September 16 [10:00 EDT] -- So how tight was Sheriff William Weister's crackdown on fans at Friday's Rage Against The Machine show in George, Washington.
Well, while initial reports (including ours Monday morning) had 80 fans rounded up by the police, it looks like the figure was closer to 90. As previously reported (in "Rage Plays The Gorge With Beefed-Up Police Presence" from September 15 in the MTV News Gallery), Sheriff Weister (who had initially tried to block the show altogether) assigned 50 officers to patrol the venue, which is more than four times the normal number of police required for a concert at the Gorge Amphitheater.
The sheriff says he ordered the heavy duty police presence because of unruliness at a recent Lollapalooza show, and because of two fan deaths at a recent Phish concert (one due to a drug overdose and one due to a traffic accident). The sheriff also
heard from some other sheriffs that this particular show might be trouble.
On his way into the show, Rage guitarist Tom Morello (alerted to the increased police activity) called a local radio station from Rage's tour bus to warn fans headed for the show to be cool and careful.
Of course, Rage frontman Zack de la Rocha had more than a few things to say about the crackdown during the band's set.
"He has the nerve to call us violent when last year there were 80,000 cases of police brutality filed against departments all over the country," de la Rocha told the crowd. "This sheriff pig is poppin' off, poppin' off about how we're violent. Well, sh**, he belongs to the most violent gang in US history."[2MB QuickTime]
Sheriff Weister says he plans to discuss the Gorge's concert schedule with the venue's promoter, Universal Concerts.
The rage tour, with the Roots
and Atari Teenage Riot opening, plays Sacramento Tuesday.