2002.04.27 – House Of Blues, Las Vegas, USA

Date: 27th April 2002
Event: The Prodigy Concert
Venue: House of Blues
City: Las Vegas
Country: USA
Support: n/a

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

Extra info:
Premiere performance of Dust Yo’self.

Review by Loopz:
9:00pm:House Of Blues, Las Vegas
Now, the House Of Blues is located inside the very posh Mandalay Bay casino/resort/hellhole. When I found it inside, I kept scratching my head, thinking…”THIS is where they’re gonna play? In this fucking corporate alterna-bar inside a mammoth casino?”. I got closer to the place, and sure enough, the poster by the door sported none other than our beloved heroes Liam, Maxim, and Keith. I breathed a sigh of relief upon seeing it, still in disbelief that they’d actually be playing there, but the poster did a lot to actually sell me on the idea that they’d really be there. Looking around though, I expected more people to be hovering in/around waiting to line up. I began to worry about whether or not a decent crowd would show…
Two guys from Canada were in front of my friends and I, but damn did that line ever grow! There was a definite buzz in the air as the line began to wind down the long wall near the club, around the corner and back out into the casino. Fifteen minutes later we were allowed in, and we rushed down the steps into the pit-like general admission section…
All I could think of was “Holy Shit!” as I was leaning over with my arms out, hugging the piece of prime real estate that was a chunk of railing just to the right of center stage. Right in front. I looked up, seeing the same banner/logo I’d read about in previous updates on ProCon, the new Prodigy logo with the star/head with rocket, the two rockets on either side bearing the worker ant logo, and the equipment set up, consisting of a drum kit, Liam’s stack of synthesizers, and some Marshall amps/assorted shit. The legendary Moog Prodigy among the machines. Total buzz. This was real, and we were about to witness the Prodigy….
1:30a (Yes, one hour past when it was supposed to start)
The place is packed, and the natives are restless…the house DJ’s tap-water flavored trance shit is NO LONGER cutting it. Any break in the music or other slight break from the monotony gets the crowd erroneously excited, and people are starting to bitch loudly.
Finally, a shaven-headed man jogs in from stage right, and sneers,
“Awwwww, did we keep you waiting??? Direct from the UK, The Prodigy!!!!!!!”
The crowd erupts into chaos. Every security person between the rail and the stage almost simulteaneously reaches for earplugs.
Liam emerges from stage right, wearing a big gray blazer with a T-shirt and kickboxing pants. He gets behind the stacks, and the intro comes on…a militant sounding theme, with staccato drums and horns blaring…Maxim and Keith show up, and they tear into Their Law….
I was very impressed by the new tracks. I’d have to say that Nuclear was my favorite, followed by Trigger. Nuclear is almost pure punk rock (!), while Trigger, with its repeat chorus, is very much like Breathe…I imagine that Trigger will end up in heavy rotation on alternative FM here in America. Keith looked exactly as I’d imagined, wearing a strange clingy shirt with the word ‘SLUT’ under his left arm, and these weird red/black pants held up by these gaudy glam metal belts. Maxim sported big fat dreads, accompanied by these big white puffy boots and this funky faux kilt made up of denim and US flags with loads of patches adorning it. The entire show was just non-stop intensity, just as I read about so many of their other shows over the years. Some of the weirder highlights included Maxim confronting a fan who threw a cup of water at him, giving him a vicious verbal diss much to the crowd’s delight, as well as Keith’s tantrum at the end of Nuclear, where he proceeded to kick and bash the shit out of a bunch of monitors/light fixtures on the stage. There were also a few times where they climbed up off the stage and trundled around the bar area to the right of the stage. I can’t express how intense and impressive their stage presence is, after reading so much about them over the years I’d felt I was doomed to be disappointed, but they met and exceeded my every expectation. Their sound setup was lethal, after the show I felt like I’d had my ass kicked by the LAPD from the sheer level of high volume bass. My only complaint was that although Rhythm Of Life appeared on the setlist, they never performed it…that’s my 2nd favorite B-side (besides Scienide).
It was so good to see them alive, well, and perhaps better than ever…its clear that Leeroy’s depature has done virtually nothing to the band’s chemistry, in fact, given the new tracks composition featuring even more lyrics by Keith and Maxim, it may have strengthened the band, allowing them to focus better on creating the most monstrous, compelling live music around. Part of me wishes I could see the band I used to worship after repeated viewings of Electronic Punks, but if anything Leeroy’s departure definitely put the nail in the coffin of that era. The new Prodigy is fierce, relentless, and nastier than ever. The show I was privileged to witness on April 27th was living proof that this band cannot be stopped. All I can do now, like everyone else, is wait with bated breath for the arrival of Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned.”

