Intro by neko:
As I said, travel wise this one is easy (well – apart from getting back to Genk at 3am the night before, which is a different story) and an easy 2h drive later I’m back in Amsterdam, where I meet an old uni friend of mine, Liz, who, despite knowing me well for years, has never seen the prodigy live. The festival is about an hour away, so it means I’m driving once more and have to be on best behaviour once again.
We try and get there for 5pm to see Juliette and the Licks, which theoretically we do, but the festival is massive and we’re parked in the furthest away corner so by the time we’re in Juliette just walks off stage. Ah well.
No rest though, tonight all good bands are very condensed…. too condensed I say. My first big dilemma is at 18:30: the subways are on charlie while the kaiser chiefs are on alpha. So we settle for 10 minutes at the Subways first. I have to say I love their album, tracks like Rock n’ Roll Queen are pretty amazing. On stage they still look a bit lost though. A bit like 18 year old kids who are put on a massive stage and dont know where to put their instruments. Anyways, no disrespect to them, I really love their album, but the live show doesn’t quite cut it yet. So we head over to the Alpha stage for the Kaiser Chiefs. Ahhhh, that’s better, they’re a great live band. And it’s crowded too, we can’t even get near the tent they’re playing.
30minutes into their set we have to leave again though because, and there is no dilemma at all who to see here, The Bravery will be on the Grolsch stage. As yesterday already they impress once more, this time with a much better audience as well. They pretty much play just through their one album, but if you haven’t yet and get a chance to you should all definitely check out these guys live.
So after that we have a bit of time to chill and then it’s time for Prodigy already …”
review by LB:
“So here we are, Holland, Lowlands 2005, 9PMish, Alpha Tent.
The main stage is still occupied with Franz Ferdinand, who probably delivered a good set for those who are into them. I am waiting outside the tent, expecting the Franz Ferdinand crowd to move out soon and make room for the Prodigy fans. How silly was I. All of the Franz Ferdinand audience must have been undercover Prodigy fans, camping in and around the moshpit just to be sure they could be in the frontline when Liam & Co. would arrive.
So about a full hour before the gig, the tent was packed with people and one couldn’t move an inch up front. The thing is, I think a large part of the audience were people who were quite new or not too familiar with the band. You could see this by the reactions of people during most of the tracks other than the obvious big tunes. People were going all out on the beats, total chaos from the back to the front of the venue, but it was obvious that the ‘buzz’ about the band’s recent live performances attracted the people to this gig. There was something big about to happen, you could feel it in the whole atmosphere, which was amplified by a thousand through the four large screens near the stage and outside the tent. Every now and then ‘Prodigy in X-minutes’ appeared and made the crowd go mad, screaming and stuff. While I was stuck about 30 meters from the stage, somehow Neko and her friend made it to the pathway in the middle which was setup for clear reasons. Obviously that space would be used by Maxim and Keith, soon to be driven forward by the drilling sounds out of Liam’s hardware cockpit.
And then there it was, finally. The madness had arrived and the new intro kicked off. Personally I think the Wake Up Intro is still the best way to open the gig, because it has a very hypnotic feel to it which really grabs people’s focus. The new intro is pretty basic, and therefore nothing special. It’s just a couple of drums, and reminds me a bit of the Army March stuff. So, Wake Up Intro would be a welcome return.
However, after this Their Law kicks in and it’s just unbelievable this tune still captures the same energy like it did ages ago. It rocked so hard that people were creating moshpits instantly everywhere, you couldn’t escape them. The track’s sharp guitar licks spanked the crowd with a whip created out of metal. Their Law just ate us all alive. Scary. I liked the warped outro, props due Ableton Live ;)
Then Maxim turns his focus to the audience and asked the people, ‘Are you awake?’ ‘.
‘This is gonna wake you the fuck up!’ An Arabian flute sneers through the tent and the Nightbreed beats dropped in and was seriously attacking people’s kidneys. Goddamn! I felt my lungs being crunched. I could hardly breathe when I tried to convince the young girls around me to ‘Wake the fuck up!!’ The sampled voice during the middle is soooo sexy! This horror tune ended with the slowed down vocals of Kelly Charles’ No Good For Me. A little technical flaw here, when Liam must have accidentally skipped the mouse and as a result the voice muted for a few seconds. Or were your ASIO buffers set too low? ;)
The audience cheers en claps when Hotride is started off. This must have been El Batori Mix 23, cos it’s all samples of the original put in the blender and spit out over the venue. Personally I think it really didn’t work, apart from the reverse guitar parts in the beginning. Keith shouldn’t sing the Juliette Lewis parts anymore if you ask me. Liam, was this your excuse for missing out on Juliette that day? She could have been there ;) To be short: the tune spread a very confused energy around. The phased synths at the end rocked though.
