Witnness '02 Review - Huge Opportunity Missed.

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Magic Alex

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Jul 16, 2002, 12:43:18 PM7/16/02
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Dull.

That's a word I seem to be using more and more to describe the Prodigy. Who
would have thought it years ago? My favourite band has gone from being one
of the most explosive and inspired acts on the globe to turning in
performances like hour-long episodes of Neighbours. 55 minutes in duration,
two-dimensional ham-acting with the same bad jokes
over and over again.

The Prodigy as I knew them are finished. Despite what other high-profile
commentators might say... from one huge fan to a bunch of others - the group
have gone down a creative cul-de-sac - with what seems like neither the
confidence nor the inspiration to escape.

-----------------------------------------------

Witnness is the biggest festival in Ireland this year - and we were blessed
with
the most beautiful sunshine we've seen in this country this summer. So, even
though the mud on Saturday was pretty grim - reminded me of Glasto 97
actually - the high temp made me glad to be there. All afternoon I was
thinking to myself, "This could be the Prodigy's chance you know... they
really could be special tonight... ". Looking at the main stage it was hard
to imagine a more imposing platform for the bands return to Ireland. The
sound system was incredible (unlike some previous festivals the band have
played here) plus the lighting rig was simply sensational. So - at least
sponsors Guinness had given the Prodigy no excuses - technically this was an
excellent opportunity.

But the band failed to deliver. Again.

The Prodigy were scheduled to come onstage at 11pm, headlining the main
stage. I watched a 'king blinding set from The Chemical Brothers until about
10.50pm and then myself and Nal briskly made our way over to see the band.
We ended up being about 20 meters from the stage but could see everything.
As 11pm ticked past the crowd were "treated" to some old hip-hop from
Public Enemy "Dont Believe the Hype" and the Black Sunday album by Cypress
Hill. An album released in 1994. I know
the irony isn't lost on all of you..............

Ahem.

So, the roadies hoist up the now familiar "Star" logo for the band behind
the already assembled keyboards and drum riser. The stage is set for a
cracker. But the band wait until 11.30pm to take to the stage. Nerves?
Arrogance? Ill let you decide.... but suffice to say over the entire weekend
of this brilliantly run festival the Prodigy were one of the only bands to
not take to the stage as planned. The crowd around me were genuinely
positive. A few "Prodigy Prodigy Prodigy" chants.... one or two "Hurry up
you lazy cants!" from Nal.....

;]

So some twit comes out and introduces them - yawn - get on with it lads.
Liam takes to the stage followed by Kieron. The drum intro starts... the
crowd start going fucking berserk now as Maxim and that other guy come
onstage. The cheers drown out the Kinks sample... so I don't really get to
hear it. So what.... this is my sixth Prodigy gig and my first since 1997 so
I am facking raring to go.... Maxim gives a customary "Its been a long time
Ireland...... but its never too late....!" type address to the throngs of
people (id say there was <30000 at the main stage by now) ... the other guy
is running around like a maniac as usual... then they begin.

Their Law kicks us off.... it was fantastic..... as i said to Nal at the
time it was one of the best renditions of it ive heard. The crowd were going
fucking ballistic and the band seemed to be enjoying it too.... Shawn
Michaels superkicks from Maxim 5 minutes in... sweet. There was a mini fill
with some token vocals by Maxim... pretty non-descript track... no real
impact on the crowd. Next we got Trigger... and I have to agree with Des
here, despite my
abhorrence of the track it went down surprising well at Witnness. Could have
been a spillover effect from the first animal salvo from the band... but for
whatever reason it seemed to be the most successful of the new tracks on the
night. Which was no great claim to make. They all stink in my book. Ive
heard nothing to change that assertion and this gig did nothing to improve
my admittedly negative opinion.

Then Liam played Breathe... it was nearly like Karaoke-Prodigy at this point
with revelers shouting every nuance of the track at the top of their
lungs.... I actually thought to myself "Christ - they still have it" during
Breathe... like Their Law it was one of the best performances ive heard of
this track.... so the first 20 minutes or so of the gig have gone down
brilliantly.... the main lighting effect on stage is a blood red colour and
the band look as vital and vibrant as ever.... would I be proved wrong I
thought as the mighty Breathe finished?

