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Watch Rage Against the Machine play their first show in 11 years

Rage Against the Machine
(Image credit: Rage Live/YouTube)

Rage Against the Machine have commenced their many times-postponed Public Service Announcement tour with Run the Jewels, playing their first show in 11 years.

The titanic political rock outfit served up a barrage of classics during their 16-track set at the Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, Wisconsin, including Bulls on Parade, Testify, Guerilla Radio and Killing in the Name

Other songs featured on the setlist included opener Bombtrack, People of the Sun, Know Your Enemy and their first performance of Bruce Springsteen’s The Ghost of Tom Joad in over 20 years.

The band also took an opportunity during the show to express their discontent with the recent repeal of Roe v Wade, which protected American women’s constitutional right to have an abortion.

In a straight-talking message displayed at the back of the stage, the band wrote: “Forced birth in a country that is the only wealthy country in the world without any guaranteed paid parental leave at 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. Abort the Supreme Court.”

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Rage Against the Machine originally planned to hit the road in 2020, but the Covid pandemic put a considerable spanner in the works, forcing them to postpone the tour until summer 2021. The rescheduled trek was subsequently postponed again until 2022. 

And while the wheels of the Public Service Announcement tour are finally turning, a string of dates – which were scheduled to take place between March 31 and May 23 – were again postponed before the run kicked off. These dates will now take place in 2023.

While the patience of Rage fans is admirable, they were treated last year to two new solo albums from guitarist Tom Morello: The Atlas Underground Fire and The Atlas Underground Flood.

Both outings were studded with a stellar lineup of guest artists, including Bruce Springsteen, Eddie Vedder, Kirk Hammett and Alex Lifeson, as well as contemporary names like grandson, phem and Mike Posner.

The Public Service Announcement tour continues tonight (July 11) at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. For a full list of dates, head to Rage Against the Machine's website (opens in new tab).

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Sam is a Staff Writer at Guitar World, also creating content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar (opens in new tab).