2002.08.23 – Leeds Festival, Leeds, England

Date: 23rd August 2002
Event: Leeds Festival
Venue: Temple Newsam Park
City: Leeds
Country: England
Support: see lineup

1. Back 2 Skool Intro
2. Nuclear (v.3)
3. Breathe
4. Little Goblin
5. Smack My Bitch Up
6. Trigger
7. Out Of Space Link
8. Their Law
9. Nightboat To Cairo
10. Poison
11. Baby’s Got A Temper
12. Mindfields
13. Firestarter
14. Fuel My Fire

Extra info:
Mainstage lineup:
Guns N’ Roses
The Prodigy
The Offspring
Puddle of Mudd
Hundred Reasons
Dillinger Escape Plan

Premiere performance of Back 2 Skool Intro, Nuclear (v.3) and Nightboat To Cairo. Prodigy played with saxophonist on stage (only for Nightboat To Cairo).

Liam’s quote: “Leeds was the worst out of the 3”

Review by robo65uk:
Prodigy, at Leeds, left me quite confused. I haven’t seen a Prodigy gig before but I went to it knowing they were famous for their energy. that’s what i was excited about. I was ready for this amazing energy to sweep the crowd sending it wild. However, it seems I either don’t know what energy is in terms of music or Prodigy just didn’t have th energy on the day. I thought Prodigy’s energy could be felt. I thought you could even get adrenaline rushes out of it. I was at front and I didn’t get any of that.
“Maxim warned during SMBU that the front row needed to prepare itself for some base but when it pumped out I hardly felt a thing or at least nothing more than I could get from the monotonous beats of the Chillout Zone. It actually seemed very fake. I thought this might be because they were playing at a festival and the sound setup didn’t suit them or something or maybe the energy just didn’t carry quite as well. In fact, they actually seemed too quiet or maybe that was because my ears had become adjusted to such a volume and therefore didn’t receive it as fully. I honestly get more of a buzz from listening to an mpgs of breathe at Fugi Rock Festival in 98 and Their Law at Red Square.

Review by Andy Roberts (Leeds Music Scene):
(…) Another coup is booking the Sex Pistols, although this turns out to be the Prodigy impersonating them, with the rapidly ageing Keith Flint, a cross between Johnny Rotten and Charlie Drake. As they shift from dance to kid-friendly punk-metal, they suddenly sound very silly indeed, with songs about date rape drug Rohypnol masquerading as shock tactics. “This is dangerous!” yells the pantomime Flint. Oh no it isn’t. (…)”
Crowd pleasing without unleashing the sort of incendiary show we’ve seen Ver Prodge put on as Festivals before, perhaps everyone’s favourite punk dance act were saving something in reserve for their Reading headline slot. The stage backdrop of maximum neon wattage looks cool, but there’s something that hints that Liam’s boys aren’t shining as bright as all that these days.
“Where the F*** is Leeds?” screams Maxim quizzically, bit of a daft question given that there’s thousands of Leeds folk stretched out before him getting into ‘Their Law’ as things hot up a shade. A longer haired Keith than we’ve known for a few years sets about getting the assembled throng to jump up and down. This he achieves spectacularly yet just fails to get the combined stomping force to shift the Earth from its geo-stationary orbit. Close but no cigar. Amongst the usual array of mentalist hits like ‘Poison’ and ‘Firestarter’, newie ‘Baby’s Got a Temper’ looks sure to join those greats in the years to come. And when it comes to greats, The Prodigy didn’t mind raiding the Madness back catalogue either with a hilarious yet slightly odd version of ‘Night Boat to Cairo’. Great stuff gents, whatever next? Keith in school uniform for ‘Baggy Trousers’?

