Gig Review by Stuart Lilley with Photography by Andy Watson

The Prodigy

Dear Keith, Maxim & Liam- THANK YOU! Thank you for making me feel so proud to be British at a time of uncertainty. The Prodigy are The Kings of Big Beat & this evening firmly established that view. The outreach that these guys possess reeks of grandeur. The crowd consisted of early teens to shameless OAPs all bouncing off the walls of The Barclaycard Arena to the sound of EDM royalty!

This show was going to be massive from the off. Public Enemy in support, performing their greats & creating the mood for the next few hours that oozed with creative genius. The message, highlighted by Flavor Flav’s powerful speech was that this is our culture, our music & if anyone tries to break that then we will “Shut Em Down!” It was a ‘middle fingers up’ approach to the events of recent weeks that have encouraged “separatism” & “racism”. Don’t believe the hype!

The Prodigy

“Let’s go!” exclaimed Maxim as The Prodigy arrived with ‘Breathe’. The backdrop appeared like a galactic compass laced with bright white flashing light replicating a storm of the highest effect. After lightning then comes thunder & the crowd obliged with a rapture of welcoming applause.

A plethora of green light filled the stage area as things were about to get “Nasty, Nasty”. We reached a countdown so early on & this came as surprise to me. It allowed for a breather from the opener,  Maxim cried out “Is this Birmingham or what!?” & ‘Nasty’ dropped. The crowd rose with pulsating energy to one of The Prodge’s more recent offerings.

The Prodigy

Maxim’s calls to action were a common theme throughout & along with the reference to the UK’s 2nd largest city we heard “Say what, I can’t hear ya?” “Where are ya?” The crowd, to what seemed impossible, responded with more & more energy.

The visual was created by Andy Hurst & what a light show. ‘Omen’ was assisted by oranges & blues exuding from the UFO-like lighting & royal blue fans complemented the interlude to ‘Voodoo People’ with the eeriness of a face cam on the drummer & the DJ in sepia effect. For ‘Firestarter’ the colours of the Union Jack were the appropriate accompaniment for a heated crowd with jackets flying. My visual highlight for our electronic gurus was the grey set with the focus on the instruments in red.

The Prodigy

The red exploded when ‘The Day Is My Enemy’ broke out.  Maxim was shouting out to all his ‘Warriors’ & stood arrogantly with his arm resting on the guitarist’s shoulder before one last drop. ‘The Day Is My Enemy’ is the title track & opening track to The Prodigy’s latest album. It was duly welcomed by all members of the crowd & the arena’s appreciation was more than apparent with magnificent applause before ‘Voodoo People’.

The Prodigy

As previously mentioned the epic build up to ‘Voodoo People’ was classy.  The blue fans cooled Keith Flint & Maxim Reality before they endeared to the crowd of ‘magic people’ & ‘voodoo people’. The energy from these guys was out of this world. There was no stopping them, both in their late 40s & continually encouraging their crowd to keep up. Keith’s double Mohican hairstyle, dyed blonde not green like the famous video for ‘Breathe’, was not wilting either.

The Prodigy

The euphoric moments were at ‘Voodoo People’ & ‘No Good’. ‘No Good’ certainly started the dance for ‘The Old School’ as Keith referred to them. Every seated ticket became standing & the whole arena was in chorus, “You’re no good for me, I don’t need nobody! Don’t need no-one that’s no good for me!” Unfortunately, there was only one round of this so it had to be savoured.

There were a few occasions when Maxim’s calls to action were not responded to. Pointing at the centre of the crowd he called for the ‘fighters’ for ‘Get Your Fight On’. I was expecting a mosh pit & I can imagine it was his intention. Maybe it was the demographic of the crowd; I saw families, so the outcome was more bouncing & jumping with flailing arms. When ‘Run With The Wolves’ began he told us all, “Birmingham, you better run!” & here I noticed the crowd fade near to the back of the arena.

The Prodigy

Nevertheless, this was one big party & where would the party be without their self-acclaimed ‘anthem’? ‘Smack My B*tch Up’ was announced as ‘Invaders Must Die’ curtailed. “Here comes the anthem”, screamed Keith. Like the Jaws theme the opening notes induced squeals & shouts from a sea of gratitude. This was epic! How much more could we take!?

Jason Sleaford from Sleaford Mods entered to lead the raucous ‘Ibizaaaa’. This was a real celebration of the stereotypical lager loving 90s Brit. Refreshingly from ‘The Day Is My Enemy’, it is the epitome of the behaviour The Prodigy’s sound creates & thrives with.

The Prodigy

Maxim, being the MC for the night’s entertainment, told everyone if they heard anything like what was about to be from their performance of ‘Take Me To The Hospital’ then they are to “Bring them to me!” He also shouted to inform us this was “The last one”. Really?

Some of the people in the crowd probably needed it to be the last one. They may have needed the hospital to recover from exhaustion because at The Prodigy at The Barclaycard Arena on December 3rd we gave everything!

The Prodigy

Then came the bells of ‘Out of Space’…

The lights were going down. Jovial boos became real. It was to be an anti-climax. A minority grasping so tightly to the prospect of a real encore with a choral, “I’m gonna send him to outer space, find another race.”

The Prodigy

It was a disgruntled end to a very impressive night of British Excellency. ‘Controversial’ was an understatement. Then it came to me that we had not heard ‘Spitfire’, ‘Jericho’, ‘Thunder’ or ‘Warrior’s Dance’! ‘Charly’?  ‘Girls’? ‘Poison’?

What does that say about our boys, The Prodigy?

They have produced GOLD & continue to do so. –THANK YOU!

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