Setlist is taken from a short review of the show by Jon Pareles in the New York Times:Rage Against the Machine, a Los Angeles band that performed on Thursday night at Roseland, crams together every angry, jolting sound in current rock.
Its guitarist, Tom Morello, blares power chords, crunches through funk syncopations and zooms through speedy hard-rock scales. At one point, he even played some piercing, Robert Fripp-like dissonant Minimalism. The rhythm section, Timmy C. on bass and Brad Wilk on drums, wallops rhythms out of hip-hop, thrash and hard rock from Led Zeppelin to Black Flag. And its vocalist, Zack de la Rocha, raps and rants and shakes his blond dreadlocks, urging the audience to chant along on vows like "I won't do what you tell me!" and "We gotta take the power back."
Mr. de la Rocha's lyrics mix rap-style self-glorification with denunciations of school, government, the mass media and as "Know Your Enemy" put it, "compromise, conformity, assimilation, submission, ignorance, hypocrisy, brutality, the elite." Between songs, he denounced anti-abortion fundamentalists and paraphrased Eldridge Cleaver's "Soul on Ice." His voice has a whiny tone, and his fast raps are a little shaky; his self-righteousness can make his conviction sound like an act.
Commercially, Rage Against the Machine is a neat package, a combination of Living Colour's hard-rock, the Red Hot Chili Peppers' funk and rapping, and Consolidated's zealous dogmatism. In classic rock-rebel style, the paradoxes of disseminating its ideas via the mass-media machinery of Epic Records and Sony Music, alongside Michael Jackson, go unexamined. But onstage, the band's ferocious proficiency takes over, pounding, slashing, howling and zinging until the message of defiance is both unmistakable and unstoppable.