Review by neko:
[…] We stay at the front, next on are Offspring. I’ve seen them before at festivals and there it is no surprise they still sound the same, look the same, like old men trying to be punks. Or ‘pönks’, as we call those. “Leeds, you are the best audience we’ve had for a long time!” they say. yeh right! About hundred kicks in my head later Offspring are finished and the stage is being set up for The Prodigy now, woohooo! Everything hurts, it’s quite crazy at the front here, many people are pushing, kicking etc. But now its payoff time, Prodigy will come on stage soon.
As they build up the stage we notice the all new stage. A backdrop with a massive gun, Liam’s keyboards surrounded by lights, a small dragon on the right side of the stage and the word ‘HOT’ written in light bulbs at the left side of the stage. There is a great anticipation among the audience, not just for Prodigy to make their return to England, but also for Guns n’ Roses who are going to follow afterwards. Some guys near me are starting to ‘sing’ the chorus of Baby’s got a temper and a lot of people are shouting ‘Prodigy’ and ‘Keith’.
At about 9pm finally the lights go off and the band start the show. Under applause and cheers Liam, Keith, Maxim and drummer Kieron enter the stage. And, I can’t believe my ears, start with an all-new intro. No more army march, which i liked a lot, but the new intro is wicked too. While the army march was an almost quiet start into the show, this new intro is starting the show full-on! And soon I also realize why it does sound familiar, you can all head over to the official Prodigy site (www.theprodigy.com), go to the ‘personal’ section, then click on one of the links to get to the subsection that’s designed like a map where you can zoom in the photos. That’s the loop from the same track as the new intro. It features lyrics by Maxim, going like: “and bring you back to school, to show you how to …”
But not only The Prodigy’s stage is all new, also their stage clothes. Liam and Maxim all in black, while Keith is wearing pink and black, with the edges of his top glowing in the dark.
As the intro finishes, guitarist Jim Davies joins the band on stage and another new track is started. Or at least that’s what I think it is at first, until I realize a few seconds later that the track in question is indeed a completely new version of Nuclear. It sounds harder but at the same time more electronic and less obvious like a Sex Pistols reference. As I hear it the first time here I don’t really like the changes that have been made to this track, as I’ve gotten very used to the old version. Regarding that this is a new track, it gets a very warm welcome from the audience. Everyone, including myself is buzzing. Even more so when they start the next track Breathe. I must admit at this point my first thought is ‘oh no, have they dropped Their Law?’. Breathe is as usual an audience pleaser. We get pretty crushed at the front now and Maxim of course shouts the expected “Leeds! It’s been a fucking long time!”.
Goblin is next and from what i remember features new lyrics, no more ‘apocalypse now’. The downtempo fill as usual makes the audience go more quiet. The oppposite happeens with the next track, Smack my Bitch Up. Keith does his usual thing, running down, stirring up the audience. The stage is so far away from the audience, so a bit of audience contact really can’t hurt. That’s the thing with the festivals, you get this cool festival vibe, get to see a lot of different bands, but for seeing your own favorite band an intimate smaller venue is still the best place.
Trigger is on next, and this song has stayed pretty much the same. Audience reaction is getting a bit lamer now, you can already tell now that there are a lot of people waiting for Guns n’ Roses! As this finished we can hear the main sample from Out of Space played. Way too short. Is Liam just teasing us with playing 10 seconds of Out of Space? Or is it a nod to the long-time fans? With the words ‘fuck it all’ by Maxim they lead into Their Law. Phewww. As this is still my favorite Prodigy song, well, I think it is great.
Big surprise next. A guy with a saxophone walks on stage and they start, quite unexpected, a cover of Madness’ Nightboat to Cairo. The beginning of the track sounds pretty similar as the original, but I love hearing a track like this with the ‘Prodigy treatment’. It’s of course a call back to Liam’s roots as a ska fand and fits well into the middle of the gig as it is quite different to the rest of it all.
Keith sounds good on the vocals as they are quite his style. There’s an instrumental middle part in the Prodigy version of the song which sounds wicked, I guess that part could even be worked into an own Prodigy song. All in all it’s a cool cover to do live, but wouldn’t fit on the album I guess.
So are they playing a cover version to ‘cover up their lack of own new material’ as some people are suggesting? I dont think so. There are actually 3 new tracks and 2 new fills in this set and for a large part of the festival audience this is the first time they hear these. More unknown material would have been a too great risk in front of a festival crowd, but will hopefully be revealed once the band play some more of their own gigs. Festival audiences want to hear songs they are familiar with, they want to hear the ‘hits’. I actually spoke to some people who believed that the band have played too much new material!
Next is Poison, once more Keith is using the time to run down to the audience. Him and Maxim seem to be in great shape tonight delivering a wicked performance. Then the Prodigy’s latest single Baby’s got a Temper, which actually gets a great reception from the audience. the beginning of it has been changed a little with new breakbeats leading into the songs, making the beginnning more interesting.
From then on audience reaction is going a bit downhill. Mindfields comes on and Maxim delivers a great performance but a large part of the audience seem to be somewhere else with their thoughts already, in particular the Guns n’ Roses show that’s going to be following. Prodigy are leaving and return 2 seconds later again to play their encore songs Firestarter and Fuel my Fire, both of which get a great reception, but there’s a certain anticipation for Guns n’Roses that can be felt already and kinda ruins the atmosphere through this Prodigy gig.
At 10pm Prodigy leave the stage and its being prepared for Guns n’ Roses. Of course I am staying at the front row to watch them. […]


Entrance pass:

Photos from the show:


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