The Massive-Attack style fill "Goblin" was played after Breathe... like the
last fill I can't really see the point in Liam dropping these 90 second
tracks in these gigs..... they don't enhance the buzz at all IMO..... maybe
if it was a full 3 minute version I'd get as exited as other people seem
to - but I can't find anything really interesting to say about this wee
thing. Having just seen the Chemical Brothers play 90 MINUTES of ingeniously
psychedelic completely reworked material before the Prodigy - this cheap
little snippet from Howlett is a plain _embarrassment_ in my book.

Back to known territory with Smack My Bitch Up next and its another
success... the crowd are lapping this up.... everyone around me is pogoing
like the old days and im really enjoying seeing the band again.... the bass
on the PA at Witnness was given a serious once-over by the Prodigy and SMBU
was a highlight of the weekend for me... its one of Howlett's strongest
tracks....

Next is BGAT... <shiver>........

It bombed. I couldnt fucking believe it..... I thought that the majority of
the Witnness faithful would lap it up.... I thought that it would be one of
the big tracks of the whole weekend - despite my personal take on the track.
Basically that other guy is not up to much..... the other guy tries so hard
to be some kind of anarchic icon.... but the track stank to high-heaven. No
cheers when it started like the other tracks, no big crowd response reflex,
no atmosphere... and things gradually began to unravel from here on in. What
a pity. I feel sorry for Liam.... a huge massive back-log of classic dance
tracks in his locker and he has to pander to the other guy's complete lack
of talent. So very sad indeed. With Jimmy Goose Davies on stage I would have
sold my soul to have heard the '95 version of Break and Enter... Liam could
still have kept his rock-chic image with that one couldn't he? And what
about
Claustrophobic Sting? Rhythm of Life? One Love? Funky Shit? Out of Space? No
Good? Molotov Bitch? Liam's mix of the Chem's Voodoo People.........? I
think ive proved my point.

"Fucks sake - trying to enjoy this facking gig man...."

:(

We then get Minefields - a personal favourite - and its okay I guess. The
Witnness PA is the star of the show here again.... it is pretty focking
loud.... Maxim doesn't think the crowd are loud though - understandably the
buzz has been completely lost from this gig.... the other guy jumps down
into the front row and emerges back on stage brandishing an Irish Tricolor
like a crazed revolutionary.... he then tied it round his waist for the rest
of the track.... his best work of the night.

Nuclear was next..... hmmmmm.... the crowd are completely alienated by
now. I felt sick listening to it. It is a complete piece of crap. Anything
would have been better than this - even the piss-poor version of Ghost Town
would have created some kind of a buzz. Maybe in Eastern Europe or the
States Nuclear will work as a track where the really harder edged stuff may
or may not go down a treat.... but in Ireland anyway the fans _just don't
get it_ .... We've grown up with the band playing cracker after cracker at
live shows.... placing this rancid excuse for a punk track at the very heart
of the gig is unforgivable... and the response at the end of the track is
muted at best....

Poison comes to our rescue next... but dare I say it - the track has gotten
old. Their Law still kicks IMO but Poison and its trademark "Get ready for
part two - the presssurrrrrre!" from Maxim is getting a bit staid in 2002.
Great beats, animal sub-bass....... but the other guy bumming in on it
ruined a great track this time around.... what is Liam thinking?

And then - they leave the fucking stage! HAHAHAHA! Headlining the first
festival in the UK or Ireland in years and the main portion of the gig is
over in a little under three-quarters of an hour. Abysmal stuff Howlett. Do
this at Reading and you will get bottled off. Even dogs in the street knew
that they'd come back and the other guy would do his two Fire choons. How
exciting.

They come on and play another demo.... nowt special again..... I was half
hoping to myself that they'd play the opening chords to Weather Exp - but
not to be this time. I understand that this is the much-vaunted "Dust
Yoself"...... dust my hairy arse more like. It was average. Can't remember
it too well - unlike huge portions of the gig by Prodigy labelmates Lemon
Jelly on Sunday whose gig was 70% new material..... for any of you Orbital
fans out there.... man....... LJ were just excellent in the Dance Tent. As I
discussed with Des, the Prodigy's successes have enabled XL to sign bands
like Lemon Jelly.... so at least there's _that_ to be thankful for. Their
new
album "Lost Horizons" will be out later in the year and I for one am looking
forward to it far more that AONO.