Next one. Breathe. The intro gets of course instantly recognized and both Maxim and Keith are on fire. There is a new guitar sound in the beginning, which I thought Liam played live over the top of it. One thing about the vocals, is that I think the venue causes some kind of ‘Hall’ effects on them. It all took place in a tent and somehow the voices of both Flint and Maxim sounded very hollow sometimes. But Liam did a nice job putting some echo’s over their lines now and then. This gave their vocals a great extra noise when they finished the chorus: ‘Exhale-Ex-Hale-Ex-Hale-Hale-Hale!!’ Liam then again played some noises thru the track after the short intermezzo along with a howling guitar which sounded like a werewolf on speed.
Breathe is still full of energy. A timeless tune. Maxim finished with a scream so hard, I was surprised I didn’t see his lungs come out. Evil!
There were some extra synth sounds to be heard, which I think were samples and no live playing. The audience claps again. The loop speeds up, definitely a sample’, and SPITFIRE enters the room.
‘It’s your time!’ Are you fucking ready? Are you ready? ‘Whhhooooooooaaaahh!’
Couple of laser sounds triggered by Liam brings the audience on full alert, and Maxim’, well Maxim shows why he is still there and why people should really look out for him. I believe I saw some frightened girls walking back when he did this tune. They were obviously shocked, and then again, just like at Pinkpop, some people just weren’t PREPARED for this band. It must have been quite a shock though, when you have listened to the friendly pop of Franz Ferdinand for over an hour, and then suddenly this black voodoo dude with tie rushes up front and turns out to be your worst nightmare. Maxim looked into the audience like Jack Nicholson looked at Shelley Duval when he wanted to murder her in The Shining. If looks could kill there would be a graveyard in the Alpha tent right now!
‘Take em back to school, and teach em how to build bombs!’
One-two-three-four drops in unexpectedly fast and we’re once again pushed to the back by the G-force coming out of Liam’s mobile laboratory. Where I stood, absolutely nobody knew this tune (OK, I didn’t ask around’), but they just had to go crazy on it. Maxim whispered the vocals while a tribal drum noise brought the crowd into ecstasy. And yes, then there they clap again. We Dutch people clap you know? I don’t know where the hell it comes from. But we clap, yeah. It’s no big deal to us.
Ohh, Liam puts out a newly processed Arabian sound out right over the Back To Skool mix. Not sure if it is part of the original version, but it glides so slippery over the rockhard drums it just makes a God of Maxim’s performance. He certainly went to new heights on this one.
Back To Skool finished with the extended ‘demonvoices’ which were previously part of the middle of the track, where Maxim whispered. Immediately after this the reversed guitars of Firestarter made the crowd totally wild again. And yes, even the scary girls get their smiles back again because this one had actually been in the top ten along with all their popstars. So it’s probably a quite safe and predictable area after all ;)
Ehmm. I think Keith screamed a little too much over the top during the second of the half of the track. Just a little tiny bitty too much. Man, I felt chased by a fucking lion Keith! The new version of Firestarter kept the crowd from getting totally in it, just because it was slightly different to the original, with all the new synth and stuff, but that isn’t a bad thing.
Keith goes on with the Action radar line and on this one I prefer to hear the female vocal line. Ah there it is, but it’s not a female voice anymore. Drums come in and it loops for quite a few times. Ah, there are the female ones, all in the mix. ‘A little action is what I need.’ You gotta love it. The public gets some time to catch their breath, as the Action radar samples continue to move along slowly. At this point the atmosphere in the place feels like a landscape right after a nuclear disaster. I do feel lost, weird, it’s like experiencing the status quo. We’re all lost and held hostage by the Prodigy. And it ain’t over yet. Oh boy.
