LIVE REVIEW: The Prodigy, O2 Academy, Newcastle

THE PRODIGY ... Keith Flint helped whip the crowd into a frenzy at their first Newcastle show in six years.
THE PRODIGY ... Keith Flint helped whip the crowd into a frenzy at their first Newcastle show in six years.
0
Have your say

SIX years after their last visit to Newcastle, Britain’s foremost electronic dance act returned to the city for a Bank Holiday Monday show.

The gig - staged, for some reason at the Academy, rather than the five-times-its-size Arena - was the first of their UK tour to promote new album The Day Is My Enemy.

It might have been an attempt to get more close up and personal with their fans, and unsurprisingly, it sold out within hours.

And while many people who have followed the Essex crew for years will have missed out, the half a dozen touts plying their seedy trade outside seemed to have plenty of spares for sale at inflated prices.

The sense of anticipation was almost palpable as the crowd poured into the venue, and I’m happy to report that The Prodigy delivered - and then some.

It was an old favourite which got us under way, with Breathe, from their 1997 classic The Fat Of The Land, kicking things off in stunning fashion.

The whole floor of the 2,000-capacity venue seemed to be bouncing as one, as main man Liam Howlett laid down the beats and vocalist Keith Flint and MC Maxim whipped the crowd into a frenzy.

The core trio are joined for live performances by a drummer and guitarist, and together they whipped up a maelstrom of sound which didn’t subside for the duration of their set.

Nasty, the lead single from the new record, was next, and if it received a rapturous reception, that was nothing compared to the one afforded to Omen.

Third song in, it was he first of four played from 2009’s Invaders Must Die album, and for me it was song of the night, nothing short of astonishing.

It was no surprise that the latest album accounted for half the 18-song set, and the title track, Get Your Fight On and Rok-Weiler (where Maxim appeared perched on the bar) were the pick of them.

It was the old favourites which the crowd craved, but they were used sparingly; Firestarter appeared five songs in, Voodoo People midway through, and the controversial Smack My Bitch Up (so intense it made your hairs stand on end) closing the set.

Unloved fourth album Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned was ignored completely, but the quartet of tracks from Invaders Must Die were excellent, with the title track another contender for song of the night.

My one quibble was the relatively short time they spent on stage: an hour and 20 minutes, including two encores, seemed scant reward for the thick end of £40, though the energy expended by band - and crowd - in that time would have powered a small town.

Some of their big songs were conspicuous by their absence too: no Out Of Space or Everybody In The Place, as debut album Experience was also overlooked.

But while The Prodigy may have left their rave roots well behind them, they remain an overwhelming force of nature, and anyone with a ticket for this almost-sold-out tour is in for a treat.