2002.04.28 – Coachella Festival, Indio, USA

Date: 28th April 2002
Event: Coachella Festival
Venue: Empire Polo Field
City: Indio, CA
Country: USA
Support: see timetable (picture)

1. Army March Intro
2. Their Law
3. Trigger
4. Breathe
5. Little Goblin
6. Smack My Bitch Up
7. Baby’s Got A Temper
8. Mindfields
9. Nuclear (v.2)
10. Poison
11. Benny Blanco
12. Firestarter
13. Fuel My Fire

Extra info:
Review by Lucidanne:
in the four years since they’ve played a gig in america and the five years since they’ve released a proper album or single, it’s been easy to forget about the prodigy. liam hasn’t made it difficult for himself or for the general public to put the records away and move on. for awhile it didn’t seem like he was into making any more music with the band, and after the mixed bag that was fat of the land, we were all okay with that. (well, i was aggravated, but pretty much everyone else could have cared less.) but on
sunday night, he made it very difficult to ignore the greatness that was/is the prodigy. i can only hope that it was as much a reminder for him as it was for the audience.
recall – that the prodigy’s best songs are very fucking good, that there is nothing like the juggernaut of “firestarter” on the radio today, that live and loud and enraged they are by far the most intense live act i have seen since rage against the machine. sure, there’s something kind of comical about keith and maxim even now, but i think liam knows that and likes it. their posturing, maxim’s sneering of “i came here to feel PAIN!!!”, and keith’s lewd drooling combine into this wicked cocktail of rock and dance and sex and nasty fucking beats that shake the ground beneath your feet. i know other bands have done parts of it better, but no one’s put it all in a shaker and come out with something so funny and satisfying. and no one’s walked away and done fuckall for four years and then walked back into the spotlight and delivered with as much confidence as liam howlett. he’s ridiculous but i love
him, and i love the new track “baby’s got a temper,” and i love having jim davies onstage clawing at his guitar like a wild animal. at least fifty percent of the live performance was due to jim, who’s one of my favorite guitar players, period, and has done some cool stuff with pitchshifter but nothing as awesome as what he’s done on record for the prodigy. hello, the vintage “firestarter” riff? the guitar on “their law” and “voodoo people” ? it’s all jim. thank god he’s back, it’s like being punched in the stomach andliking it.
after the foo fighters left the stage (i only saw “everlong,” which was good) and the crowd exodus commenced, i snuck my way into the pit and got almostback to my prime position from earlier that day, which i had given  up to see the mars volta. when the band went onstage, i was about six people from the front, perfectly center right. and like the rest of the crowd and the band, i jumped and thrashed around and screamed my head off. i woke up today feeling
the pain for sure. but it was worth it, one big sweaty mass of people, one hour and fifteen minutes, two (three?) new tracks, innumerable memories and waves of emotion flooding over me. liam is platinum again. jim was wearing a dead kennedys shirt. maxim was wearing some ludicrous white boots, and keith wore the pants with the star-shaped hole in the crotch.
i came to coachella to see the prodigy play and they were *brilliant*… know that.
oh, and liam – welcome back eh. ;)”

