By Thania Garcia
After 11 years of dormancy, including a pandemic-induced delay, Rage Against the Machine played to a sea of over 30,000 people at Alpine Valley Music Theater in Wisconsin Saturday evening.
Rage fans have been waiting for the band’s big reunion experience since it first announced this current tour back in 2019. The original plan was to start at a small venue near the border in El Paso, Texas, set to follow the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
During the window of the group’s two-year postponement, the list of political frustrations in the United States has only expanded. Rage unleashed that unrest throughout its performance. In reaction to the Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the band projected a declaration as Zack de La Rocha uttered groans and murmured calls for freedom.
“Forced birth in a country that is the only wealthy country in the world without any guaranteed paid parental leave at the national level. Forced birth in a country where Black birth-givers experience maternal mortality two to three times higher than that of white birth-givers. Forced birth in a country where gun violence is the number one cause of death among children and teenagers.” And to conclude: “Abort the Supreme Court.”
Shortly after the news of the Roe reversal was disclosed on June 24, Rage announced that the $475,000 in ticket sales from the Alpine show, as well as two shows at the United Center in Chicago, would go towards reproductive rights organizations in Wisconsin and Illinois.
Throughout its hour-and-a-half-long set, Rage played the best of its discography and treated fans to a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “The Ghost of Tom Joad” from its 2000 cover album “Renegades.” It’s been 23 years since Rage released original music. Until Saturday night’s show, the group had not performed since 2011.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the show was dialogue-free, with the group occasionally leaving the stage as projections of gruesome scenes played behind them. Scenes included an El Paso police car on fire, a Border Patrol agent posing with an agitated German Shepherd and a blindfolded boy smashing an ICE agent piñata.
The band will continue its reunion tour through April of next year with stops in 12 countries.