music: Rage Against The Machine Tour Pops Off in Chicago

Photo: Justin Mohlman

For the first time in 11 years, Rage Against The Machine decided to hit the road for a tour. The 2022 “Public Service Announcement Tour” marks the band’s second reunion. The band consists of Zack de la Rocha (vocals), Tom Morello (guitar), Tim Commerford (bassist and backup vocals), and Brad Wilk (drums).

There was extra excitement leading up to the Chicago shows. Not only was this the band’s first stop back in the Chicagoland area in 14 years, but it was also one of the kickoff shows for the “Public Service Announcement Tour.” Rage Against The Machine played July 9 across the Wisconsin border at Alpine Valley before heading down to the United Center in Chicago for shows on July 11 and 12. The crowd was pumped because of the long wait and full of anticipation because no one knew what to expect.

It was also sort of a mini-homecoming show for the RATM. Guitarist Tom Morello grew up in Libertyville, IL, which is only 45 minutes outside of Chicago. He attended Libertyville High School, where his mom Mary Morello taught U.S. History. During his time at Libertyville, Morello met Adam Jones, the future guitarist for Tool, and formed the band the Electric Sheep.

Fast forward through his years at Harvard and moving to Los Angeles, Morello is now the frontman of the most influential bands in the world. From time to time, he still can be spotted around the Chicagoland area in his Chicago Cubs hat.

Run The Jewels

The hip-hop group Run The Jewels served as the opener for the Chicago shows. It made for a great pairing with Rage Against the Machine. The group is comprised of a duo of emcees, Killer Mike and El-P.

The 45-minute setlist just showed off the two’s lyricism and ability to play off each other. Both were very active, speaking to and interacting with the crowd. Their performance elevated the United Center’s energy level. There were plenty of RTJ fans in the Chicago audience that knew all the lyrics.

Run The Jewels Setlist

  1. Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)
  2. yankee and the brave
  3. Blockbuster Night Part 1
  4. ooh la la
  5. Oh My Darling Don’t Cry
  6. Run the Jewels
  7. Legend Has It
  8. JU$T
  9. holy calamafuck
  10. Nobody Speak (DJ Shadow cover)
  11. Walking in the Snow
  12. a few words for the firing squad

Rage Against The Machine

The moment the band hit the stage, the front of the floor section opened up and started a small mosh pit. The whole crowd began head banging and arm-pumping, which lasted most of the night.

Rage Against The Machine
Photo: Matt Berklan/On Tap Sports Net

Rage Against The Machine opened up with “Bombtrack” as the words “Fear Is Your Only God” lit up on the LED screen behind them. de la Rocha had to perform the whole night sitting on an equipment storage case as he had injured his foot during “Bullet In The Head” the night before. But he had no problem powering through the Tuesday night show. Even seated, he was rocking out with his entire body minus his injured foot.

Aside from a few video breaks for equipment switchouts, the band played straight through the set. The video breaks featured quotes and imagery of the band’s well-known political views.

Rage Against The Machine Supreme Court
Photo: Matt Berklan/On Tap Sports Net

The man that stole the show was Tom Morello. With Zack de la Rocha seat-ridden, the stage was wide open. Right when the band got on stage, Morello fist bumped de La Rocha with a look of “I got you” on his face. He did not disappoint.

Morello was dancing and jumping all around through the set. His guitar was just part of his body with which the way he moved. Morello brought an extra intensity when he wailed through his solos. Per usual, the RATM frontman switched through multiple guitars, including his infamous “Arm The Homeless” guitar and a double-necked axe.

As the band played classics including “People of the Sun,” “Guerrilla Radio,” and “Sleep Now in the Fire,” the crowd grew rowdier. During “Bulls On Parade,” some mostly empty beer cups flew threw the air and fans started to periodically crowd surf. By the last four songs, the mosh pit had grown to encompass almost all of the front third of the floor seats. After “Freedom,” de la Rocha shouted out how insane the crowds in Chicago had been both nights. “Killing In The Name Of” capped the night with the crowd shouting every lyric.

The band bowed out and carried de la Rocha off in his chair.

Rage Against The Machine Chicago
Photo: Matt Berklan/On Tap Sports Net
Zack de la Rocha Helped Off Stage
Photo: Matt Berklan/On Tap Sports Net

Rage Against The Machine Setlist

  1. Bombtrack
  2. People of the Sun
  3. Bulls on Parade
  4. Bullet in the Head
  5. Testify
  6. No Shelter (Tour Debut)
  7. Wake Up
  8. Guerrilla Radio
  9. Vietnow (Tour Debut)
  10. Know Your Enemy
  11. Calm Like a Bomb
  12. Sleep Now in the Fire
  13. War Within a Breath
  14. The Ghost of Tom Joad (Bruce Springsteen cover)
  15. Freedom
  16. Township Rebellion
  17. Killing in the Name

Run The Jewels Snippets

Rage Against The Machine Snippets

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