Rage Against the Machine, the Beastie Boys, Bad Religion and Black Star took to the stage last night in East Rutherford, New Jersey, performing at the much-debated benefit concert to raise money for the federal appeal of convicted murderer Mumia Abu-Jamal.A firestorm of controversy has engulfed the concert since it was announced several weeks ago, as government officials, local police groups and even the venue's organizers came out against the planned benefit for Mumia, the Philadelphia radio journalist
and activist sentenced to die for the 1981
slaying of police officer Daniel Faulkner.Just last week, the debate spilled onto Howard Stern's nationally syndicated radio show, as Rage guitarist Tom Morello and Maureen Faulkner, the officer's widow, argued both the pros and cons of the concert and Mumia's pending appeal (see "Morello, Widow Of Slain Police Officer Debate Rage/Beasties Benefit"). "The fundamental point [behind this concert]," Morello told MTV's Kurt Loder, "the unambiguous fact in this whole case is that the Mumia Abu-Jamal trial was unfair. You simply cannot execute a man who has not received a fair trial." [28.8 RealVideo] For more about this history of the Mumia case, see "Weeding Through The Rhetoric: What's The Rage/Beastie's Benefit About?"