1998.06.16 – 9:30 Club, Washington D.C., USA

Date: 16th June 1998
Event: The Prodigy Concert – The Fat Of The Land Tour
Venue: 9:30 Club
City: Washington D.C., MD
Country: USA
Support: Meat Beat Manifesto


Extra info:
Review by J.E.Coan – mtv concert reviews:
When Prodigy’s album, The Fat of the Land, entered the U.S. charts at #1 in July 1997, two schools of opinion emerged. One said that electronica had finally been accepted in the U.S. The other attributed the album’s success to a mammoth campaign of unwarranted hype, and confidently predicted that Prodigy and electronica would soon fade from the pop music landscape. A year later The Fat of the Land has sold over 2 million copies in the U.S. alone, and Prodigy still draws huge, intensely loyal crowds. As the sold-out audience at DC’s 9:30 club streamed into the venue on a hot June night, hype or no hype, anticipation was mingling heavily with the humidity.
At 8:45 on the dot, the stage erupted. Meat Beat Manifesto were on … and once on, they didn’t slow down. An endless flow of busting beats slammed the audience as a stream of images –1950s sci-fi movies; a screaming man; fire; freaked-out animation — played behind the band. Years ago, frontman Jack Dangers told critic Neil Strauss that he considered MBM something akin to a surrealist film, and the collage of image and sound emanating from the stage at the 9:30 Club proved that Dangers’ vision is still thriving.
The energy level rose with each song, as Dangers and company played early favorites “God O.D.” and “Helter Skelter.” By the time they began to play material like “Acid Again” and “Everything’s Under Control” from their new album, Actual Sounds and Voices, the crowd on the floor was raging. It seemed unlikely that they could get any more worked up … until Liam Howlett’s Prodigy crew took the stage like they owned it.
Every body in the house began to move in rhythm with the thumping bass and drums. Samples wailed. Strobes pulsed. The crowd on the packed floor writhed and bounced as one, while the balcony was alive with the raving faithful.
Throughout it all, driving the hysteria, Prodigy remained hardcore and relentless, blasting through songs from Music for the Jilted Generation and The Fat of the Land. Both “Firestarter” and “Breath” came close to sending the crowd into a collective seizure.
The set wrapped up with the controversial “Smack My Bitch Up.” But there was no controversy here tonight, just rabid appreciation. The audience urged the band back on stage. Prodigy obliged, with a raw guitar-laced encore that bit clear through the stifling club air.
And then they were gone. The lights came up, and the majority of fans left the club. But a considerable number remained, apparently ready to keep moving for as long as there was music. An impromptu dance party started as 9:30 DJ Jimmy Jam began spinning for a rave-ready cluster of amped electronicistas. For a short while, it felt like the hysteria would never subside, the flow of electricity would never shut off. Clearly, these fans didn’t want the prodigious moment to come to an end.
If that’s hype, then hype never felt so real.


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