The other guy came out and sang his two fiery "anthems" .... yippedydoodaa.
The second half of "Firestarter" was actually pretty neat..... the crowd
responded with a few moments of old-school prodigy gig vibes.... then Fuel
My Fire was played and I wished I had gone over to see Air with some of my
other buddies.... how depressing. So depressing in fact that I realised that
the keyboard motif middle-eight on FMF is more or less a complete rip-off
from the Theme to Michael Barrymore's Strike It Lucky. Think about it.

The band left after that.... Liam and Maxim didn't really give a shit about
the fans it seemed as they both left the stage so fast..... I wasn't looking
to see what the other guy was doing.

------------------------------------------


All in all a massive chance to reclaim old titles went by the wayside.
Prodigy are a spent force.... Liam seemed well and truly arsed with the
whole thing.... an adoring fanbase was cheated again. The new stuff sucked
and the whole vibe of the gig was ruined as a result. We _should_ have got
one of the tracks I named above. The set-list hasn't changed from the gigs
played in Europe last year..... how very very disappointing.

Liam seems to have no confidence in his back catalogue - this is a fatal
mistake to make..... if he dropped Charly to the adoring crowd at Witnness I
would probably be here claiming the man is God like years gone by. But they
made no attempt to personalise the gig. That's a selfish thing to do IMO....
They didn't even play for an hour..... shameful. This was the first time the
majority of this crowd had seen the band. Depressing.

After the Point NYE 1995 I was convinced I'd seen the future. I would never
have even imagined a future like this.

Think twice before you believe some of the hype from other sources.
And thanks for reading.

Magic Alex.

Nal

unread,
Jul 16, 2002, 3:19:08 PM7/16/02
to

--
"...songs for dead blondes man....and you wanna hear the dirty mouth on the
little faggot...what a little bitch"
Keith Richards on Elton John
Magic Alex <wez...@fergsass.com> wrote in message
news:ah1i9u$n9t$1...@dorito.esatclear.ie...

> Point taken, but to be fair though, 2 things made the festival great
1. The mud fights during Green Day, lobbing the mud into the hot dog vendors
2. Throwing half a litre of piss over the Oasis crowd

Word

Nal
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Peter Thomas

unread,
Jul 20, 2002, 4:44:07 AM7/20/02
to
On Tue, 16 Jul 2002 17:43:18 +0100, "Magic Alex"
<wez...@fergsass.com> wrote:

>The Massive-Attack style fill "Goblin" was played after Breathe... like the
>last fill I can't really see the point in Liam dropping these 90 second
>tracks in these gigs..... they don't enhance the buzz at all IMO..... maybe
>if it was a full 3 minute version I'd get as exited as other people seem
>to - but I can't find anything really interesting to say about this wee
>thing. Having just seen the Chemical Brothers play 90 MINUTES of ingeniously
>psychedelic completely reworked material before the Prodigy - this cheap
>little snippet from Howlett is a plain _embarrassment_ in my book.

Quite simply, we need more jam tracks, just like 1995.

>Nuclear was next..... hmmmmm.... the crowd are completely alienated by
>now. I felt sick listening to it. It is a complete piece of crap. Anything
>would have been better than this - even the piss-poor version of Ghost Town
>would have created some kind of a buzz. Maybe in Eastern Europe or the
>States Nuclear will work as a track where the really harder edged stuff may
>or may not go down a treat.... but in Ireland anyway the fans _just don't
>get it_ .... We've grown up with the band playing cracker after cracker at
>live shows.... placing this rancid excuse for a punk track at the very heart
>of the gig is unforgivable... and the response at the end of the track is
>muted at best....

It's scary that altho Liam is realising BGAT is a low and that it's
best to keep it off the new album, we have had no word on Nuclear or
Trigger.

I know BGAT blows, but Nuclear and Trigger are even worse. Let's hope
they're kept off AONO too!

>Poison comes to our rescue next... but dare I say it - the track has gotten
>old. Their Law still kicks IMO but Poison and its trademark "Get ready for
>part two - the presssurrrrrre!" from Maxim is getting a bit staid in 2002.
>Great beats, animal sub-bass....... but the other guy bumming in on it
>ruined a great track this time around.... what is Liam thinking?

