Remembering the time Rage and the Beasties (almost) toured together 20 years ago

[Rage Against the Machine and the Beastie Boys on the same bill? Yes, it happened–or at least it was supposed to–and was scheduled for twenty summers ago. Contributor Gilles LeBlanc looks back on that the tour that never was. – AC]

August 2nd, 2000 was a day this ROCKthusiast had been looking forward to for a long time. It was supposed to be the ultimate amalgamation of music superpowers at the venue that held some of the most formative experiences ever for me – Molson Park in Barrie, Ontario for Rhyme and Reason.

Beastie Boys were continuing to ride high on the success of Hello Nasty two years following its release. No wonder the King Ad-Rock would later call it their best record in Beastie Boys Book. I had missed the last time the three MC’s and one DJ passed through my ’hood (at the same outdoor locale, with Biz Markie and Canadian hip-hop luminaries Choclair and Rascalz), but in a lot of ways was still recovering from when they brought down Molson Park as part of Lollapalooza 1994.

In the opposite corner was Rage Against the Machine, whose 1999 album The Battle of Los Angeles solidified them as rap metal’s most politically charged rabble-rousers. The group had become big enough to headline a free concert during the 2000 Democratic National Convention and could undoubtedly have been able to draw 30,000 people to Molson Park on their own; the 11-city Rhyme and Reason tour with Beastie Boys would have been the icing on an expletively-decorated cake.

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Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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