Review by neko:
So, back to Germany then. After last weekend’s sleep deprivation i get about one day of rest and then the rest of the week is again full-on, work as well as going out related, so by the time i have to get up at 5:30am on Friday to catch my L0.01 Germanwings flight to Cologne/Bonn, I’m already more than knackered again (can you spot the common theme in my reports?).
It’s been cold and raining in London for weeks (apart from the day i was away in Lisbon, of course) and I really had no idea there was a heatwave in mainland Europe going on. Or even that it is June now and officially summer. So it comes a bit as a welcome shock as we land and it’s like 30 degrees and sunny here. Sweet.
Rock am Ring is this massive German festival held on the Nurburg ring, which is located pretty in the much out of nowhere, about an hour South of Bonn. So since I’m not really a big camping person (usually quite difficult to find Internet access and somewhere to plug a hair straightener in) so I head to a hotel in Bonn, where I later meet my friend Sushy who’c soming along with me today. She’s got a car and knows the way, so today I don’t even have to do any thinking, it’s great. We head off at about 6pm towards the festival, well aware that it’s not the 1h drive there that’s gonna take up that much time, but more so the time it takes to find a parking somewhere in this absolutely massive area and then find the right places to get in.
Once we’re in, this festival really is a big as everyone says it is, and since it doesn’t spread out that well in the main areas it’s very very crowded. Full of drunks as well. While I usually quite enjoy my drink as well, I still wouldn’t walk around, puke right in front of somebody’s feet and then continue drinking. About half of people here seem to be in that state though here, ewww. And it’s only 9pm.
Anyways, Green Day are on the main stage now and that’s where we’re heading to. Or should I say try to head to. It’s so massively crowded like nothing else I’ve seen before. We are standing far enough away from the stage that we can’t see anything of it at all anymore (and not really hear it that well either), and it’s still crowded where we are and people are pushing. Pretty mad. Green Day are an amazing live band. I’d seen them before and expected no less from them here. The fact that it is so crowded obviously only speaks for them, but its of course a bit annoying as we can’t really see or hear much of it (and are too lazy to push forward). It’s good stuff though, I’ love to see them in a smaller place now.
Now, one thing I forgot to mention is as well, that obviously with my arrival here now the weather has gone cold and it’s started raining (It must be either me or the prodigy bringing the bad weather). So after Green Day we’re cold and tired and I can’t bear all the people here anymore so we go and chill a bit in the nicely heated car. As it starts raining heavily now there’s not much incentive to go and see Slipknot on the Alternastage at midnight before Prodigy. After a quick stop to sample the local Caipiroshkas (i’m impressed they sell them at the festival!) we’re back at the Alternastage about 1:30am, catching just the last tracks by Slipknot, who are actually really good. They get a very mad audience obviously, lots of crowd response, which isn’t too unexpected after having seen numerous fans with slipknot shirts around the festival all day.
As they finish, the audience completely changes. Most of the Slipknot kiddies are leaving and joining the crowd are all the nice people like you and me. Prodigy were supposed to be on 1:45am, but with Slipknot finishing slightly late this seems now more like 2:15am. After Madrid last week this doesn’t seem all that late anymore actually, ha ha.
This is the second time I hear the new track Razor and I’m still not sure what to think of it. Although I think I now know why I’m not too keen on it. The beats in this track are absolutely great and hard, everything a Prodigy fan could wish for. But somehow the vocals fitted the Flint version, but don’t really fit into the Prodigy version. Most of the time when writing a Prodigy track Liam takes some vocals and treats them as samples, and then that works really well with his music. These vocals here belong to a full track, but just don’t really match Liam’s production I think. It could be a bit due to the festival sound as well, but I really can’t get much out of the vocals from this track here.
The great bit about Razor though is how it fades into Back to School. One of the most perfect links (without actually requiring a link) ever.
Overall the gig is so so. I can’t really put a finger on it why I’m not all that much into it as usual, since there’s nothing in particular that’s wrong, but it just doesn’t feel 100% right. It’s a good gig, and the band do all their tricks to make it great, but if I’m really critical, it seems almost too enforced tonight.
The show is being filmed (for MTV I think) and the whole performance is way too much focused on the cameras. They know well how to play the cameras and this is of course what the band have to do (I’m sure the recording of this will look great), but when you’re in the audience you can tell that this gig compared to others is lacking that spontaneous and mad element and it’s more a tried and tested route the band are going. Again, nothing wrong with that as for most people in the audience (and especially in front of the TV) this is the first time for a while or ever that they’d seen them so it’s of course important that it works. And it does. Just doesn’t make it break into my hitlist of greatest gigs though.
Additional to the above it’s also a bit due to that weird audience. There’s a lot of people going mad for it but in many cases you get a bit a feeling as if they’re just doing that for the sake of it, rather than because of The Prodigy. Just your typical drunk festival audience at 3am in the morning. Again, nothing wrong with being drunk at a festival at 3am in the morning, I don’t blame anyone, but it just doesn’t make it my favourite show.
So, hmmm, a bit a strange one. It finishes at 4am and we jump straight into the car and drive back to Bonn while the sun is rising yet again. Get to bed at 6am eventually.
1. Wake Up Intro
2. Their Law
3. Wake Up Call
8. Back 2 Skool
10. Action Radar Link
13. Smack My Bitch Up