Review by neko:
As we get there, The Strokes are on. Most overrated band in recent history in my opinion. Boring to death. Makes them fit well with Oasis on the bill today. How do they survive on stage wearing their leather jackets? We’re in the middle of the desert after all! Then there is some ‘surprise band’ in between Strokes and Foo Fighters. It is supposed to be some ‘joke’, but I don’t quite get it. Some American actor jumping around and screaming. ‘funny’.
Next on are Foo Fighters. They’re a great band, I’ve been going to their shows and been into their stuff since they started. But today, compared to The Prodigy, even they seem rather average tonight.
Shortly after 8pm finally Prodigy are ready to get on stage. I’m somewhere squeezed into a lot of people at the left side, not such a good spot to see them as usual. They come on stage and although for some reason I didn’t expect that much from this show, they are just amazing from the first minute.
It’s the same intro as last night, leading into Their Law at the beginning and no matter how big this show is, The Prodigy once more have got the whole audience under control. Trigger comes on and the audience still love it, although most people here have probably never heard this track. There is loads of press photographers in the photo pit, some guys even with video cameras, so keep an eye out for that material to be around!
Breathe again gets a huge response and is truly confrontational between Maxim and Keith. As at all recent festival shows, they’ve got their little stair case in front of the stage for Maxim and Keith to go down into the audience, and they make use of this several times during this show. You can tell that all of the band really give 200% at this.
After Breathe, live fill Goblin gets played, the downtempo fill introduced at last summer’s shows. As usual the audience goes more quiet during this track,which of course changes again once Smack My Bitch Up, the next track, starts.
Next is, again, Babys Got a Temper, starting with the musicbox-like intro. We had been trying to figure out the lyrics and are quite positive now that it’s indeed about Rohypnol, which kind of makes sense: “She’s got Rohypnol, we’ve got Rohypnol, we love Rohypnol, just forget it all!”. I guess those lyrics will stir up a lot of controversy once the song is around.
The new version of it sounds a bit better tonight than last night with the poor sound in Las Vegas. The Firestarter riff is now at the beginning of the track and not in the middle anymore, while in the middle of the track a guitar solo by Jim can be heard, while the rest of the music is basically gone. I am still not all that impressed with this new version, as it unfortunately seems a bit overloaded with too many different samples, some of them sounding quite familiar.
Mindfields is on next, great performance by Maxim here. Now follows Nuclear, again I think together with Their Law this is the highlight of the live set, absolutely wicked and full of energy.
Poison comes on with Maxim as the mainman. Keith ventures to the audience and then pops up in the middle of the crowd. The Benny Blanco fill again is fantastic, with Maxim going on about “Bad Boy Benny Blanco” and, as during the whole show, making references to the “West Coast people”.
Maxim dissappears and Keith and Jim get back on stage to start Firestarter which, as usual at festivals, gets the biggest crowd response, as it still is the pobably most well-known Prodigy track. the show now ends as usual with Fuel My Fire and unfortunately also tonight no Rhythm of Life. Everyone keeps chanting “Prodigy, Prodigy”, but there is no encore anymore. I can’t blame the crowd for leaving after Prodigy, cause that’s what we do too. Who would want to watch Oasis after that?
This show was just absolutely brilliant, and if there is anything to complain about it then that it just felt so short. Already as we leave the festival I cannot wait for the next shows … just 2 months to go…!

NME.com report:
PRODIGY’s return to the US stage after a five-year absence proved the biggest draw on the final day of California’s COACHELLA FESTIVAL.
The group, who performed an evening set composed mainly of hits including ‘Firestarter’ and ‘Poison’ drew mixed reviews from the day’s revellers. It took a while for the estimated 30,000 strong crowd to warm to the group who began their performance with a number of new tracks.
Frontman Maxim Reality seemed frustrated with the lack of response querying “Where the fuck are we? Are we on the West Coast or the East Coast? Where the fuck are we? I didn’t come to fuck about.”
About a third of the crowd left following the Prodigy, right before Oasis took to the stage for a typical festival set.

Kerrang report:
Possibly the biggest surprise of the entire festival is how The Prodigy, here for their big stateside reappearance, play it so safe. Melding live guitar (courtesy of Pitchshifters Jim Davies), live drums (from ex-RealTV man Kieron Pepper), and the electronic mayhem of the great Liam Howlett, the group fill more than half of their set with songs from 1997s The Fat of The Land album. While the new numbers they do play sound good including Trigger, Babys got a Temper, and Nuclear its Firestarter and especially Breathe that gets the audience moving as one. Vocalists Keith Flint and Maxim Reality are still up to their old tricks, making the Prodigy a reliable, if overly familiar, festival presence. They spit, they leer, they jump and then they nonchalantly leave the stage as if nothing untoward had happened at all.

Mixmag report:
The Prodigy are back, but have they ditched dance music for nu-metal?
After a five-year absence, the wait is over. The Firestarters are finally back with a new album and tour. But has it all been worth it? Carling certainly think so. The Sun reported they paid the band a staggering Ł3million to play the Reading and Leeds festivals – a figure XL Records vehemently deny. The band may not have changed their image – Keith still has his devil-horn barnet – but what’s happened to the music?
Us fans got a sneak preview at two different gigs that were performed on one day in April. The first was at ultra-posh Las Vegas hotel The House Of Blues to a crowd of just 1,000. The other was to a crowd of 25,000 at the Coachella Festival in Palm Springs, California 19 hours later. The Prodigy appeared between The Strokes and Oasis. Beck and Cameron Diaz were in the crowd and the band showcased new rocky tracks featuring new guitarist Jim Davis: ‘Trigger’, single ‘Baby’s Got A Temper’, ‘Dust Yo’self’ and ‘Nuclear’.
Liam’s determined to follow up the Stateside success of 1997 album ‘Fat Of The Land’ and at the Reading festival the band are supporting Guns’n’Roses. But is he so obsessed with cracking an American rock audience with all-out rock tracks like ‘Dust Yo’self’ that he’s turning his back on dance music? “[Our music] doesn’t feel like dance music any more,” spat Liam, “I fucking hate all that. I’d like to bomb Ibiza.”
“‘Dust Yo’self’ is a proper rock song. It isn’t like any thing else they’ve played,” says Elle Taghavi who saw the Coachella show. Liam says that the Prodigy’s sound has always been down to him trying to recreate Public Enemy in his head. “The Public Enemy influence is mixed with the Sex Pistols and British punk sound.”
Have the once-great ravers turned to the darkside of nu-metal? Does this mean Liam will bea dumping Nicole Appleton for a Slipknott groupie? One thing’s definite – we’ll be down the front at Leeds on August 23rd and Reading on August 25th to find out for ourselves.

