Rage Against The Machine‘s comeback tour has been considerably delayed by COVID but they finally got to take the stage again at the Alpine Music Theater in East troy Wisconsin on 9 July after 11 years away. Unsurprisingly, they are still one of the most powerful live bands on the planet.
While guitarist Tom Morello, drummer Brad Wilk and bassist Tim Commerford have remained musically active in the last decade with various live and recording projects – and playing together in Prophets Of Rage – little has been heard of vocalist Zack de la Rocha. The 19-song set proved he’s lost absolutely nothing of his intensity in the intervening years in a show that proves again RATM are an extremely difficult act to follow for live power.
Tom Morello used his two traditional Rage weapons of choice for most of the set; his mongrel ‘Arm The Homeless‘ guitar and ‘Sendero Luminoso’ Tele. But two more of his electric guitar collection were put to use too.
Rage also played their thunderous take on Bruce Springsteen’s The Ghost Of Tom Joad for the first time live since 2000, that saw Morello bring back his RATM armoury; a double-neck EDS-1275 with the six-string in drop D tuning.
Morello’s custom-made Ibanez Artstar hollowbody was also used for Guerilla Radio in the set. A red and black guitar that features onboard effects including wah, distortion and a treble / bass boost circuit.
The band have lost none of their political weight either; taking aim at the US Supreme Court’s overturning of the Roe Vs Wade and the constitutional right to abortion for millions of women in the USA with individual states now able to ban the procedure. Rage Against The Machine have donated $475,000 from tickets proceeds from the show and two shows in Chicago to reproductive rights organisations in Wisconsin and Illinois.