home the prodigy live in Athens 15/7/99

- review and pictures by neko

The Soundcheck The evening THE GIG Backstage

The Soundcheck

Juliette and I had some presspasses for the whole festival which privileged us that we were able not only to go to the backstage area during the gigs (each day from 5pm-2am), but also we could go to the festival site during the day when 'normal people' weren't allowed in there. After we found out that there will be a Prodigy soundcheck about 11 o'clock on the day of the gig (15th July), we of course went there in time! We knew that most of the bands didnt do their soundcheck themselves, but I just thought Liam might do. We were sitting on a bench in the backstage area between carpark and the stage from where we could hear the Bloodhound Gang soundcheck when suddenly a car arrived and a bunch of people left. When they were walking past us we saw their 'Prodigy access all areas'-passes. Wow, the first sign of a Prodigy gig since 11month!! If Liam would do the soundcheck himself, he would arrive soon.....but he didnt. So of course we went towards the stage now. Those guys were just building up the keyboards for Liam! Probably everybody reading this will think there is something wrong with me, but just seeing Liams keyboards for a Prodigy show, was already so amazing for me!! Damn, they would be here and we would see them tonight!

The stage for The Prodigy But now of course we wanted to know who would do the soundcheck then. So I kinda caught one of those guys. He was responsible for doing the microphone checks and other stuff and  so I and asked him if they would do their own soundcheck or not. No, they wouldnt, they would probably arrive about 7 or 8pm in the evening at the festival, not before. Too bad...

'Hrrm, ok, so will play the guitar then?', I asked. 'Thats a big secret, I am not allowed to tell you.......', 'Well, I know its not Gizz, will Kieron do it???' .


He gave me a look in the sense of 'how the f*** do you know....?? but you are right!!'.   So I was right!! About 2 weeks ago when everybody was wondering 'who will be the new Prodigy guitarist?', I posted into the newsgroup and also asked some people 'what would you think if Kieron would do it?', but noone took me serious. For the rest of the afternoon we were just wondering who would play the drums then...? (and we were watching MAD TV where they once more showed the 'Fire' video)

The evening

We were at the site again at 4pm, doors for the public would be open at about 5pm. When we arrived they were just checking some well known samples from SMBU, Voodoo people etc. Liams keyboards were standing on stage and we were loooking at them with big respect, wondering why there was a 'Mr Oizo' poster at the side of it, but nevermind. There was a big decision to make now. We had backstage passes, we could go backstage, meet Prodigy when they arrive around 7pm and then, at about midnight watch their gig from the back. Or we could stand in front row from 5pm until midnight and watch the gig from frontrow. We decided to go for the frontrow space! Nothing in the world comes close to seeing Prodigy from front row!

Sigmatropic started, in my opinion kinda boring. Same for the next band The Earthbound. But then, The queens of stone age came!! I had seen them already 5 days before at Big Day Out and knew they were great! Juliette and I were in front row, right in the middle. It was pretty hot and although we had some (warm) water we were pretty thirsty.  Now this nice guy of a keyboarder really came down and gave the 2 of us each an ice-cold can of beer. Hehe, great :-). Next was Bloodhound Gang. I will make an an extra page about them soon, they were wicked!! I knew they like the Prodigy and they used to play a cover of 'Firestarter'. This time they covered SMBU along with a lot of covers from U2 to Rammstein and Boyzone. They asked about 10 girls on stage and wanted Juliette and me as well. But no way!! Nothing could make us leave our places in frontrow!!

Next were Afghan Wings. I didnt want to see them, I had been excited for that Prodigy gig for weeks, now 2 hours before I wanted everything else than being 2 hours bored. But it went over as well and then this 'opening act' came. I had heard it was the Prodigy who had chosen that Greek Hip Hop group. We could see Leeroy, Keith and Liam next to the stage watching them. They were ok, really, but I wanted to see Prodigy. Afterwards soundcheck again and then, at 00.45, after waiting 8 hours in front row with a backstage pass in the bag, finally that guy I talked to before, announced:

"Who wants it? Who wants it? From the UK,........... its The Prodigy !!!!!!!!!!!"