Keith - STAY OFF MAXIM'S TRACKS!

>And then - they leave the fucking stage! HAHAHAHA! Headlining the first
>festival in the UK or Ireland in years and the main portion of the gig is
>over in a little under three-quarters of an hour. Abysmal stuff Howlett.

I thought they enjoyed the "buzz" of playing live, as mentioned in 99%
of their interviews? Hmm...

>So depressing in fact that I realised that
>the keyboard motif middle-eight on FMF is more or less a complete rip-off
>from the Theme to Michael Barrymore's Strike It Lucky. Think about it.

Feckin' hell, you're right!

>All in all a massive chance to reclaim old titles went by the wayside.
>Prodigy are a spent force.... Liam seemed well and truly arsed with the
>whole thing.... an adoring fanbase was cheated again. The new stuff sucked
>and the whole vibe of the gig was ruined as a result. We _should_ have got
>one of the tracks I named above. The set-list hasn't changed from the gigs
>played in Europe last year..... how very very disappointing.

The atmosphere you described sounds just like a 2001 gig, so it's not
just the set-lists that are stale.


>After the Point NYE 1995 I was convinced I'd seen the future. I would never
>have even imagined a future like this.
>Think twice before you believe some of the hype from other sources.
>And thanks for reading.

Personlly, I'm waiting for Rob De Ford's review of the gig. :)

--
pete {at} prodigy-nexus {dot} com

"But hey, you keep flaming Peter if you want, don't let actual facts get
in the way." - Tony Gowland addressing Rob De Ford, 4 Oct 2000.

Magic Alex

unread,
Jul 20, 2002, 2:52:57 PM7/20/02
to

"Peter Thomas" <see-m...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:3d391c26...@news.ntlworld.com...

> On Tue, 16 Jul 2002 17:43:18 +0100, "Magic Alex"
> <wez...@fergsass.com> wrote:
>
> >The Massive-Attack style fill "Goblin" was played after Breathe... like
the
> >last fill I can't really see the point in Liam dropping these 90 second
> >tracks in these gigs..... they don't enhance the buzz at all IMO.....
maybe
> >if it was a full 3 minute version I'd get as exited as other people seem
> >to - but I can't find anything really interesting to say about this wee
> >thing. Having just seen the Chemical Brothers play 90 MINUTES of
ingeniously
> >psychedelic completely reworked material before the Prodigy - this cheap
> >little snippet from Howlett is a plain _embarrassment_ in my book.
>
> Quite simply, we need more jam tracks, just like 1995.

More _real_ tracks please.

>
> >Nuclear was next..... hmmmmm.... the crowd are completely alienated by
> >now. I felt sick listening to it. It is a complete piece of crap.
Anything
> >would have been better than this - even the piss-poor version of Ghost
Town
> >would have created some kind of a buzz. Maybe in Eastern Europe or the
> >States Nuclear will work as a track where the really harder edged stuff
may
> >or may not go down a treat.... but in Ireland anyway the fans _just don't
> >get it_ .... We've grown up with the band playing cracker after cracker
at
> >live shows.... placing this rancid excuse for a punk track at the very
heart
> >of the gig is unforgivable... and the response at the end of the track is
> >muted at best....
>
> It's scary that altho Liam is realising BGAT is a low and that it's
> best to keep it off the new album, we have had no word on Nuclear or
> Trigger.

Dead right... i think he needs to let the media know that the album's not
gonna be out till 2005 and take a reign-check on the new stuff for the time
being.

>
> I know BGAT blows, but Nuclear and Trigger are even worse. Let's hope
> they're kept off AONO too!

Doubt it.

>
> >Poison comes to our rescue next... but dare I say it - the track has
gotten
> >old. Their Law still kicks IMO but Poison and its trademark "Get ready
for
> >part two - the presssurrrrrre!" from Maxim is getting a bit staid in
2002.
> >Great beats, animal sub-bass....... but the other guy bumming in on it
> >ruined a great track this time around.... what is Liam thinking?
>
> Keith - STAY OFF MAXIM'S TRACKS!

Yeah - from the way they performed at Witnness, Keith's persona seems to be
taking over the entire group. Liam and Maxim were muted in comparison to the
little bollix.

