Rap-metal supergroup Prophets of Rage let their music speak for itself at Barclays Center Saturday night, keeping the political talk to a minimum because it was unnecessary.
“A lot of change has to come and it takes you to do it,” said Cypress Hill rapper B-Real. “Don’t believe in the politicians. They’ll lie every time and you know it. That’s why you’re here.”
Whether or not that’s true, the band’s two-hour show was certainly an arena-worthy spectacle, with nearly as much energy coming from the multiple, massive mosh pits on the floor as from the stage where B-Real and Public Enemy’s Chuck D and DJ Lord joined three-fourths of Rage Against the Machine to deliver the band’s politically charged anthems.
Hearing Roosevelt’s Chuck D and B-Real’s two-pronged assault on Rage’s rhymes while Tom Morello made his guitar wail and squeal like a virtuoso was thrilling enough. B-Real’s style is as nimble as Rage frontman Zach de la Rocha’s original work, while Chuck’s thunderous delivery makes “Guerilla Radio” and “Testify” harder-hitting.
For the crowd, they were reveling in something many thought they would never witness again — Morello, bassist Tim Commerford and drummer Brad Wilk doing Rage Against the Machine songs. Since de la Rocha left the band in 2000, they have only reunited for a short tour in 2007 and a single benefit show in 2011.
The excitement of the crowd — many sporting the Prophets of Rage signature red baseball cap bearing the tour’s name “Make America Rage Again” that twists Donald Trump’s campaign slogan — was a show in itself. In fact, Chuck D and B-Real stood at the barricades to deliver the medley of Public Enemy and Cypress Hill songs in the middle of the set, with B-Real jumping into the crowd to body surf.
For the finale of Rage’s “Killing in the Name” — its protest of police brutality and institutional racism perhaps even timelier now than when it was initially released in 1993 — the group turned on the lights so that everyone could see the audience’s screaming and fists raised in unison. Yes, America rages again.
SETLIST: No Sleep Til Brooklyn >Fight the Power / Prophets of Rage / Guerrilla Radio / Bombtrack / Miuzi Weighs a Ton (w/Jake Clemons) / People of the Sun / Take the Power Back / How I Could Just Kill a Man / Testify / Hand on the Pump >Can’t Truss It >Insane in the Brain >Bring the Noise >I Ain’t Goin’ Out Like That >Welcome to the Terrordome / Sleep Now in the Fire / Cochise >She Watch Channel Zero?! / The Ghost of Tom Joad (w/Aaron Bruno) / Bullet in the Head / Shut ‘Em Down / Know Your Enemy / The Party’s Over / Bulls on Parade / Killing in the Name