Rage Against The Machine is one of the most influential bands in the modern history of rock. Over the short course of its roughly nine years together, the band—Zach de la Rocha (vocals), Tom Morello (guitar, vocals), Tim Commerford (bass, vocals), and Brad Wilk (drums)—released a total of three full-length studio recordings, a covers album and a handful of live recordings all while moving its fans to stand up and make their voices heard. It would be fair to say that considering that influence, Rage Against The Machine is to its generation as Bob Dylan and others of that era were to their audiences. Now the band’s influence has been put on display once again thanks to the release of its 2010 performance at London’s Finsbury Park. The concert was the result of one man’s effort to dethrone X-Factor in the race for the UK’s annual top Christmas single only some months prior. The concert was released via Eagle Rock Entertainment, the leading name in live recordings, last Friday, October 16th. And there is plenty to like about this latest live Rage recording beginning with the show’s set list. The twelve-song set list features songs pulled from all three of the band’s albums released throughout its almost decade-long run together. The band’s stage presence is, in relation, just as important. Not too much time had passed between the band’s breakup in 2006 and its short-lived reunion and tour in 2008 and its performance at Finsbury Park in 2010. So the band’s performance here is the image of a band that felt completely refreshed, energetic, and fiery as it was in its earliest days. Together with the featured set list, the band’s performance of those songs makes for a show that every RATM fan will enjoy from start to finish. Rounding out the whole thing is the show’s collective production values (I.E. its camera work and audio mix). It goes without saying that having a well-known director helming the show’s recording paid off in spades. The shots presented throughout the show expertly capture the full energy of the show both from the stage and the audience. The end result is a performance that blurs that border of putting audiences right in the middle of the action and giving them the best seat in the house. The audio mix is just as impressive especially considering that this is an outdoor show. Both elements together round out the whole of the concert experience presented in this recording. They work alongside the show’s set list and the band’s performance to make the recording in whole one more of the best of this year’s new crop of live DVDs and Blu-rays.
Rage Against The Machine’s latest live recording Live at Finsbury Park is one of the best of this year’s crop of new live DVDs and Blu-rays. This latest live offering from RATM and Eagle Rock Entertainment proves to be a piece that every one of the band’s fans will want to have in his or her own music library and DVD/Blu-ray collection. It proves this first through its set list. The twelve-song set features songs pulled from all three of the albums turned out by the band over its near decade-long run together. It opens with a powerhouse performance of ‘Testify’ that will have fans watching at home just as fired up as those that had the pleasure of seeing the band in person at the show’s recording. Also included in the show’s set list are other career-spanning hits such as: ‘Know Your Enemy,’ ‘Bulls On Parade,’ ‘Freedom’ and of course the very song that set things in motion for this concert ‘Killing in The Name’ among so many other songs. Regardless of which song or album fans enjoy most, all three albums are well represented with the band’s self-titled 1992 album getting the most love with six songs. Evil Empire was represented through two of the set’s songs and The Battle of Los Angeles through three. There is also a cover of The Clash’s ‘White Riot,’ which was not included in any of the band’s albums, including its covers compilation Renegades (2000). It makes sense that the band’s debut got the most attention figuring that the song that sparked the concert’s birth came from that album. Sure, it would have been nice to see ‘Voice of the Voiceless,’ ‘War Within a Breath,’ ‘Born of a Broken Man,’ ‘Vietnow,’ ‘Roll Right’ and ‘Wake Up’ included in the show’s set list. But the set list featured here is still just as entertaining in its own right. So that in mind, it is still a solid reason for any real RATM fan to check out this concert. It is only part of what makes this concert recording so enjoyable for the band’s legions of fans around the world. The band’s stage presence throughout the course of the concert is another reason that the recording proves so enjoyable.