Liam comes on stage, everybody is screaming, huge excitement!!!  He is by the way wearing that same The Clash T-Shirt as at Gatecrasher. He starts Rock n' Roll, then stops again (yeah, he should have done his soundcheck....) but finally really starts and Maxim comes on stage, his hair is longer than last time I had seen him. Kieron is sitting behind the drums. It was wicked. We were still standing directly in the middle in front and had the best view possible. People were dancing, jumping, but not as mad as in UK, Switzerland or wherever else I had seen them before. Noone was crowdsurfing, the few securities were just standing there, sometimes pulling someone out of the crowd (compare to Reading 98 where about 50 were busy every second). After the song, Maxim screams: "Its been a f*ckin long time!! Its been a f*ckin too long time!!" (I couldn't agree more!)

Prodigy live Keith Flint on stage


Keith and Maxim

Then SMBU starts and Keith enters the stage, while Maxims comes down and walks along the front. Keith has his hair a bit longer, as we have already seen in Dublin and Gatecrasher, but still shaved off in the middle and his 'horns'. He is wearing an English flag on the shirt. No one hates him for that, although people hated us for only talking English already. Kieron still on the drums. As soon as SMBU is finished, Funky Shit starts and Leeroy now also joins on stage. All my fear that Prodigy could have got less power now, cause they had stoppped gigging was blown away. They were great as they used to be, Keith and Leeroy going mad, Maxim MCing and Liam beind his keyboard. It was a dream come true to see them finally again after 11 month without.

Next was Lose your mind with Maxim on stage and then, Breathe! "Where the f*ck is Athens??" Then Keith ran on stage as well, and the crowd was going mad for once. And now, "This is a new tune", Maxim says..... Liam starts with first some sort of sirens, then some very hard beats, Maxim goes :"we do what we want, we say what we want, we fuck what we want" that would be the textline, I guess. That 'new tune'  can not be compared with anything else we know I think, but in my opinion it was wicked!

Next is Voodoo People, which is amazing live, as you all might know. A bottle is thrown on stage. Liam reacts with a sign he should better drink that. 'Rock da house in, rock da house in'', and of course, the Voodoo People Remix now started. They just performed it this time, unlike last year where (at the gigs where I been to) Maxim let the crowd sing it first. As soon as the song is finished we see Kieron jumping up running to the other side of the stage and grabbing a guitar! So he is really doing BOTH!!!  "What we're dealing with here is a total lack of respect for the law" ..... and Their Law starts!! The first time with Keiron on guitar, and noone on drums!! Some people behind me scream "Gizz Butt!". But everything goes well, and Keith leaves the stage again and gets ready with a microphone at the side of the stage.

Maxim Prodigy


"Its my own secret technique"....we could hear and we knew next was Firestarter!! Keiron was still at the guitar, and noone on drums. After the song not only big applause, but also people behind me screaming "Gizz??...". Kieron meanwhile had again jumped behind his drums and Liam started Mindfields. After the song, Maxim again: "I cant hear ya! I said, I cant hear ya!". Then Poison started and everybody was singing along to the lyrics, Maxim and Keith again went down to the front a few times.


Maxim Keith


Prodigy Keith and Kieron


And now, the probably biggest surprise of the gig, except the new tune, Liam started Rhythm of Life!! I loved them for playing it, there was no other tune I wanted to see live more than Rhythm of life, and I definitely did not exspect them to play it!  I had never seen it live, only on videos, with usually Keith on stage. This time he unfortunately wasnt, but Leeroy dancing around, doing similar gestures as Keith to that song on the Electronic Punks video.


Prodigy Fuel My Fire


Now they left the stage, Liam waving, was that already the end?

Screaming all over the place! "moreee!!!"

And they came back! Kieron grabbed the guitar again and Maxim screams "Are ya still here?????". Meanwhile Liam starts Fuel My Fire, and Keith starts to sing. Amazing, but also over too fast. Its the last track of that great gig, and its over......some last beats, people behind me scream "Liam, Liam, Liam", but then, they are gone....



