2005.07.15 – Gurtenfestival, Bern, Switzerland

Date: 15th July 2005
Event: Gurtenfestival
Venue: Gurten
City: Bern
Country: Switzerland
Support: see timetable

1. Wake Up Intro
2. Wake Up Call
3. Their Law
4. Warning
5. Breathe
6. Spitfire
7. Back 2 Skool
8. Firestarter
9. Action Radar Link
10. Mindfields
11. Voodoo People
12. Poison
13. Smack My Bitch Up
14. Out Of Space

Extra info:
Mainstage timetable:
12:00 – 13:30 Desorden Publico
14:45 – 16:15 Patrice
17:30 – 19:00 Mando Diao
20:30 – 22:00 Athlete
23:45 – 01:15 The Prodigy

Review by neko:
Lovely and almost unbearably hot weather here in Switzerland… the Prodigy are playing my home country, so it’s a good day indeed.
We only get to the festival at about 9pm. The location is a bit outside Switzerland’s capital Bern, up on a hill. The only way to get into the fest is by using a funny special train [www.gurtenbahn.ch] (unless you like walking).
The line up isn’t exactly too hot (on the main stage currently are Athlete), but they serve Caipiroshkas so we have a drink and a look around. After 10pm then we check out the Beatsteaks on the second stage. They’re some German punk band and pretty big here, so the tent isn’t even big enough for everyone wanting to see them. I’m not too keen on them as it’s a bit the same all over again with every track, just your standard teen punk. My sister likes them, so we watch a bit.
Later on the main stage are of course today’s headliners The Prodigy. The main stage is on one side of the hill and the whole audience area rises up slightly for people to view hem perfectly so it’s very nicely laid out. Great atmosphere as well.
Just a bit after 23:45 then the familiar Wake Up Intro comes on. We’re somewhere squashed near the front quite on the side with a great view over the stage as over the audience. The band come on stage and start the set with Wake Up Call. Yeah, this is back in the beginning of the set again now, which makes sense of course.
It’s a good start and despite what people think of Switzerland, they’re actually usually a quite mad audience with lots of crowd surfing action going on and that. Which of cousre comes into place for the next one, Their Law. I love it and there seem to be a lot of people here feeling the same.  The only thing stopping this gig from being the perfect one is that the gig isn’t too loud (due to Swiss laws), but the sound is still pretty good.
Their Law then leads to the next track, the new Warning. After Oxegen and T in The Park last week this is now the third time I hear this new version of what used to be (?) one of my favourite tracks. I’m still not sure what to think of this new one now, it’s not exactly bad at all, it sounds like a sinister evil twin of the old version, very dark and all and very different. The structure’s different, and the even faster beats make it almost unrecognisable at first. The track sounds quite broken apart and doesn’t quite fit as a whole, although I don’t think it’s a bad live track.
Most apparent seems Liam’s recent inspiration by drum n’ bass (the Spitfire Nightbreed remix he reportedly liked a lot and then the upcoming vinyl remixes of some Prodigy classics). Somehow this new version now doesn’t quite cut it really. It somehow works live, but hasn’t got that same special feel to it as the last version where you just wanted nothing else than play it over and over again. It’s great to see them back experimenting with different versions of tracks, and no one’s going to disagree with this, but it would just be a shame if the original Warning would never see the light of day.
There’s a really cool fill now for a while, very electro sounding from what I can remember, taking us then to Breathe. This is played in its traditional style as usual, obviously huge crowd pleaser. I look back a couple of times and what I can see is a massive field people, going up the hill, jumping and waving their arms.
After Breathe then a very cool new fill I haven’t actually heard before (or wouldn’t be able to remember), very down tempo with a Massive Attack kind of vibe. Maxim does vocals with it as well… i like it, so watch out for this one.
Spitfire next then, seems like this one has some followers in this country as well, most people seem to recognise the track, which is a good sign. Such a great gig tonight. At some point Maxim makes his quite regular round in the audience then, not just walking along the front fence, but actually jumping into the main area of people and giving them a face to face performance.
This is followed by Back to School. This track just seems to get better and better, the addition of Keith’s vocals and the new part in the middle of this track definitely work. And with the disappearance of Dead Ken Beats and changes to Warning, Back to School is now definitely the best new track in the set. This track has really come a long way since being the ‘Leeds Intro’ in 2002 and its reintroduction to the live set last autumn was one of the best decisions Liam’s made (just one month after stating “I know it’s quite a favourite with the fans. I like the beats, the beats were good and some of the parts, but it needs updating. It just didn’t flow enough when I took it to the studio so it didn’t really go any further.” in a nekosite interview [HERE]). It just works so well as a live track now even with audiences like here who probably haven’t heard it before.
Firestarter has a similar effect as always. It’s the one track everyone recognises. I wasn’t too keen on it earlier this year but it’s gotten better. Keith’s really good tonight again, so that just makes the track. It starts fading into Action Radar much earlier already now and the link between the two is very much extended tonight, making the whole tension last longer until the female ‘a little action is all i need’ sample kicks in. The only thing stopping this track from being an amazing experience tonight is the fact that it isn’t loud enough for this one. Action Radar is so intense, and it really needs to be. Tonight it’s just about 95% there, and of course still pretty amazing.
Much too soon this then leads into Mindfields, obviously dominated by Maxim and general crowd pleaser. then, then…. of course the newest addition to the set is the recent re-addition of Voodoo People about a months ago. The band had stopped playing it live after dancer Leeroy had left the band in 2000 and ever since it’s probably been the most demanded track by fans. So Liam has added a couple of beats and they’ve started playing this new version, lacking Leeroy of course, but not lacking any of the tracks’ greatness. With both, maxim and Keith, now doing vocals to the track this is just as intense as it used to be. So good to have this back!
Then the band disappear and there is of course no way this audience will let them go just yet. Quickly the band return and it’s Poison next, another all time favourite.  This is swiftly followed by a really amazing Smack My Bitch Up. Maxim’s down at the fence again stirring up the audience even more than they already are.
They now act as if they want to leave the stage again, but then of course remain for the finel encore, Experience classic Out Of Space. Not a single person in this place is standing still now and the tracks ends far too quickly…. Long after the band have left there are still people here wanting ‘more! more! more!’.


Photos from the show:

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