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Thursday, September 11, 1997 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Judge Gives Go-Ahead For Rage Concert Tomorrow At The Gorge

Yakima Herald-Republic

Rage Against The Machine is free to do just that.

So says Grant County Superior Court Judge Ken Jorgensen, who rejected a move yesterday to block the controversial Los Angeles band from playing the Gorge Amphitheater tomorrow.

After more than three hours of debate, Jorgensen denied the block sought by Sheriff Bill Wiester against a group known nationally for its politically charged performances.

Wiester claimed that amphitheater operator Universal Concerts has failed to secure alternative rock shows at the Gorge and that the Rage concert could lead to disorderly behavior and unsafe conditions.

But Jorgensen didn't believe that would necessarily be the case tomorrow night for Rage Against The Machine, said Grant County Commissioner Maureen Fancher.

"He believed it would be granting an injunction on something that could (or could not) happen," she said. "The sheriff's idea was to get out in front of it and prevent it from happening."

John VanZeebroeck, vice president of operations for promoter Universal Concerts, defended the company's crowd-control efforts.

"Universal will work with the county and the sheriff to solve these issues," he said after the hearing.

In a press statement after the decision, Wiester said his department can't guarantee safety for concert patrons, officers, nearby citizens and Gorge employees.

"(The Sheriff's Office) will be asking a number of law-enforcement agencies for mutual aid to assist at the Gorge concert (tomorrow night)," he said.

Information from Reuters is included in this report.

Copyright (c) 1997 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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