But for us the night wasnt finshed yet! As soon as we could, we went now to the backstage area. There was an area with tables and stuff were everybody could hang around. Behind there were tents for each of the artists. Of course we wouldnt go there, but we thought they might turn up here where there is food and drink. The members of Bloodhound Gang were hanging around, all with their 'groupie of the day', which was pretty obvious. Kieron came and sat down but the others didnt turn up. Juliette was pretty tired. No wonder after getting up at 8am, a day in the sun of Greece and 10 hours in front row including a Prodigy gig. We decided to walk towards the carpark, where there was a bench. I was still full of adrenaline, not tired at all. So Juliette lied down and I said, well, I'll have a look around again'. 'Ok, I'll wait here for you, but they have probably left already anyway', she said. She tried to have a nap but was 2 min later woken up by members of the Bloodhound Gang who passed by. (How many Bloodhound Gang fans would die for that, haha, Juliette just told them to piss off ;P)

Meanwhile I went towards the site again and came to that little house who was standing in the backstage area. OOOOPS, in front of it I saw Leeroy!! He was chatting to some Greek security people who wanted autographs....oh....., next to him was Liam!!! He looked really relaxed, just giving an autograph to a Greek guy, smiling. So this was a moment I felt 'ok, lets talk to him' since I wouldnt really disturb them now. So I went to Liam and said that I had been to Gatecrasher, if he could sign one of my pictures. "ohh! You have pictures from Gatecrasher?? Can I see them??" Of course he could. Then a security guy came and told Liam: "we are ready to leave now..." , "one moment, just wanna look at tose pictures"  I felt kinda embarassed, he must have thought I'm totally nuts, taking about 20 pictures of HIM at Gatecrasher...*cough*.. But he looked at all of them, and asked if he could have that one with Goldie. "Sure, you can have as many as you want..." So Liam actually has got some of my Gatecrasher pictures now...(.. Then we talked also about the Dublin event. "What, you were in Dublin as well? wow..". He had to go towards the carpark now and so did I, since Juliette still was there on that bench. That security guy was walking in front with a lamp showing the way. Wow, so now I got a few minutes time to ask Liam some of the things I always wanted to ask, but, of course, they wouldnt come into my head now...

"So you are from here then?", he asked.

"no, I'm Swiss but I live in London. We came here for that Prodigy gig, cause there was no other way to see one..",

"yeah, we arent doing much gigs at the moment, I'm concentrating on doing new stuff, you know", he said (as if I wouldnt know that..) "but Prodigy will be back in about 5 month I guess!", he said with a smile.    (errrm, I'm just reviewing this article, now, April 2000, have I missed anything?)

"Really? thats cool! so....you got new material already?" I asked.

"yeah!" and the way he said it he made me believe that he really had.... , "I've just done a track with 3D from Massive Attack..."

"oh, that Porno soundtrack thing?"

"oh, no, thats over, another track....for the new album..."    (that was probably 'No Souvenir', which still isn't out either ;P)

Then that security guy in front of us..."You have to have a  look at that girl, who is lying there on that bench, I think she wants to to sleep here!"

"Errrrrmm....thats my friend...", I said...

So we were standing next to that bench. "Juliette, wake up", I said.

"oh, you are already back", she said, opening her eyes. Then she looked at Liam, who was standing next to me.. "oooooooohhhhh......its......YOU!!!"  She didnt exspect me to be back in the next 30 min, so she was QUITE surprised to see me turning up 10 min later, and even with Liam. "So you found him!" she said, which made this the probably most embarrassing moment in my life. (In front of Liam Howlett) This security guy again told Liam that they were leaving now. (I think all the other members of Prodigy were sitting in that bus waiting for Liam.)

But he then shook hands with Juliette and said hi. "I have to leave now, so, you want me to sign anything for you?", he asked.

"eeerm, I havent really got anything with me to sign....."

"oh, thats cool then....byee!!"

And he went away....

2nd review of the Rockwave gig by Soren Sloth from Denmark

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