June 14, 2000: Rage Against The Machine in Greece - Tear gas, molotov cocktails and fights (VIDEO)

RATM, Rage Against the Machine in Athens on June 14, 2000.

The diary read June 14, 2000. Wednesday. The Petra Theatre was ready to welcome the concert event of the year. The legendary Rage Against The Machine, who at that time was mixing with their explosive sound and strongly politicised lyrics, were coming to our country for the first time in Petropolis.

And it was to be the last...

The "Time Machine" remembers when the RATM's upcoming visit was learned. In Athens and their concert at the Petra Theatre in Petropolis, the first thought that crossed everyone's mind was: "But the space is too small for such a concert".

The 8,000 released tickets disappeared in a few days, despite the steep price of 7,500 drachmas.

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A few months before they had released their third album, the legendary "The battle of Los Angeles" which was played non-stop in the rock bars of the time and the concert was planned as part of the album's promotion.

The suffocatingly packed Petra Theatre and rumours of fights

On Wednesday, June 14, 2000, the Petra Theatre was packed early. Rumours about the fights that would break out had been circulating since the previous days, but no one paid any attention.

In the idea that they would see Zack de la Rocha (vocals), Tom Morello (guitar), Tim Commerford (bass) and Brad Wilk (drums) up close, the ticket holders and thousands of others who couldn't find the magic ticket were determined to get into the concert anyway.

In order to accommodate so many thousands of people in a theatre with a smaller capacity, the stage had been moved towards the exit, facing the huge former quarry.

The people entered non-stop, not only from the entrance but also irregularly, from the paths of Mount Various, the mountain that dominates the suburbs of western Athens as well as cutting the barbed wire fences that separated the theatre from the street.

In the Petra Theatre there were at least 10,000 people, stuck like sardines to each other.

Explosive start

The concert was opened quite early by Tsopana Rave and Less than Human. Around 9:30 pm Poikilo was shaken: the RATM appeared on stage, setting the audience on fire with a cover of MC5's "Kick out the jams".

This particular song was played live but had not even been released since it was to be included on their next record, "Renegades", which they would present a few months later, in December 2000.

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The people never stopped coming in and they were all so crowded that they danced together, as one body.

The ground of the Petra Theatre was covered with fine soil, making all the spectators look like mummies from the dust. The water bottles that some were emptying into the crowd were too few to cool the crowd.

Of course, the band enjoyed the famous Greek audience, about which Tom Morello had heard so much.

Singer Jacques de La Rosa spoke between songs about the campaign to support Mumia Abu Jamal, the African-American journalist and member of the Black Panthers who has been in prison since 1981.

The first explosions outside the theatre

While they had been playing for a little over an hour, the first explosions were heard outside the Petra Theatre. Within seconds the concert was stopped and the band fled, having apparently prepared beforehand for the possibility of incidents.

The crowd seemed bewildered, at first no one wanted to believe that the concert was over. Soon everyone started crying from the tear gas that flooded the place.

The chemicals that fell were so many, that they were felt all the way to the central square of Petroupoli, in a radius of about one kilometer from the Petra theare.

Those who managed to get out of the area, returned one by one to escape the tear gas , Molotov cocktails and the stone war that had started. On the road that leads to the theater dozens of fires were lit and vehicles were torched.

In total, six cars and six motorcycles were completely burnt, while serious damage was caused to the exterior of "TERRA PETRA", the cafeteria next to the theatre.

RATM, Rage Against the Machine in Athens on June 14, 2000.

The biggest concert that has ever been held at the Petras Theatre ended ingloriously. The thousands of people were walking down Petroupoleos Avenue surrounded by the MAT.

Despite its episodic ending, the concert went down in history for the following reason: Rage Against The Machine broke up a few months later.

After their second reunion in 2019, they had twice planned a tour in Europe, with rumors talking about passing through our country as well, but the first time the corona virus ruined their plans.

In 2022 the injury of Jacques de La Rosa in Chicago caused the cancellation of many concerts, including those in Europe.

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