Rage Against The Machine Kicks Off Madison Square Garden Run: Recap, Photos & Videos
RATM began a five-show run at MSG on Monday night.
Almost all tours are highly anticipated by fans, but for a group that hasn’t been around for over a decade — especially one as explosive as Rage Against The Machine — the long-awaited arrival of their tour that was twice postponed due to the ongoing pandemic filled the venue with an instant, palpable energy.
If Zack de la Rocha had been able to jump around and fly across the stage as he usually does instead of sitting down due to his leg injury from earlier on in the tour, Madison Square Garden would have imploded at the first of their five-show run at the legendary venue in New York City. As it was, the venue came pretty close to doing just that as the band took the stage to “Public Service Announcement” and the opening notes of “Bombtrack” filled the arena. The band, bathed in red, tore into the song, letting the crowd know that they meant business.
For the next hour and a half, RATM barely took a breath during the 18-song set. They covered everything you would want to hear from “Bulls On Parade” to “Testify” to “Guerilla Radio,” while also getting in some other terrific songs like “Down Rodeo” and “Born Of A Broken Man.” Regardless of what song was played, the GA floor was in constant movement of mosh pits and crowd surfers.
Tom Morello barely stood still for any amount of time, jumping and gliding around the stage while playing the guitar like nobody else in the world can. One can only imagine how tired Brad Wilk was at the end of the night after playing the drums as hard as he does.
Tim Commerford is probably the calmest one on stage as he bops around holding down the lower end on the bass and helping with backing vocals. Watching de la Rocha right now, a man who has an unlimited amount of energy on stage, having to sit fairly still is tough. It must be so hard for him with his injury, but he was still kicking and pumping his fists and at times trying to jump on one leg because he just couldn’t contain himself.
The lighting design, while simple, is one of the best light shows happening right now for an arena gig. The giant screen behind the band mostly shows them during the songs and small interludes of beautifully filmed scenes dealing with policing and immigration. There were also a few messages on screen that were New York-centric, including how unarmed 18-year-old Raymond Chaluisant was murdered by a corrections officer just a few weeks ago during “Freedom.” de la Rocha also mentioned others who have lost their lives from interactions with the police including Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, and others who we know of and don’t know of during “Wake Up.”
When the Public Service Announcement Tour was announced for 2020, the idea of RATM touring the country leading up to the election was goosebump-inducing. The band has never shied away from political fights and that was truly going to be something memorable, but since the postponements, there were the Black Lives Matters protests, COVID-19, abortion rights, and many other social justice issues coming to the forefront. By touring in 2022, it feels just as important with the band always speaking up for those who do not have enough to survive day-to-day life and even donating some of the money from every show to local organizations to help feed those in need.
While de la Rocha will need time to heal to full be the showman he is, hopefully, Rage continues to add more tour dates to their schedule so even more fans have a chance to see them next year and beyond. The group could be seen flashing some quick smiles to one another, clearly loving their time on stage together.
If they do not add more dates, any Rage fan needs to make plans to see them on this tour while they still can. If their history is any indication, it’s never known if they will continue past what is planned at the moment. This show is easily one of the best happening right now in live music.
Opening the show was Run The Jewels, who began the show with “Call Ticketron” that starts with the line “Run the Jewels live at The Garden,” which El-P told the crowd they’d been waiting a long time to play at the venue. Along with Killer Mike, the duo never stopped moving on stage and really were the perfect opener for this tour. They had special guest Greg Nice come out for “ooh la la.”
Run The Jewels’ 45-minute set went by incredibly quickly and multiple times during the set El-P said how excited he was to play MSG having grown up in the city. There’s no such thing as a bad RTJ show, but this particular one had even a little more power than normal due to how happy they were to be in the venue.
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Rage Against the Machine at Madison Square Garden
- Public Service Announcement
- People of the Sun
- Bulls on Parade
- Bullet in the Head
- Take the Power Back
- Wake Up
- 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
- Township Rebellion
- Killing in the Name
- Don't Worry, Be Happy