home the prodigy Europe 2002

witnness festival

report by neko, pictures by neko

back to prodigy live

  Saturday, 13/7/02: Ratoath, County Meath, Ireland

I'm travelling to Dublin Saturday midday and I am of course here to see The Prodigy again, playing at Witnness festival tonight. wahey!

At the arrivals I meet my friend, who has already spent a day in Dublin, and she hands me over the 'Eventguide' from Dublin pointing out an interview with Liam Howlett. "This album [meaning AONO] has a lot more electronic stuff going on. We lost that a bit on the last album [TFOTL], the electronic side, and it's heading back that way. I know that if I put Keith or Maxim's voice on everything it's gonna get tedious. We have to keep up the instrumental side, because that's where we've always been coming from.", says Liam. This is big news, and I know it will make a lot of fans happy. In a way it completely contradicts what has been said about the new album so far until recenty. Interesting.

We're walking the last bit to the festival, along with fellow Irish festival goers. And it becomes very apparent already what the first thing on the Irish mind is right now: getting drunk, and that as soon as possible! The first thing on our mind pretty soon though is how to escape the mud. Although it's pretty sunny today its muddy everywhere inside the festival. So we spend most of the afternoon sitting on some bench in the sun, listening to whatever band is just playing. And I can't reach any of the people I was supposed to meet up with, as my phone isn't working at all out here. Gutted.

First band we're really going to watch from far away are The Hives. Are they living up to all the hype? Yeah, they're quite cool, not my type of music, but it works pretty well. the audience love 'em and already now you can tell the overall atmosphere at the festival is so much better than last week at 'Beach Rock'. We dont even bother walking around to the other stages, too muddy, so we just stay at the main stage for now. Next on are The Frames. I must admit I have never heard of them before, but I get the slight feeling they must be Irish, as everyone else seems to know them. I dont remember much of them music wise (they were good-ish though), but they don't really make a big secret out of the fact that they like the Foo Fighters. A lot. And their Nirvana cover is cool as well. Definitely a good festival band, and the atmosphere in the audience is great.

Green Day are on next, not exactly a favorite band of mine, but as a live festival band they work great. Entertaining show, a lot of known tracks to sing along and a great deal of audience participation. Gotta give them the thumbs up for that, very good gig. Much more critical I am of course with the Foo Fighters. Now there's a band I've seen about a billion times in the last 7 years and not the first time on before Prodigy either. They play their usual mixture of old and new tracks, including about 2 or 3 completely unknown ones. Reaction to those new tracks, which are sounding quite good actually, is very dissapointing. In fact, almost no reaction. As usual their set closes with Everlong. Unfortunately watching Foo Fighters makes me miss the Chemical Brothers who are on on the 'Upstage' right now. Shame.

But now it's almost time for Prodigy. I can already feel it in the air that this gig is gonna be better than last week. Next to me is big Prodigy superfan. "What haircolour do you think Keith will have today?", he asks his mate "I guess green or blue", and a big discussion starts. The new backdrop for Prodigy with the new logo gets revealed now. "I liked the old one with the spider much better, the spider was so cool", says superfan. errrr.

And yes, at 11.20pm The Prodigy finally start that long-awaited show. the audience is more than up for it and a very excited atmosphere is in the air. You can tell there are a lot of big long time Prodigy fans around here who have been dying to see the band again for years, so now they better be good tonight! As usual Liam and Kieron start the show with the army march intro, soon followed by Maxim's shouting "It's been a fucking long time, Ireland!", which marks the entry of him, Keith and guitarist Jim, who's appearing to be missing his gig with own band Pitchshifter in London tonight in order to play with Prodigy, onto the stage.

Big cheers from the audience, and at least at the front where I am standing, the atmosphere is great. Their Law follows, the most perfect ever live track. And already during this track you can tell that the band are trying very hard to get it right tonight and well, it works, the audience love it and the band appear to be enjoying themselves as well. Despite being one of the oldest tracks played at Prodigy's shows these days, it describes The Prodigy better than anything else. wicked.

I would expect the new fill from last week to be played after Their Law again, but it isn't. 'Shame', I think, as Trigger starts after a very short small fill. Although still a new and kind of unknown track by The Prodigy, it gets a really good reception, definitely better than the new Foo Fighters tracks did. Breathe then is wicked, obviously one of the most well-known tracks, gets down very well and as always pleases the masses. Goblin, the oldest of the new fills, then comes on, the most downtempo part of the show, and a chance to breathe. I think there are new vocals to it as well, but it slows down the whole thing a bit.

But not for long, as Smack My Bitch Up is next, and as always a highlight of the gig, still one of the best live tracks of the set. This is followed by Baby's got a Temper, the new single, and unfortunately the reception it gets is not very good at all, unlike you would expect it from the new single. People's reaction is more a bit as if it was a completely unknown new track and not the big new single that's currently at no.5 in the UK charts.

Following BGAT is again not the expected Dust Yoself, but the new fill as it was premiered at last week's Beach Rock in Belgium. For some reason I think it sounds so much better today. I don't know whether they have changed anything but it works a lot better for me now than it did last week. A dark bassline, filled with beats and a howling guitar (?) line (but no live guitar), pretty cool.

Mindfields is next, vocals by Maxim only today, who delivers a brilliant performance. Meanwhile Keith steps down to the audience once more and is balancing along the front row barrier, not bothered by all the people who are trying to pull him down into the audience. Nuclear follows, the 'punk' track. I personally love it as a live track, but the audience does not receive it as well as Trigger. I think that many of the people who came here today are pretty big fans of the band, but have not seen them live for quite a while, so they expect them to still sound like they did in 1995. It's those people that are then complaining that Charly, Break and Enter and Voodoo people were not played and it's exactly the same people who then are dissing Baby's got a Temper for not having moved on since The Fat of The Land. But, The Prodigy HAVE moved on. Compare a show from 1997 with a 2002 show. There's a new live drummer, more tracks with live guitar than before and a dancer is gone. There is change, but its evolution this time, not revolution.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see those old tracks played as well and Jilted is still my favorite album ever, but what is the point of going around and blaming the band for not playing their old material instead of new material written for the new album we are all dying for? And at the same time blaming the band for being 'stale' and still sounding like they used to? And it's especially funny if some people are actually having a personal go at me now for actually liking the band. ha ha.

Anyway, Poison is the second 'old' track played and goes down well, but when its finished the band already leave the stage. Everyone knows they're gonna be back, and after about 90 seconds Liam indeed walks back onto the stage, followed by the others.

Probably the biggest crowd response of the night when Fireastarter starts. A crowd pleaser. Everyone and their mother know that track. Following that is, I am pretty positive, Dust Yoself.

I cannot be sure, as I've only heard Dust Yoself once, 3 months ago, in Las Vegas. And as if it was supposed to stay a mystery, again this time there seems to be no live recording of the track around at all and all we have is a fading memory of a track driven by heavy breakbeats and guitar. Wicked though. The predictable ending to the gig is Fuel My Fire, which tonight is full of energy and makes me wish this gig would go on longer. But after exactly 60 minutes The Prodigy end this gig, and although I feel much happier with this gig than last week, it just feels way too short.

Already can't wait for Carling weekend...

(and sorry, all pics turned out shite)

external links:

review by Magic Alex
review by Des
Prodigy on Witnness web site


Their Law
'Beach Rock' fill
Dust Yoself (?)
Fuel My Fire

back to prodigy live

[go home]

www.nekosite.co.uk - copyright © 1998-2002 by neko - all rights reserved