Blast from the past

Almost 25 years ago, I remember sitting at the back of a bus on a long trip back to somewhere with some other tweenage friends, listening to each other’s Walkmans.

Someone said, “hey, check this out …”, I put the earbuds in my ears, and they proceeded to play me the most audacious music I’d ever heard.

Last night at Spark Arena I was back on that bus. And back in my teenage bedroom rocking out on my guitar. And on all the car trips and big nights out we spent listening to that music.

It was two hours of sweet, sweet nolstalgia.

Prophets of Rage on stage at Spark Arena, Auckland, New Zealand

In case you haven’t guessed already, the band was Prophets of Rage – who are essentially Rage Against the Machine minus Zach de la Rocha (and Audioslave minus Chris Cornell)  … with rappers Chuck D of Public Enemy and B-Real from Cypress Hill taking over the the mics.

The band members’ respective back catalogues, combined with the new material they’d recorded together as Prophets, made for a stellar setlist:

Prophets of Rage Setlist Spark Arena, Auckland, New Zealand 2018

In one of the evening’s highlights, guitarist Tom Morello welcomed his “favourite Kiwi” – Serj Tankian, from System of a Down – on-stage to sing Audioslave’s “Like a Stone”.

Finally, B-Real said: “We’re living in dangerous times, and dangerous times call for the most dangerous song in the world …”

Shortly after came that infamous dropped-D chord opening I’d first heard on the back of the bus all those years ago: “Killing in the Name”.

The crowd ‘sang’ every word … albeit slightly caught out by the updated lyric: “Some of those who hold office, are the same who burn crosses”.

There were no changes to the final verse. The audience was still adamant we wouldn’t “do you what you tell me”.

And so concluded the best gig I’ve been to in a long while.