2005.05.01 – Coachella Valley Festival, Indio, USA

Date: 1st May 2005
Event: Coachella Valley Festival
Venue: Empire Polo Field
City: Indio, CA
Country: USA
Support: see timetable

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

Extra info:
Sahara Tent timetable:
22:30 – 23:45 The Prodigy
21:15 – 22:15 Rpmo Size
20:00 – 21:15 Armin Van Buren
18:45 – 20:00 Junkie XL
17:30 – 18:45 Miss Kittin
16:15 – 17:30 Ben Watt
15:00 – 16:15 Matthew Dear
14:00 – 15:00 Diplo
12:30 – 14:00 DJ Jun

It was the last gig with Jim Davis as a guitarist.
Official statement: Jim Davies leaves the Prodigy
We and Jim decided it was time for a change in the Prodigy. It has been great working with Jim over the years and wish him good luck with his new band

Jim’s Statement:
I’ve been playing with the band live on and off now for quite some time and I think both myself and the guys have reached a point where we1d like to do something new, im very excited about recording my first album with my own band the one condition this summer which is obviously going to take up a lot of my time, ive had an amazing time with the band and look forward to continuing to contribute, as I always have done, in the studio

Review by neko:
I love California . Last year I’d spent the first May week here and this year should be no different. There’s a Prodigy gig as well, at the nicest festival in the world, what a better way to start your holiday?
After coming back from the German shows just the weekend before, I’m back at work for just five days and as I finally unpack and recover, my sister already gets to London on Friday night and I realize I’m off to LA next day.
After not enough sleep at all, we fly out on Saturday midday. The band seem to be on the same flight as well. My sister does point out to me how maybe it is a little weird how I fly out all these hours to see them play live but find it totally normal that Liam says hello at the airport. I guess she does have a point.
Next then 11hours in the airplane, some pretty rubbish movies and as usual cannot sleep. Feeling pretty shattered when we land, but the adrenaline takes over. Ooooh, we’re in LA! So exciting! It’s obviously only mid-afternoon here, so we pick up our rental car and head towards freeway 405 and via insterstate 10 to Palm Springs .
Next day then we’re feeling much better after having slept a bit. It’s 29 degrees and sunny outside, perfect to hang at the pool a little. A bit before 4pm we’re heading towards the festival. Alone the drive along the 111 to Indio is remarkable, we’re in the desert, palm trees lining the road, mountains in the background, a blue sky, what more do you want!
We get to the festival just after 4pm and head to see Kasabian in the Mojave tent. They haven’t quite made it in the US yet, but judging from the attendance of their show (the tent is totally packed), they are just about to! I really enjoy their gig, having been into this band big time for a while now, but hadn’t actually seen them play live yet. Always nice to see a band you like who take a great album to the stage and it works!
We walk around a bit, enjoy the scenery and the sun (and no, I cannot drink because I am driving!) and later head back to Mojave to check out the Bravery and then Miss Kittin rockin’ it in the Sahara tent.
It’s almost evening now and all day in the sun is tiring, so after watching bits of other random bands gigs, we head towards the shade and rest a little. We’re sat in the ‘vip lounge’ and it’s all very surreal watching the people around us. While having a burrito we see about a hundred pairs of fake boobs walk past, lots of people from bands (including the ones we’d just seen on stage), a couple of Paris Hilton look-alikes and everybody’s looking tanned, styled and often surgically enhanced as well. Very LA, feels like watching 3D MTV.
Later then New Order are on the main stage. I wanted to see them again ever since I’d seen them play on the Big Day Out tour three years ago, but somehow never made it, so tonight is good. I’m probably watching them from way too far away, but there’s definitely not much energy in their live show and the sound just isn’t too great at all tonight. ‘ Crystal ‘ and ‘Blue Monday’ still sound ok, but the rest gets a bit lost in the air for me personlally and trust me, i do love this band to bits and pieces. They’re typical for someone, who sounds great in the studio and you just like their live show because of the familiarity of the tracks. But by itself the live show just doesn’t quite work tonight. And the fact that they don’t play my favourite, ’60 mph’, is a bit a minus as well. I’m not complaining though, having a great time still.
So now, it’s almost time! The sun has set now but it’s still nice and warm here in the desert. It’s my second time here at Coachella, but the whole scenery of this blows me away yet again. If you’ve seen the promo video to ‘Universally Speaking’ by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, then you get the idea.
Just after 9pm on the main stage now Nine Inch Nails. Although I’ve never been a fan, I do quite like them, so we watch for a bit before heading over to the Sahara tent before 10. The Sahara tent is the biggest one of the tents at the festival and has featured dance DJs all day and Bristol’s Roni Size is on as we get there. Almost time to remove that curtain and unveil the band behind!
15 min before the Prodigy are on I realize someone’s stolen my digital camera out of my bag, which is of course pretty damn annoying as it was a really nice Canon one. So I leave the tent again and go to the last couple of places I’d been to, but obviously no sign of it anywhere, so head back into tent (apologies to the woman whose bag I fell over when stmbling back in). I’ve been living in central London for 6 years now and never had anything stolen ever, so it’s pretty annoying that the one single time I’m not even drinking this has to happen. But eventhough I’m pretty PO ‘d, this whole thing cannot take away the excitement about the show and the general good mood I am in. That’s how good Coachella is.
