright, the bands name is 'rage against the machine' commonly called 'rage' they are a very aggresively charged rap metal band, playing to one of the biggest cities in the world at one of the most politically intense times in history. . ."

Thinking this is "one of the most politically intense times in history" is the kind of thing that can only be believed by someone with no awareness of events before his own existence or outside his own little sphere -- in other words, your average RATM fan.

you all are babies. in the words of our ex president "if its too hot, stay out of the kitchen" no one forced you idiots to go to the front of the stage. i stayed back a bit, i could see and hear fine and guess what!?!?! nothing happened to me. wake up chicago, quit being babies.

Hi There Mr. DeRogatis:
I just HAD to thank you for the article regarding R.A.T.M.
My husband had taken our 14 and 16 year old boys to Lollapalooza, it was a wonderful experience up until the R.A.T.M. concert. They waited for 8 hours to watch this group, needless to say we had some pretty dejected boys as my husband made an executive decision to leave the concert after three songs. My husband was really shaken up by what he saw. He was concerned for the safety of our boys. Our 14 and 16 year old did not realize the danger they were under until they read the article you wrote.
Thank you for confirming how crazy the situation truly was.
Thankfully, the Kanye West concert was the way to end their Lollapalooza experience.
They had enjoyed the entire weekend, regardless of their "overprotective" dad.
Hope you have an amazing day, and thanks again for affirming a decision that had to be made.
Cheers,N.C.

Hey,

I came from Toronto, Canada to see Rage and after Radiohead on Friday I lined up for the Rage show the next day...I started lining up at 11pm on the Friday...Along with a whole bunch of other people we were at the front of the AT&T stage all day with plenty of water and supplies and by the end of the day I had been up for 44 hours without sleep

A couple of the people had seen Rage at Rock the Bells or Coachella last year, but they said it had never been this bad...I myself have been in open field Slayer concerts among others, and was fine and had no problems...but 10 minutes after Lupe Fiasco went off stage it all began to get extremely ugly...thats was about 7:45 and the security gates were bending to the point where I was sure the barriers were going to break...every where people were screaming for help and a couple of people beside me on the gates had their ribs crack from the pressure (before Rage was on stage)...it was a constant struggle to find half an inch to inhail some air...at around 8pm this waterfall of people starting pouring over the security barriers to get out and it didnt cease until Rage finished...the security guards never got off the benches on the barriers...by 8:10 I noticed my friend beside me was purple because he was suffocating from being crushed so I had to be pulled out to get him out...If I had not got out he would have not been able to get out because we were in the front corner of the barricade...

After I got out and got him out I tried to get back up front, but ended up in a seriously heavy mosh pit that caused my glasses to fly off and be trampled...so for the rest of the show and heard Rage and was in front of the sound booth, but all I saw were blurrs...it was still amazing and completely worth it

$500.00 later I have new glasses and luckily I had prescription sunglasses in my hotel room so I could enjoy day 3 (NIN)...after all the bruising, extreme sunburns, and the shed blood, sweat, and tears, I would do it all again in a heart beat

I'm just waiting for the next North American tour date so I can make my travel arrangments and if there isn't another North American tour date next year I'll be heading to Europe for Rage


thanks
Mitch

your review of rage is complete garbage. last i checked it was ok to go to a concert to rock and have a good time. nobody gets the crowd more pumped and excited than rage. does that count for nothing in your book? meanwhile you and every other critic pump up wilco as if they are the best band in the world while nobody buys their albums. hope you had fun bobbing your head a little bit next to some coffee shop elitists while i was having one of the best moments of my concert going life at rage.

Mr. DeRogatis;

And THIS is our hope for tomorrow!~ [ I speak of course of the, "Rage
Against....crowd ]

But what frightens me even more is the fact (they) vote and serve on
juries!!!

That's scary; very scary!