>
> >And then - they leave the fucking stage! HAHAHAHA! Headlining the first
> >festival in the UK or Ireland in years and the main portion of the gig is
> >over in a little under three-quarters of an hour. Abysmal stuff Howlett.
>
> I thought they enjoyed the "buzz" of playing live, as mentioned in 99%
> of their interviews? Hmm...

Let's see what happens at Reading... who knows - maybe someone with some
clout has read my review and will encourage a change of tack? We can but
hope Pete.

>
> >So depressing in fact that I realised that
> >the keyboard motif middle-eight on FMF is more or less a complete rip-off
> >from the Theme to Michael Barrymore's Strike It Lucky. Think about it.
>
> Feckin' hell, you're right!

Theres a new "connections" question for your next Prodigy quiz.

>
> >All in all a massive chance to reclaim old titles went by the wayside.
> >Prodigy are a spent force.... Liam seemed well and truly arsed with the
> >whole thing.... an adoring fanbase was cheated again. The new stuff
sucked
> >and the whole vibe of the gig was ruined as a result. We _should_ have
got
> >one of the tracks I named above. The set-list hasn't changed from the
gigs
> >played in Europe last year..... how very very disappointing.
>
> The atmosphere you described sounds just like a 2001 gig, so it's not
> just the set-lists that are stale.

The gig was good to start with but rapidly became a shadow of their former
glory days.


>
>
> >After the Point NYE 1995 I was convinced I'd seen the future. I would
never
> >have even imagined a future like this.
> >Think twice before you believe some of the hype from other sources.
> >And thanks for reading.
>
> Personlly, I'm waiting for Rob De Ford's review of the gig. :)

ATTN BEAKER: lol

Peter Thomas

unread,
Jul 20, 2002, 5:38:11 PM7/20/02
to
On Sat, 20 Jul 2002 19:52:57 +0100, "Magic Alex"
<wez...@fergsass.com> wrote:

>> Quite simply, we need more jam tracks, just like 1995.
>More _real_ tracks please.

Ah, but Trigger, BGAT and Nuclear are "real" tracks. I could think of
so many mid-90s jam tracks that would wipe the floor with them.

>> It's scary that altho Liam is realising BGAT is a low and that it's
>> best to keep it off the new album, we have had no word on Nuclear or
>> Trigger.
>Dead right... i think he needs to let the media know that the album's not
>gonna be out till 2005 and take a reign-check on the new stuff for the time
>being.

Drop the "other guy"!

>> Keith - STAY OFF MAXIM'S TRACKS!
>Yeah - from the way they performed at Witnness, Keith's persona seems to be
>taking over the entire group. Liam and Maxim were muted in comparison to the
>little bollix.

"And now ladies and gentleman, on stage, Keith Flint and The
Prodigy!!!"

>> >And then - they leave the fucking stage! HAHAHAHA! Headlining the first
>> >festival in the UK or Ireland in years and the main portion of the gig is
>> >over in a little under three-quarters of an hour. Abysmal stuff Howlett.
>> I thought they enjoyed the "buzz" of playing live, as mentioned in 99%
>> of their interviews? Hmm...
>Let's see what happens at Reading... who knows - maybe someone with some
>clout has read my review and will encourage a change of tack? We can but
>hope Pete.

Maybe a nu-metal crowd would appreciate the "other guy" :-(

>> >So depressing in fact that I realised that
>> >the keyboard motif middle-eight on FMF is more or less a complete rip-off
>> >from the Theme to Michael Barrymore's Strike It Lucky. Think about it.
>> Feckin' hell, you're right!
>Theres a new "connections" question for your next Prodigy quiz.

Aye...

Q: Fuel My Fire sounds like the theme tune to which quiz show hosted
by a guy who has no ashtrays in his house because he puts his fags out
in the pool?

>> The atmosphere you described sounds just like a 2001 gig, so it's not
>> just the set-lists that are stale.
>The gig was good to start with but rapidly became a shadow of their former
>glory days.

Tribute band feeling, eh?

>> >Think twice before you believe some of the hype from other sources.
>> >And thanks for reading.
>> Personlly, I'm waiting for Rob De Ford's review of the gig. :)
>ATTN BEAKER: lol

ATTN BEAKER:
http://tourism.brighton.co.uk/pubs/introductionvb.asp?topbar=no

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