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Rage Against The Machine

Rage Against the Machine Rocks Capital One Arena – Even With Frontman Zach de la Rocha Sidelined With Injury

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WASHINGTON, DC (CelebrityAccess) – Thirty years after Rage Against the Machine (RATM) hit the scene, more than 20 years since the last studio album, and more than ten years since the dissident and iconic band saw a stage together, the foursome brought its weighty, aural proclamations to Capital One Arena on Tuesday (August 2). In today’s concert vista – marked by k-pop newcomers and anniversary celebrations, RATM stood above the rest and proved to be as ferocious and pertinent today as the day they hit the music scene.

The night was filled to the brim with fans who had waited years to catch the RATM reunion. During the 90-minute set, one of a two-night night stand in DC on their Public Service Announcement Tour, RATM sounded as if no time had passed since the band played last. The three members who have remained active in the industry (Audioslave and Prophets of Rage) – Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk provided the background stronghold as guitarist Tom Morello gave the audience exactly what they came for – the mesmerizing music notes that rise, fall and runneth over from his magic fingers and guitar.

Frontman Zack de la Rocha has been the missing piece throughout the years as he disappeared from the scene, but even an injury that kept him seated onstage all night could not contain his vocal attack and the passion behind it. While the band’s songs still get pits circling, running into one another, and heads banging, the lyrics written by de la Rocha make the band as relevant and vital today as in the early 90s.

Zach’s lyrics about resisting capitalism, calling the fat cats out, the prison and military industrial complexes seem potent today – especially being sung in the Nation’s capital. RATM was “woke” before it was a TikTok and Instagram catchphrase.

In their 1992 track “Killing in the Name, the band who isn’t afraid to take a political stance did so against police brutality and racism light years ahead of Black Matters Matter, which still resonated and brought the house down.

Sharing photos memorializing Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old boy shot dead in Cleveland by police as he played with a toy gun at a playground, Philando Castile, a 32-year-old school employee who was fatally shot during a traffic stop for trying to get the identification the officer demanded, and Brianna Griner, who was cuffed and lifted by her arms and legs before being placed into the back of a Hancock County, GA police car after a schizophrenic episode. She wasn’t belted in and fell out of the vehicle when the car was in motion. Griner died July 21 after spending a week in a coma.

The band has raised more than $345,000 for local charities through ticket sales to the two DC shows, and they used the arena jumbotron to broadcast images of local residents killed by police. The accompanying messages read, “They have declared perpetual war,” and another, “We must answer with permanent unrest.” In a direct hit to the US Supreme Court and overturning of Roe vs. Wade, the jumbotron read,


As de la Rocha asked the white, male, and unmasked crowd, “What better place than here? What better time than now?” I couldn’t have said it better myself. In 2022, RATM is more potent and poignant than they ever were.

As I perused the sweaty and exhausted crowd after the show, here are the remarks that I received.

Tom F. – “I thought the show was amazing, and after such a prolonged hiatus, it was worth the wait. The band was on their A-game, and you could see they gave it their all. Even Zach, with a busted foot, could keep up the energy and move the crowd. The audience was going bazerk and loved every minute of the show.”

Stephanie R. – “I thought I hated the Supreme Court BEFORE this show, but now? Now I will do more and say more and never be silent … all because of this band.”

Setlist – Public Service Announcement
People of the Sun
Bulls on Parade
Bullet in the Head
Take the Power Back
Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck) – with Run the Jewels
Guerrilla Radio
Down Rodeo
Know Your Enemy
Calm Like a Bomb
Sleep Now in the Fire
Born of a Broken Man
War Within a Breath
The Ghost of Tom Joad – (Bruce Springsteen cover)
Township Rebellion
Killing in the Name

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