A ripple of energy passes through the busy crowds as everyone hurries in to Nottingham Capital FM arena on the wintery November night. The drinks are flowing and there are chills in the air as everyone eagerly awaits the big night ahead for the return of ‘the Godfathers of Rave’ the Prodigy.
To start, hip-hop legends Public Enemy stormed the stage with their controversial, political set. Kicking the evening off, they were a class above your average support band blasting out classic tracks such as ‘911 Is A Joke’ and ‘Fight the Power’ mixing them with their new additions: ‘Lost In Space Music’. Not ones to miss as the crowds began to fill up and get restless.
Of what seems like an eternity, the lights dim unexpectedly and a roar from the crowd beckons the group on stage.
The set begins with none other than their classic ‘Breathe’, one of their most iconic tracks, and they sound as sharp and cutting as they did 25 years ago. ‘Nasty’ then follows from their new album ‘The Day Is My Enemy’ which came out earlier this year. There’s no sign of stopping with Keef Flint holding nothing back, creating a rifling swirl of sweaty bodies beneath him wanting more. As expected, ‘Omen’ and ‘Firestarter’ get immense reactions with everyone singing the familiar lyrics and tune.
The ‘Day is My Enemy’ and ‘Beyond the Deathray’ receive a welcome reception from the crowd as the lights move from red to blue and they yo-yo from classic to new. Despite the new additions being decades newer than the classics, they still have the familiar Prodigy twang. This, accompanied by the ferocious light display, show that the Prodigy were built for the big stage and 90 minutes was clearly not enough.
‘Voodoo People’ is teased in as the white lights are stripped down. Whoever said Thursday is the new Friday was spot on. “It’s The Prodigy turned up to 11, lights tuned low and ram-raiding the back doors of popular culture.”
The new album takes you on a journey through the unchartered underbelly of urban nightlife. With tracks called ‘Get Your Fight On’ and ‘Wall of Death’ (played in the encore), it is not surprising that the Prodigy avert themselves from being called a dance act and more a punk band (Liam Howlett describes how he uses music as an “attack”).
Only two weeks ago, the Prodigy fans were in for another treat to the Arena tour as the Expanded Edition of ‘The Day is my Enemy’ was released with 36 tracks, featuring unreleased remixes, working with artists such as Wilkinson, Spor and Shadow Child. As a result, the set is mainly revolved around the new album, with the classics dropped sporadically for the crowd to revel in. Saying that, it didn’t really make a difference to the crowd. The combination of lights, heavy electronic bass and energy on stage allows the group to mix old and new material seamlessly.
The main set is ended with no other than the controversial ‘Smack My Bitch Up’, which has been voted as one of the greatest dance records of all time. The thrillingly combative street music echoes throughout the arena.
The Prodigy’s performance does not tire, Maxim and Flint have the crowd singing in unison as ‘Take Me to Hospital’ is the last track to be played. It is safe to say that the set was so well engineered that the new additions were not a hindrance but an extension of their relentless raw sound, ultimately showing that they are one of the best live acts this planet has to offer.
by Shana Gujral