First Concert: Will Bridges
Raging at Rage Against the Machine at the long-departed South Park Meadows outback
Will BridgesCo-owner Antone’s, Arlyn Studios, Lamberts
Who: Rage Against the Machine, the Roots
When: Sept. 6, 1997
Where: South Park Meadows, Austin
How was it? Growing up here in Austin, I had been to other shows, but this was the first big one I remember being really excited about and going to on my own. I was 15 and I'm pretty sure somebody's mom dropped us off. I'd been a fan of Rage ever since the "Freedom" video got big on MTV. When Evil Empire came out, I rushed to Waterloo Records and listened to it nonstop. Then I got their first album and that's when I became a big fan.
Wu-Tang Clan was supposed to open, so I was bummed when they canceled last minute. Their replacement was the Roots, whom I was only vaguely familiar with at the time. Then Rage got onstage, Zack de la Rocha quickly introduced the band, and they launched into "People of the Sun." The energy level was a solid 11 for an hour and a half, and the crowd went nuts the entire time. It's still one of the best shows I've ever been to.
Whenever I see music that's really good and raw and loud and well-produced, I get really excited, and Rage was as good as it gets in all of those categories. The general draw toward wanting to be a part of those experiences and, eventually, to help create them for other people is what got me into running sound and booking bands and then later running my own clubs.