DVD review: RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE – Live At Finsbury Park


Eagle Rock Entertainment [Release date – 16.10.15]

We have Simon Cowell to thank indirectly for this release. Back in 2009 Mr Cowell and his X Factor cronies were planning yet another Christmas chart domination with the latest in a long line of one hit wonders produced by the show. Jon and Tracy Morter however had a different idea and started a campaign via the power of social media to get an alternative protest song to the coveted Xmas number one position. The song they picked was ‘Killing In The Name’ which duly romped to the top of the chart as hoped and stuck two large fingers up to our Simon.

For their part Rage Against The Machine backed the campaign 100% and as a thank you to the thousands who got behind the idea they announced a free show in London’s Finsbury Park, the results of which can be seen here.

The DVD features the full show and as you would expect with Rage it is an energetic performance. The gig was filmed by director Jeff Cronenweth who worked on Fight Club amongst other things, and he tries to capture the energy of the band by using multiple camera angles so the viewer doesn’t miss a thing. There are a lot of shots from the rear of the stage which capture the band and crowd bouncing along in unison which are impressive.

The DVD opens with a spoken intro from Chuck D who tells the story of, and the subsequent success of, the campaign which led to the free gig. Musically you get a RATM greatest hits set with all the crowd pleasers in place. You really can’t go wrong with the likes of ‘Bulls On Parade’, ‘Bomb Track’ and ‘Bullet In The Head’ in the set list and this fact is borne out by the crowd reaction which is lively to say the least. There is also a nod to the UK punk scene with a cover of the Clash’s ‘White Riot’ mid set.

Half way through the gig Zac De La Rocha introduces Jon and Tracy Morter on stage to a huge cheer before Tom Morello presents them with a large cheque for the charity Shelter.  100% of the money raised from the campaign and the download sales went to the charity to help the homeless, I am sure Simon Cowell would have done the same!

There was only one song which could round things off and as Tim Commerford picked out the bass intro to ‘Killing In The Name’ Finsbury Park erupted in a sea of bodies. The closing refrain of ‘F**k you, I won’t do what you tell me’ is spat out with venom by De La Rocha and accompanied by thousands of raised middle fingers in the crowd.

As a live DVD it is fairly standard fare, it does however manage to capture the energy of the performance. However the real attraction of the DVD is as a record of how two individuals managed to motivate millions on social media to rally against the establishment.

Unfortunately it would appear that the message was soon forgotten as Mr Cowell and crew quickly regained their dominance, no accounting for taste,  but it’s good to think that in 2009 he had ‘F**k you, I won’t do what you tell me’ ringing in his ears on Christmas morning.  ***1/2

Review by David Wilson


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