But now to the interesting bit ‘ Roni Size is leaving and the DJ decks get removed and the tent is now packed with people in anticipation of the Prodigy’s set. There’s a great vibe, and despite it being a large place it still feels intimate enough and just right for the Prodigy to be able to make it work.
Primal Screams Exterminator comes on, followed by Swastika Eyes. The stage now looks ready for the gig to start, and indeed we can hear the first Wake Up intro samples played over Swastika Eyes. The latter now finally gets muted and it’s all ready to go. Band come on stage and it kicks off with an amazing Their Law.
The tent is full now, we’re a bit on the side, but when I look back all I can see is people. All of them pushing towards the front, moving, jumping, shouting and generally having a good time. It’s the first time for 3 years Prodigy are playing the US , and of course also the first time since the latest album, AONO, has been released. It never sold too well here, so this one-off US gig at the countries most important music festival is an important one, almost like a ‘make or break’ situation. The photo pit is now crowded with about 40 photographers, proof enough that there is media interest in how the Prodigy are doing here at this show as well. So will they manage to win the US over tonight?
It’s definitely going well. Wake Up Call, a track from the newest album AONO, is now on and the whole tent is still buzzing. People definitely recognise the track and sing and shout along. If AONO really sold just 16k copies in the US , then half of the people who bought it must be here tonight!
Warning is next, an as yet unreleased track, but well known among fans already. Keith’s on the vocals, of course, and once more I’m very impressed by his performance. No jetlag, no nothing seems to be able to ever stop him and tonight he seems to be on fire once more.
Maxim returns onto the stage for Breathe. With it being one of the tracks that made it big in the US this gets a great crowd reaction. Maxim and Keith are both doing main vocals, which adds the whole confrontational vibe to it, so it naturally gets very intense. The whole stage and size of venue are just perfect for the band and as far as I can tell from where I am there is no chance anymore to even get into the tent anymore now.
Next is Spitfire. With ‘Girls’ and ‘Hotride’ both not played tonight, this is the only survivor of the AONO singles in the set. The more I hear it, the more I think this would have made the perfect comeback single. It’s on the ‘House of Wax’ soundtrack, a movie which is out this week in the US and heavily promoted. I’ve seen a special about it on MTV USA and Spitfire was heavily featured on it. By the sounds of it the US audience loves the track. As usual Maxim does his vocals, whereas Keith puts away the mic and focuses on the dancing and miming during this track. I know I’ve said all this before, but tonight he’s definitely at his best. Multiplied by ten. He literally throws himself across the stage, over the lightings, probably hurting himself as hell too, like I’ve only rarely ever seen him. Maxim meanwhile running from side to side, left to right, right to left, as well, making it all together one of the most intense performances I’ve ever seen.
The intensity continues on a similar level with Back to School, another post-AONO unreleased track. The track is so hard with the rockin beats, making The Prodigy the hardest band at this festival for sure. Keith’s dancing restless, Maxim giving evil looks to audience and security guards alike throughout.
As Firestarter comes on a massive response by audience follows. It’s of course the one big recognisable track, especially here in the US . As usual the new mix is played and as usual as well the crowd reaction does flatten down a bit halfway through the track.
But the track doesn’t finish really, instead the Action Radar link fades into it, great link between the two. Keith seems to be buzzing, remains on stage as Action Radar begins, doing the vocals along the ‘a little action is all I need’ sample. He then leaves the stage and the track kicks in full-on, as usual with the live drums making it even harder and more intense.
Action Radar fades into some drums and with it Mindfields and Maxim returns on stage. It’s another track from TFOTL, so well known over here and intense yet again.
The band leave and return for a pretty good Poison with the Release Yo Delf fill. Maxim is doing vocals on it, great stuff. Then Smack My Bitch Up kicks in, very intense. Maxim walks down to the front and there’s definitely a lot of reaction to that.
No stopping here though and some beats kicks in. Yeah, Dead Ken Beats! It’s the least well-known track of the set currently, but what a great one. It kicks in so hard’ amazing. I love it, so glad to hear it back in the set.
The show isn’t yet finished, and the intro beats give away what’s in store as a finale: Out Of Space. Great to see how the audience here react to this one here as well, despite the fact that the Experience album is still only little known here.
A great ending to a great show, 75 minutes of pure intensity and it definitely seems like the band have won over the US with this gig. At least the 8k or so people, who were fortunate enough to witness this show.
Personally for me the rest of the night then is a bit of a bummer as I obviously have to report the theft of my camera, so we end up at the local police station at 2am. Not the best way to end the event, but not even this can ruin the good mood I’m in from this gig.



Photos from the show:

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