The set list featured in RATM’s 2010 Finsbury Park, while focusing largely on the band’s self-titled 1992 debut, is a clear reason for fans to pick up this new recording. The likely reason for that album being so heavily represented here is the fact that ‘Killing in The Name’ came from that album. The song in question sparked what would eventually become the Live at Finsbury Park performance. That is not to say that the band’s other two albums are not represented here. They are represented. But it is just fitting that the album in which ‘Killing In The Name’ was originally included be the one that gets the most attention. It doesn’t hurt that that album was a landmark recording both for the band and for the rock community in whole either. That having been noted, the band’s stage presence throughout the course of its nearly ninety-minute concert is just as important as the songs themselves. The band’s energy throughout its performance is incredible. Roughly eighteen years had passed between the band’s formation and its performance at Finsbury Park. Yet watching the band absolutely own the stage here is like seeing the band in its early days. Front man Zach de la Rocha commands the audience of thousands while Tom Morello’s work on guitar is just as powerful. Morello’s energy as he makes his way through each song is just as fiery as de la Rocha’s performance. And the teaming of Wilk and Commerford on drums and bas respectively generates just as much energy. Watching Wilk, audiences see so much focus on the music yet a certain amount of enjoyment in his face as he drives his band mates forward in each song. Commerford complements Wilk’s work behind the kit, rounding out the whole presentation. He doesn’t just stand around in one spot at any given point in the show, either. He is just as active as his band mates, churning out the songs’ low end and harmonies all while keeping audiences engaged with his own personal energy. The combination of the band members’ own energies throughout the show makes for a performance from beginning to end that will have audiences at home just as engaged as those that that were in attendance at the show’s taping. That is because those energies combined make each of the show’s songs so powerful. It shows that the band isn’t just going through the motions. Rather the band is all in from beginning to end. It makes the concert yet another fully memorable performance from one of rock’s most influential acts. It is one more reason that this concert is such an impressive new release from RATM and Eagle Rock Entertainment. It is not all that makes this concert so memorable, either. The concert’s collective production values round out the experience.
The set list featured in RATM’s Finsbury Park performance and the band’s performance of said set list are both equally important in their own right to the recording’s overall viewing experience. Both elements combine to make said viewing experience quite impressive to say the least. That in mind, the final element that is fully worth noting in regards to the concert’s overall viewing experience is its collective production values (I.E. its audio and video mix). Jeff Cronenworth, the concert’s director of Photography is to be commended for his work capturing the concert as is famed producer Andy Johns in regards to his work handling the concert’s boards. Cronenworth is actually interviewed in the concert’s bonus behind-the-scenes featurette. He discusses in this extra his dedication to showing the full reach and impact of the concert and how he achieved that goal with various cameras and angles. His discussion definitely puts things into perspective especially for those that watch the concert first. The aerials and crowd shots do an extraordinary job of capturing the sheer magnitude of the audience and its reaction to the band’s performance. On the other side, the shots of the band on stage both from the stage and right in the front row are just as impressive. One of the best of the on-stage shots is the close up of Wilk captured from what feels like right on his drum kit. It is a shot that has to be seen to be understood in regards to its impact in the whole of the show. The wide shots of the band are just as powerful as they serve to capture the full energy of the band as it makes its way through the show. There is plenty more that could be noted here in regards to the show’s camera work. But it goes without saying that these examples and those not noted work in unison to make the concert’s camera work in whole a hugely important and successful part of the concert’s viewing experience in whole.
The work of the camera crew in capturing RATM’s concert for its presentation here is just as important as the show’s set list and the band’s performance of said songs. Of course what would any of that be without solid handling of the show’s audio boards. Andy Johns is hardly a stranger to working an audio board having produced albums from The Rolling Stones, van Halen, Joe Satriani, Bon Jovi, Ill Nino and countless others. His years of experience show clearly in this recording just as much in every recording that he has handled (studio and live) before. Being such an expansive venue, Johns had quite the job on his hands. Yet he handled his duties with the utmost expertise keeping the band members’ levels equal to one another and balancing those levels with the crowd noise. Audiences will find that thanks to Johns’ efforts, there is rarely a single point throughout the concert in which they have to adjust the volume on their televisions in either direction. That is a telling statement. And together with the work of Cronenworth and his camera crew, the overall production values presented in Live at Finsbury Park make the show in whole yet another impressive recording from RATM as well as potentially one more of the year’s best new live DVDs and Blu-rays.
Live at Finsbury Park is not Rage Against The Machine’s first live recording. It likely isn’t the last from the band even considering its relatively short time together. Regardless, it can be said that the combination of the show’s set list, the band’s performance of that set list, and the concert’s overall production values lead it to be yet another impressive live recording for fans and one of the year’s best new live DVDs and Blu-rays. It is available now in stores and online. More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now at:
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