Rage Against the Machine

Rage Against the Machine [DVD/VHS]

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Rage Against the Machine released this self-titled DVD in 1997. The disc collects live concert footage and music videos of some of their best material. Rage Against the Machine starts with a passionate rendition of Bruce Springsteen's "Ghost of Tom Joad" live from the Irvine Meadows in Irvine, CA. The well-filmed performance captures Rage near the top of their game. (Will listeners ever see a collection that includes the concert from the Democratic Convention?) Seeing Zack de la Rocha interact with a large crowd and the band work a tight, incendiary groove is required to understand the appeal of the now-defunct political rock band. This is underscored by "People of the Sun" and four other songs live from the Rock Am Ring Festival in Germany, where Rage plays before what must be 100,000 people. Rage Against the Machine also includes three songs from the 1996 Reading Festival and a blistering "Killing in the Name" from the 1994 Pink Pop Festival. The second half of the DVD is filled with six music videos, including "Freedom" and "Memory of the Dead (Land and Liberty)." Overall, the quality of the video is fine, but the music mix is low and a bit muddy. This is a problem for viewers who want to understand every word de la Rocha says. But there is a lyrics function, which is like subtitling. What musical crispness they lack in concert, Rage makes up for in intensity and energy. The real plus of the collection is that the videos are the uncensored versions, so getting this collection is not like replicating an MTV experience. The best moment of the DVD is a concert appearance by Tom Morello's mother, who plugs boycotting record stores that censor albums and introduces the "best band in the f*cking universe: Rage Against the Machine!" A must-own for fans of Rage Against the Machine and a useful 80 minutes for people who are complacent politically.

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