Bitches get it on! Hustlers get it on! Flint is back, the guitarloop of Warning is still catchy as fuck, but the overall mix is just too confusing. I agree with Neko here. Warning new version is like Hotride El Batori version 54. Too overdone. People wanna be moved Liam, not being raped ;) The middle part is still nice, the synths which go something like ‘pa-pa-pa-pam-pam-da-dam'(you know what I mean). It does have some victory feel over it. Something that loads of people indeed do feel united by. Warning has the potential to become one of the new Prodigy anthems, once being released at some point. But please Liam, safe the Ableton tricks for rainy Sunday afternoons when Nathalie is out with the kids and please bring back the tight, catchy, original Warning. You’ve been warned! And Keith hey, your over the top screaming actually does work on this tune! Keep it up. Yes, I’m talking to you. ;)
Maxim comes back, I was missing him already. The people behind the cameras focus too much on Keith for my taste. I really wanted the cams to be focusing on Maxim, especially during the short intermezzos, because that’s when Max’s evil side comes out. When it’s silent. Like predators only hunt when there’s no other distraction. Maxim is as always on fire with Wake Up. Another Prodigy live anthem in the works! I think in the end it has the ability to rise to the level of Their Law and the original Warning. It’s the perfect stage material. It really fucks us up. Wake Up should be the first tune in the set if you ask me though. Even before Their Law. It’s pure class entrance material!
Thunder sounds come up after Wake Up. My tummy drills. Voodoo People is played. I believe people only started to recognize this tune when the melodies came in. Dutch people are very into melodies and catchy hooks. My experience is also that Dutch people dance to the kickdrums and NOT to the hihats and snaredrums, like British people do. That immediately explains why drum and bass isn’t too popular here (sadly) and the 4-beat Hardhouse style is. Anyway, Dutch people need hooks. And we need uplifting sounds. Because the weather sucks most of the year and it gets dark early. Voodoo does a great job cheering us up. ;)
An intermezzo after this tune’and the crowd screams for more. Band leaves the stage. Loads of people are confused and want more. They bounce their feet on the floor and it sounds like a hailstorm on a plastic roof. Maxim returns and wants to be convinced by the audience. ‘You want a little more’? Industrial noise improvised by Liam deafens our ears. A morphing sound appears and there are Kung-Fu samples thrown in the mix. Kill Bill meets FSOL. People start clapping again. (*sigh*). And there it is. The Remedy. Bring me the Poison!!
Poison is still as hot as before. Maxim’s voice gets echoed again and he rocks the floor like a black Puma with epilepsy. Yes I got the Poison. Yes I got the riddim!
The second half of Poison, always the best part of the tune, makes people stretch themselves out to the roof. Maxim takes us through the pages of the Second Chapter and God do we love his story! Liam is putting up some nice little cocaine act on one of his keyboards and Keith licks the faces of all cute girls in the front. You can actually do all this, unpunished, when you’re a rockstar. Nice. Then SMBU followed and it, as usual, went down very well with the Dutch crowd. And tonight is no exception. It’s by far the most popular tune of Prodigy here and people started smacking their bitches right away. Nasty! And we love the Kool Keith sample!!
The Shahin Badar vocal makes us all drift away to the Middle East. In our search for weapons of mass destruction we meet Liam and he fires the choon up once more with mindblowing improvised kickdrums. Maxim gets echoed more tonight than that he threatened security guards in the nineties. The rock solid Korg Prophecy bassline makes the crowd move like a Tsunami, back and forth. It’s hard not to drop down on the floor. But we hold on. It’s really too early to die!
Liam gets away from his setup for a few seconds and then returns. Maxim tells us that we deserve anything we get in life. Anything we fucking want, we shall receive!
A hippedyhoppedy rhythm wakes us up again. And next there’s the famous Out Of Space pad joining in. As expected the audience heavily reacts on the bells of the tune. It’s a tune from our childhood. This band is amazing. They’ve been around!
When this anthem finishes, the audience repeats the chorus endlessly. Liam, Maxim and Keith must have had a great time hearing it all the way back in the dressing room. I hope you heard us singing Liam, Maxim and Keith. We were full of happiness. Because there is nothing more energetic than a night of live Prodigy. You’re the best!
2. Their Law
3. Wake The Fuck Up
4. Hotride (El Batori Mix)
7. Back 2 Skool
9. Action Radar Link
11. Wake Up Call
12. Voodoo People
14. Method Beat
15. Smack My Bitch Up
16. Out Of Space