Thank you and continued success,

Gabe Renzo
Dearborn Hts, MI 48127

well damn do i got a story to tell you. Me and 2 other friends flew in to chicago from dallas, tx for this festival mainly for radiohead and rage. but after finding out friday afternoon, 3 day passes were sold out and so were friday n sat passes. i was worried i wasnt going to be able to catch my reasons for coming. but we rand into some scalpers off of harrison and wabash sellin 3 day passes, we didnt know if they were legit or not, as the scalper claimed to have the hook up on them, but come saturday afternoon, supervisors at the gate pulled us aside and said our wristbands were counterfeits. we had got in and out friday, with no problems, but the supervisors told us they had so many fakes with the same number, that they caught on a little later than expected. so me and my 2 friends were shocked and pissed at the same time. we decided to go back to our hotel room to figure shit out. we then decided the least we can do is hear it across the street. so
come around 8pm we head back for grant park area, and see hundreds of people sitting across the street like we thought. we had brought a 24pk in a plastic bag and a couple of blunts for our entertainment. lol. so its 8:30pm, the sirens have begun. rage was about to take stage. so we're sittin with groups of thousands of people we didnt know. lots of them sayin they didnt get the chance to get tickets in time. testify comes on. crowd gets going. we see atleast 8 cops on horses, going up and down columbus near the at&t stage and many more on atvs. so right after know your enemy, securitys opens up a side exit to let a bus or some promoters leave, seconds after that. i see hundreds of people to my right start rushing towards it. and i didnt even think twice before i got up and grab my bag of beer and rushed for the fenced also, we knocked down a gate and then a fenced and i didnt even know if my friends got in until i spotted them running in after me. one
of my friends said a cop got knocked off his ass of the atv and another one was running people down on his atv. luckily we made it without any cops trackin us down. i would say atleast a thousand got in. but this running of the fence made my festival an even better experience. you know it was like meant to happen. anways i thought i would share my experience with you..

thanks. and go cowboys!

They're doing an MC5 imitation.

How revolutionary.

First of all, if I pay a ton of money for some concert, I expect to see it without risking my life. Those who posted here stating that "its Rage, deal with it" are cretins. Next time maybe I should bring a blade and stab the next fuck who pushes me? Then I can say they should have expected it? Fools.

Second, Rage is BS. How much money do they make? Do they give it away? Didnt think so. They go to the bank laughing at all you fools who think they are actually accomplishing something. Rage is a bunch of liars and hypocrites just like the politicians they sing about. Here is an example of their BS---a few years ago they made a big deal about going to Chiapas, Mexico to "help" the Zapatistas who were "rebelling" against the Mexican government. Yeah, right. They went down there YEARS AFTER the tensions had died down, when it was SAFE. Some of us were there, working, helping the people, and having to deal with the authorities years before Rage, the Indigo Dykes and all the rest decided it was their latest cause celebre. Of course, they havent done anything down there since then, they made their appearance and thats all they had to do to get street cred from their moronic fans.

You are all a bunch of brainwashed idiots. Go to hell, losers.


I'll make this very simple. For all you folks that are bitching and complaining about the adrenaline charged atmosphere that was created by 80 000+ of Rages closest friends..........news flash
That is what they do.......convey energy......and it is safe to say they are the best at what they do... and that is why you and I were there.

I got my ass handed to me, and couldn't have been happier!

This band has a following of fans that DO NOT know how to behave. Last year they trashed Alpine this year Lollapalooza. I hope that they are banned from playing anywhere in the future!! They are a security nightmare and not worth risking anyone's lives. Perhaps they should go back to being broken up...ohhh there is no money in that what I am saying!!! LOSERS!!

I find some of the above comments about the music of RATM and their fans extraordinarily childish.
However, as a musician and music teacher over the years i have attended hundreds of concerts and have experienced being in situations where the crowd movement has been dangerous. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the genre of music or the people listening to it. Put a huge number of people in a confined space, with minimal crowd control and put they thing they want to see at a certain distance away from them and the result is bound to be chaotic.
I have seen this happen at pop concerts, and sporting events - one in particular at my home city which ended in appalling tragedy. It is the organization of these events that needs looking into properly. I attended a festival in the UK in 2003 where a band called System of a Down were one of the main acts (yes, they are of the metal genre, and yes the crowd rushed forward to see them) but the lead vocalist was able to see how bad it was at the front and the band ceased to play and suggested to the crowd that if they did not calm down they would leave the stage. The crowd did calm, but it was a hot day and i did see a few people looking worse for wear after being so packed in near the front.
Finally I have to comment on the article itself- I came across it while researching an assignment I am putting together, and I will not be using it as a reference due to its disgracefully biased and sloppy attempt at journalism!

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This page contains a single entry by Jim DeRogatis published on August 3, 2008 1:49 PM.

Lollapalooza Day Two: On the scene with Anders Smith Lindall, updated 10:38 p.m. was the previous entry in this blog.

Lollapalooza Day Three: On the scene with Jim DeRogatis is the next entry in this blog.

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