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seat beach rock, belgium

review by neko

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  Saturday, 6/7/02: Oosteende, Belgium

We had this great plan. Yeh, lets go to Ostend already on Friday morning and then spend 2 days at the beach before the Prodigy gig. It all looked really nice on the Internet, I swear. Unfortunately that all doesn't quite go as we wanted, it rains all day on Friday, grey sky and it's far colder than in England. Not much to do in Ostend apart from a fish market and a street with a few shops, so we're pretty bored in this town full of old people and families with annoying little children who keep running into you. But who cares, Prodigy are playing on Saturday night, and being so bored for two days and after watching endless hours of shitty pop music on 'JIM TV' at the hotel, we're pretty damn happy when it's finally 4pm on Saturday and we're off to that festival!

It's muddy all over the place and the atmosphere at the festival overall isn't all that great, most people seem pretty annoyed at the weather. Of course first the usual visit at the official merchandise stand to check whether there is anything new. And indeed there is, 3 more or less new Prodigy shirts. A white new girlie shirt, which on the front goes 'I [heart] Rohypnol' and at the back has got a small Prodigy logo. then a normal green-grey shirt with the large new Prodigy logo at the front. And then the one with the 3 military men band members, as known since the Big Day Out tour.

5.30pm Paul *yawn* Weller is on. Plain boring rock songs, this is worse than Oasis or Silverchair. The way he acts on stage he looks so full of himself, too. No one really seems to be into it, apart from a few people nodding their head a bit.

Next on are Muse. There seem to be a lot of Muse fans in the audience, but crowd reaction is still quite lame, nowhere near as last year at Lowlands and Pukkelpop (where Muse were on before Prodigy). Their set all in all seems pretty similar to last year, some of their tracks are pretty good, but after 30-40 minutes you get bored of their set. Next.

Garbage minus Butch Vig are on now. I had been really looking forward to that show actually, I used to be quite into them some years ago. Have recently started listening to their stuff again and still think some of their studio work is great. They've changed their set a bit since I saw them at Big Day Out in Australia earlier this year, but once again Shirley Manson really ruins the gig for me. All that bullshit she talks during one show, really patronizing, as if she was performing to a bunch of 10 year olds. And then she lets the guys talk. Duke : "Thanks to the fans for sticking with us although it took us sooo long to come out with the new album." That was 3 years. I'm not even gonna comment on that.

The crowd reaction during Garbage again is very lame, there's a lot of people who are a bit nodding their heads and singing along, like everyone knows Garbage a little, but no one seems to be completely into it. Garbage finish at 11pm now and the stage is being prepared for Prodigy. Big 'ah' and 'oh' in the audience as the backdrop gets revealed with the logo. Stage set up is as usual. Oh yes, and I manage to sneak to the front row as well.

So there we are at midnight, or more correctly 0.15am, as the gig, predictable, starts with the army march intro. As usual Liam Howlett enters the stage first and Kieron sits behind his drums, starting that intro. Its very comical how all the photographers are standing in front of the stage, none of them taking a single picture, having expressions on their faces that go something like "when is the singer of that band finally gonna come on stage, I don't need pictures of the keyboarder".

"Where is fuckin' Belgium?", shouts Maxim as he walks on stage, followed by Jim Davies on guitars and Keith Flint. Their Law, still my favorite track and perfect start of the show. Wicked.

I know there is a small chance that they might play something new tonight, but I didn't really expect them to, since Dust Yoself has only been played once yet and would still be pretty new. So I really almost get a heartattack when after Their Law they suddenly play a completely new intrumental fill. No vocals, mostly beats and guitar driven, with some a bit familiar sounding (?) melody as main theme. Heard it only once now, but I'm sure it will be spreading on the net quite soon anyway, so I wont really judge it as yet. But doesn't quite blow me away as much as Dust Yoself did when I heard it. And out of the 3 new fills it sounds the least near to becoming a finished track (again, I could of course be sooo wrong about that!).

Next on is Trigger and although it's technically still a 'new' track, more than a few people are singing along and it goes down like one of the 'known' tracks. Keith and Maxim seem to be in their usual form, performing, running down to the crowd and doing their usual tricks, but the crowd is still petty lame. Looking back a few rows there's hardly anyone moving. Maxim tries to change that: "I can hear the people at the front, but I can't hear the back!" he screams during a song, "now I can hear the back, but not the front! Belgium, where the fuck are you?".

Breathe, although one of the most well-known tracks, is only little change to that. Still, I personally think the performance is great, there just is not a lot coming back. Live-fill Goblin and Smack my Bitch Up follow, the latter being one of the best tracks of the show.

But the big surprise comes with Baby's Got a Temper. This is the 10th time this track is performed live and the 10th time I have the pleasure of attending it. But previously only a few low quality live recordings have been aavailable of the track, now is the first performance of the song after its studio version has come out and you must have lived pretty isolated not to have heard it at least a few times. I know that the band said in a recent interview that they felt at Coachella that BGAT really worked for them there live. I disagree, it didn't work for me back then, but I gotta have to retract what I said about the new version (as opposed to the Big Day Out 'slow' version) not working live. 'Cause tonight it does work, comepletely. Best live performance of BGAT ever! And the crowd is really into it (well, as much as they can tonight).

But what follows is, well, the 'big mistake'. What I was probably most looking forward at that gig was to hear Dust Yoself again, a track only ever played once in Las Vegas two and a half months ago. Not that anyone really noticed that something went wrong here, but if you payed attention you did. BGAT is finishing and Liam starts to play Mindfields. You can see a strange expression on Maxim's face, who runs over to have a look at the set list. While Mindfields starts to play as usual you can repeatedly hear Maxim mention the words 'Dust Yoself, Dust Yoself', before then jokingly tapping his forehead with his index finger while pointing at Liam, who seems to have 'forgotten' Dust Yoself! But again, this all isn't very obvious to the audiece and the show goes on. But getting hold of a set list after the show, you can see that there's indeed Dust Yoself supposed to be between Baby's got a Temper and Mindfields. Ah well, another week then, I really need to hear that track again!

Mindfields, apart from the very beginning, is performed by Maxim only this time, unlike at recent shows where him and Keith performed it together. Nuclear next, wicked track as always. Again, as with Trigger, people treat it more as a 'known' track rather than new. Poison again is a Maxim only performance this time, very unlike at recent shows. Of course a huge response as Firestarter starts, this track still gets the biggest crowd reaction at any show, no matter where. And then, after finishing off with Fuel My Fire, the band run off stage after 55 minutes, without a look back, Liam also without his trademark handclapping.

People start shouting for more now, but I'm pretty clear about that there wont be anything more from The Prodge now. As the lights go on people start to boo. And they wont stop as the announcement girlie goes on stage to have her final words. You can't hear a word she's saying, people are booing so loud. 'Fuck you!' she says with her hysterical voice. But even the booing stops soon, such a lame crowd wouldn't be able to make even a little riot. The big problem is that the festival had The Prodigy scheduled to play from 0.00 until 1.30am. They only played 55minutes though. If it says 1h on the programme, you could get away with playing 55 minutes, but if it says 90min all over the place then there is no way you get away with just playing 55 minutes. And to avoid misunderstandings, the booing was clearly about the gig being too short and not about the gig being bad or something like that. Still, not a good way to end a show.

All in all? Still a cool show, as always wicked to see them again, but definitely not the best they've done this year. But I had a good time, and in the end that's all that counts, but I do feel little dissapointed after this show, also because it felt so short. And a shame about Dust Yoself. Well, Witnness is only 6 days away, watch this space...

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