@ Wembley Arena, London, 17 April 2009
Prodigy's latest album Invaders Must Die has split the critics
down the middle.
the one side there are those hailing the Prodigy's return
to form and the explosive raw energy that they made their
name with, while on the other there are those snootily looking
down their noses and dismissing it as a regressive return
to the trio's ravey sound of yore.
the hacks say, the public seem to have taken the Essex trio
back to their hearts, with the album hitting Number 1 and
lingering around the top 10 for the past two months.
Once Dizzee Rascal has plied the enthusiastic
crowd with his hard-hitting grime set and fellow support
act Kissy Sell Out has unleashed a big
room dance set, the curtain shunts forward and the lights
come up for Liam, Keith and Maxim to break straight into
World's On Fire.
hit the ground running they run excitedly through tracks
both new and old at a breathtaking pace, airing Their Law,
Voodoo People and Firestarter alongside the fantastically
manic Warrior's Dance, current single Omen, and stomping
new track, Comanche. It's like one long adrenaline rush.
One complaint could be that there really is no let up, which
could prove exhausting, but in reality the onslaught is
Howlett has always excelled at mixing up his own tunes and
contorting them into completely new shapes, a talent he
displays on several occasions tonight as perennial favourites
Breathe and Poison are extended and Jericho receives a complete
revamp. Keith and Maxim work off each other's energy, geeing
each other up and shouting in each other's faces before
turning to the crowd to do the same. A sea of arms then
shoots heavenward on demand.
crowd bay for an encore and the Braintree boys duly oblige,
reprising Omen then leading into Invaders Must Die and Take
Me To The Hospital, with its organ-pummelling bass accompanied
by the continuing, retina-frying light show.
finale comes in the form of Out Of Space which sees the
whole audience in their thousands providing vocals. Whether
anyone could have ever envisaged the original rave ethic
spawning a mass stadium singalong 20 years down the line
is doubtful, and it's certain that there are probably some
white gloved cronies out there who begrudge what happened
to 'their' scene', but all of that is irrelevant when there's
this much fun to be had.
Howlett has repeated throughout the band's 18-year career
that without the buzz of playing live, The Prodigy would
not exist. Indeed, it's exactly that thrill of performing
that pulled the band back together into the recording studio
to produce an album that demands to be listened to loud
and live. Tonight proved that nearly two decades after breaking
out of the underground, The Prodigy are still relevant,
have rediscovered their creative mojo and, above all, are
still enjoying every second of it. An incendiary performance
that demonstrated how live dance music should be brought
to the stage.
Ian Roullier, 04/2009