So much for “fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me.”
After two years of pandemic protocols, precautions, and prohibitions, Rage Against the Machine finally took the stage in Washington, D.C., for a long-anticipated, much-delayed reunion tour to shout fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me.
At back-to-back concerts in a packed Capital One Arena, rock’s most radical band reinforced just how enduring its musical appeal is while adding a layer of awkward irony to the ideological project that runs through its lyrics.
Filling up a 20,000-person arena in a city where COVID fears still have people wearing masks outside is no mean feat—particularly when the cheapest tickets cost just under $200. It’s doubly impressive for a band that hasn’t released a full-length album of original material this century.
Rage’s Tuesday night show provided ample evidence for why people turned out. It was a tight, energetic performance one might have expected of a band half its age. The lack of new material didn’t matter much to an audience eager to rap along to well-worn classics like “Take the Power Back,” “Know Your Enemy,” and “Testify.”