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Page last updated at 23:48 GMT, Friday, 22 August 2008 00:48 UK
Reading opens on political note
By Julian Marshall
Newsbeat online editor at Reading Festival

Rage Against The Machine

Rage Against The Machine have returned to the Reading Festival with a passionate headline performance on the main stage.

They made a political statement from the start, coming on stage dressed in orange jumpsuits and fully hooded, a probable reference to US foreign policy. They then proceeded to play opening song Bombtrack in the costumes.

The band played a host of tracks from their three albums including Bullet In The Head and Know Your Enemy.

The Los Angeles rock band were making their return to the festival for the first time in eight years since they split in 2000.

Later in the set singer Zack de la Rocha elaborated, directly criticising the Bush administration for their policy in Iraq, claiming the "whole system depends on death and war to survive".

The reaction to the band's English return was largely positive.

Backstage interviews

Festival-goer 31-year-old James Barrett told Newsbeat: "Their set was really great, everyone seemed to be involved, even those who didn't get to see them the first time around. Everybody seemed to love it."

Rage previously warmed up for headliners Porno For Pyros in 1993 and played second on the bill behind The Prodigy in 1996.

They also played the festival for a third time in 2000, shortly before they split up over musical differences.

However, in January 2007 the band reformed and in April of that year performed together for the first time in seven years at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

Earlier this year they made their UK return when they performed at T In The Park. They also played the Oxegen festival in Ireland.

Rock in the sunshine

Festival-goers in Reading were blessed with sunshine throughout the day on Friday, with live performances on the main stage coming from Dizzee Rascal, Biffy Clyro, Queens Of The Stone Age and The Enemy.

Queens Of The Stone Age interview

The Enemy used the show as an opportunity to play the hits from their debut album, We'll Live and Die in These Towns, with 40 Days And 40 Nights and the album title track proving most popular with fans.

Queens Of The Stone Age, who played songs including No One Knows and Little Sister directly before Rage Against The Machine, said they decided to play at Reading and Leeds to close their current world tour.

Singer Josh Homme said that the Reading crowd was the "best audience in the world".

The band who stole the show on the NME/Radio 1 stage on Friday were New York group Vampire Weekend.

Stars including Lily Allen watched from this side of the stage as a packed tent sang along to tracks including Mansard Roof and A-Punk.

80,000 fans are descending on each site over the three days.

The event, which takes place annually on the August bank holiday weekend in England, is due to run until Sunday evening in both venues.

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