MOUNTAIN VIEW (CBS SF) — The rap-rock supergroup featuring members of Rage Against the Machine, Public Enemy and Cypress Hill paid special tribute to 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick at the start of their show at Shoreline Amphitheatre Tuesday night.
The group — made up of Rage guitarist Tom Morello and the band’s rhythm section of bassist Tim Commerford and drummer Brad Wilk fronted by hip-hop legends Chuck D and DJ Lord of Public Enemy and B-Real of Cypress Hill — headlined the Mountain View venue Tuesday as part of their Make America Rage Again Tour.
After a brief introduction by Morello’s 92-year-old mother — avid activist Mary Morello, who called Prophets of Rage “The best f***ing band in the universe” — the group took the stage under bright spotlights with all five members filing out wearing Kaepernick’s #7 jersey.
All five members raised their right fists in unison before Morello turned and nodded to DJ Lord, who played an orchestral version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” that blared over the sound system. All five members of the band proceeded to kneel on their right knee as the national anthem played.
While some fans can be heard singing along to the song (along with the whooping and yelling one expects at the start of a big concert), there was no booing audible as the song finished and the lights dimmed prior to the start of the concert.
- South Park Is Set To Weigh In On Colin Kaepernick
- Kaepernick And Reid Again Take Knee For Anthem
- Kid Rock Slams Colin Kaepernick Over National Anthem Protest
The 49ers quarterback has been at the center of a nationwide controversy ever since he started his protest during the national anthem, initially sitting as it played before the 49ers-Packers exhibition game on August 26 and subsequent taking a knee for the final preseason game against the San Diego Chargers and last Monday night’s nationally televised season opener against the Rams at Levi’s Stadium.
The politically charged show was filled with Rage Against the Machine classics such as “Take the Power Back,” “Killing in the Name of” and “Bulls on Parade” as well as versions of songs from both the Public Enemy and Cypress Hill catalogs.
Morello, playing a guitar with the phrase “Arm the Homeless” painted on it, at one point spoke at length to the crowd about the American flag.
“The flag of our country is the very same that was on the patch on the chests of the firefighters and first responders on 9/11. It was also the very same flag that flew above our country while slavery was legal. The very same flag that flew while we exterminated millions of Native Americans,” said Morello. “It is the very same flag that flies while police officers murder African Americans throughout our country. It is up to us to fight for the country we want to live in: A country where there are no homeless and without poverty. Fight for that country.”
The politically minded Prophets of Rage have made no bones their message since first announcing their formation late last May ahead of their debut live performance at the Whiskey A Go Go in Hollywood.
“Dangerous times do demand dangerous songs,” said Morello when the group announced that first concert. “This historical moment is really unprecedented. Both the country and the world are on the brink of the abyss. It’s a historical necessity. The last time Rage played in LA, we out-drew Trump, Clinton and Bernie Sanders by about a margin of three times. This is not just music, this is a movement.”
The Make America Rage Again Tour continues in Los Angeles Thursday night before traveling across the southern United States.
Photographer Chris Tuite (@ChrisTuite16 on Twitter) contributed to this report.