Billboard.com report:
From the soulful croon of Mozez to Sophie Barker’s cabaret-ready wails, Zero 7 always managed a calming groove that provide a nice respite from neighbors the Prodigy on the main stage. That ensemble, playing its first U.S. show in five years, grabbed ahold of the crowd with a compellingly creepy mix of psychedelic guitar, concrete-thick electronic beats, and the manic missives of vocalists Keith Flint and Maxim. Although the agitated “Baby’s Got a Temper” was the lone new tune in the bunch, “Their Law,” “Smack My Bitch Up,” “Breathe,” and “Poison” sounded no worse for the long layoff. The group’s next studio album is expected later this year.

Intrview with Kieth (THEDESERTSUN.com):
Prodigy vocalist Keith Flint – a napalm bomb of attitude, complete with reverse negative Mohawk and a look that recalled the killer clown from Stephen King’s “It” – became the face of techno music, a genre that had been previously criticized for having no face at all, after “Fat” took off. Frankly, it wasn’t a pretty sight.
Now he says he’s sporting a mullet (though we don’t exactly believe him), but he says that he – and The Prodigy – are as furious as ever, and the essence of The Prodigy remains in tact.
The Desert Sun: You performed your first shows in a number of years late last year in Europe. How’d they come off?
Keith Flint: They were fantastic, they were superb. They were just really good. The first show that we did we had a few new songs that we just sort of like trying out just sort of testing them live like we always have done, and it was like (expletive) A, what do we do?
TDS: How’d it feel to be back onstage?
KF: When you do it for 10 years constantly, you always know what you’re doing, you develop what you do as you sort of go along. But when you’ve been away for so long and you don’t rehearse, it really helps to just walk out on stage. So the first show was like sort of a testing ground, and it all sort of seemed to come back nice and easy, and off we went with the crowd, and then we did another two dates. We ended up in Holland where it’s always been really really good for us, and it was like the crowd was no different, the show was no different than like from any point of view and it came off (expletive) superb. All I know is it didn’t seem any different at all. It seemed as good as it’s always been, as far as like people and their reaction.
TDS: Could you feel a release of energy from the crowd that they were so happy to have you guys back?
KF: You can’t really judge that they’re pleased to have you back, if it goes like a good show goes, you can’t mistake that they’re enjoying it.
TDS: What were you thinking being back out there?
KF: To be quite honest, there was too much thinking going on. When I perform I don’t really think, I just try and enjoy myself and it all comes naturally. If there’s a little too much thinking involved with anything, you lose a lot of your spontaneity.
TDS:What do you remember about your last tour of the States, in summer ’98? We don’t tend to bounce here as much as European audiences do.
KF: A lot of the old venues are seated aren’t they, and you’re very strict about what people can do, the way they can do it and how they can do it. But it’s just awesome as a performer or as a band to have the crowd out there before you and having fun. If bouncing is what they do, then bounce away.
TDS: What was your time off like?
KF: It was good. Well, it was bad and it was ugly. It was partying, it was motor cross, and yeah, it was OK. At first it was like, the first year was like I need this year. It was partying, catching up with friends, just the doing normal things which are your life. And then the next year was finally going in the studio and wanting to and not wanting to, and forcing the issue which makes it sort of unnatural and not that fun. And the next year was ‘right, let’s do this album,’ and it takes a year to do an album. You know. We’ve been touring for 10 years, and we needed the time to just sort of kick back and relax.
TDS: How did the departure of Leeroy Thornhill affect the band?
KF: It was sad to lose him. It was his decision; he went off to write an album and become a producer and do a lot of his own stuff, which he needed the time for. It was good because it was what Leeroy wanted to do, but it wasn’t good because I lost someone who makes me laugh on the road and was a companion. But he still comes away with us, he came away recently and DJ’d with us, and we’re just best mates anyway and the band would never change you as friends, so it’s also good.
TDS: Do you still have the hunger, the anger, the urgency that is the essence of The Prodigy?
KF: Of course. We’ll always have that anger. That is what we are, isn’t it?





Photos from the show:


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