Rage play Xmas No.1 'victory' gig

07/06/10

Rage Against The Machine

Rage Against The Machine have played a free show for 40,000 fans at London's Finsbury Park to celebrate beating X Factor's Joe McElderry to last year's Christmas number one spot.

The band had promised fans a 'victory' gig if the Facebook campaign, started by fans Jon and Tracy Morter, delivered them to the top of the chart.

One hundred and twenty thousand people applied for tickets to the event which saw the Los Angeles band play a 75-minute set.

Speaking to Newsbeat, guitarist Tom Morello said: "We promised that if our song was number one we'd play a free show and today is the day. It's not your average Rage Against The Machine Show."

Rage performance

Playing in the UK for the first time since headlining the Reading and Leeds festival in 2008 the foursome took at the stage at 9pm on a muggy night in north London.

They were introduced by an animated, cartoon skit of Simon Cowell saying: "I am Simon Cowell, I am the biggest star maker in the world - and I am a supernova."

Jon Morter
Image caption Jon Morter started the Facebook campaign with his wife Tracy

"Tonight it is my distinct displeasure to introduce a band whose stardom I had nothing to do with."

Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page and Libertines front man Carl Barat were amongst those who watched as they played a set comprised of material which stretched across their career including Testify, Bullet In The Head and a cover of The Clash's White Riot.

Speaking from the stage about the occasion lead singer Zack de la Rocha said: "It was all of you that made this happen - you were the weapon."

The band welcomed Jon and Tracy Morter on stage mid-way through their performance to present a charity with the proceeds of the campaign.

After a video montage of quotes from the press - accompanied by the sound track of Joe McElderry's The Climb - the band brought the evening to a close with Killing In The Name.

'Unexpected' situation

Talking to Newsbeat an hour before taking to the stage guitarist Tom Morello said: "This all came very unexpectedly.

"We're all in the middle of our other lives and music. But when we made that promise we were determined to keep it.

Rage Against The Machine
Image caption Rage will headline this weekend's Download before returning to the US

"Then it's back home to our regular lives for a while. We'll see, hopefully we'll be back in the not too distant future."

Co-organiser of the campaign Jon Morter said: "It's a far cry from a November night in the kitchen thinking 'I'm bored of this, let's do something'."

When asked if the couple would consider running a similar campaign again he said: "No chance."

"We have been approached by some quite high profile acts and artists who'd like us to get on board.

"I don't think you can replicate something like this. It's a one-off movement. I wouldn't like to do it again because you can only go down."

'Absolutely awesome'

Afterwards, fans were in high spirits.

Jeremy, from Cirencester, said: "Awesome, absolutely awesome. Have that Simon Cowell. That was probably one of the most amazing things I've ever seen."

We're all in the middle of our other lives and music. But when we made that promise we were determined to keep it
Tom Morello, Rage Against The Machine

Simon, from London, said: "I've waited half my life to see Rage - that was worth it. Killing In The Name was euphoric."

The Californian rap-metal band were crowned 2009 Christmas number 1 following a Facebook campaign protesting against the monopoly of X Factor on the chart.

At Christmas, their track Killing In The Name sold 500,000 digital copies to beat X Factor winner Joe McElderry's The Climb into second place.

Early on Simon Cowell had described the campaign as "stupid" and "cynical", but offered his congratulations to the Morters' once the battle was concluded.

At the time RATM's guitarist Tom Morrello said the process had "tapped into the silent majority of the people in the UK who are tired of being spoon-fed one schmaltzy ballad after another".

It was the closest race for Christmas number one since the Spice Girls' Goodbye and South Park character Chef's Chocolate Salty Balls in 1998.