Review by neko:
Las Vegas, the ‘city of entertainment’ is a rather unique place to be. Huge hotels with thousands of rooms and immense casinos attracting tenthousands of visitors every weekend. We’re staying at a hotel called the ‘Luxor’, a hotel in the shape of a 20 floor pyramid with several IMAX cinemas inside. Just a 2 minute monorail ride away is the hotel Mandalay Bay next door. Mandalay Bay again is a huge hotel complex with a casino and several other attractions, including the House of Blues. Just to get an idea how huge this place is, the hotel also has an events centre inside, hosting 12’000 people and tonight Tony Hawk’s skate board show with an Offspring live performance is on in there. Compared to that, the House of Blues seems small, the entrance from the casino leads to a small restaurant and the entrance to the 1800 capacity live venue.
We’re of course there to see The Prodigy, it’s been a while since they’ve played such a small venue. There’s a poxy little display outside with the line-up for tonight. Some comedy show at 8pm. Then Prodigy at 11.30pm and it seems a bit unreal they’d play here. The show isn’t even sold out at all, people are still buying tickets and starting to queue (or ‘getting in line’, as you can’t say ‘queue’ in American). Looking at the people in the line, you notice that it’s quite strange mixture of people at this 21+ only show, probably not a lot of die-hard Prodigy fans, but more just your usual Vegas tourist looking for entertainment.
We get in at 11.30pm and inside that tiny venue it seems even more unreal that Prodigy will play here. They probably haven’t played such a small venue since 97, this place is just about half as big as the Astoria in London. And its not full at all, even by midnight there’s probably just about 900 people there of the 1800 capacity. Some crap DJ is on. I don’t know who booked this guy, but the cheesy dance shit he plays is a real pain in the ears and just in no way fits to Prodigy. By 0.30 people start getting impatient, shouting ‘Prodigy, Prodigy’, while the stage is still being set up. The sound the DJ is playing gets a bit better and some people start breakdancing in the club. Liam Howlett can be seen stepping out into the crowd to watch them.
01.15am then, they finally come on. We’re right at the front and the stage is so close you could easily touch the stage from where we are standing. Usual start with the Army March Intro, first played by Liam and Kieron on drums, with Maxim walking onto the stage shouting ‘where the hell is Las Vegas?’ and getting the audience to cheer. The intro leads into the cheesy sample ‘I believe that you and me last forever…’ and Their Law starts with guitarist Jim Davis and Keith now also running on stage. The atmosphere in this small place is amazing, it just cannot be described. While all those huge festival shows are of course cool and nice, here you just feel the whole energy much better, you literally become a part of the whole thing. The size of the crowd is just perfect, you can be in the front row and actually still move, jump and dance as you want to. Yet there is still enough people to create a really unique atmosphere.
Their Law now leads to Trigger, and this ‘new’ track goes down very well indeed, the audience seem to love it. So far this seems to be the perfect gig, if there wasn’t one major downside to this all: the sound absolutely sucks. I don’t know if it is just where we are standing right at the front or if it is within the whole venue, but I think it is those speakers at the front that just kinda ruin the gig. A shame really.
Trigger also seems to be a start to some technical difficulties, as Maxim is forced to spend most of the track off stage. Breathe comes on, the audience reaction is immense. I am really positively surprised by the American audience here, I expected this show to be full of lazy tourists who have no clue about Prodigy and just had nothing better to do tonight than go to this show. Wrong. The audience is superb, getting completely into it, people on the balcony standing up and people shouting along. Keith and Maxim sometimes just walk into the audience and walk on the bar tables to the back of the venue and stay there for a while, which is pretty cool too!
Now I don’t know for sure what happened here, but I think it’s again some technical difficulties that force them to skip the downtempo fill Goblin and instead play Smack My Bitch Up right after Breathe. Again here the sound quality kinda just ruins the otherwise alwas fantastic live song.
Next on is Babys got a Temper, the track thats probably going to be the new Prodigy single and part of the live set since earlier this year. The track has since been changed around and now for the first time they play a new version of it. Unfortunately I have to say that I think it doesn’t work at all. Combined with the really horrible sound quality, this track now sounds like just a whole load of different samples, that don’t fit together, thrown at you at once and it makes it a bit more a downer than an exciting event to hear this new version of the track. I still think the studio version of this in proper sound quality could be really cool, but just right here in Las Vegas it doesn’t seem to work at all, and more sounds like having a mixture of the BGAT original, Firestarter and Diesel Power instrumental all thrown at you at once.
This downer is followed by my personal highlight of the show though. Prodigy play a brand new live fill titled Dust Yoself which, no matter how bad the sound quality is, just sounds absolutely wicked! I’ve only ever heard this track once, so it is a bit hard to recall what exactly it sounded like, but it was very ‘rocky’, probably more ‘rocky’ than most of what Prodigy have done in the past, but yet sounds truly unique with absolutely wicked beats. I can only pray that this is going to be made into a proper track and will be released SOON! It would kill me never to hear this again.
Next on is Mindfields, pretty good performance here. Once more its Maxim and Keith together who are doing the track. Nuclear then, regardless the soundquality, is just fantastic. No live recording that I’ve heard so far (and I’ve heard a few good ones) does this track justice. Live at a show is the way to experience this track. And again, although this track is still ‘new’ and ‘unknown’, the audience seem to love it. It does get a little violent at the end of that track though as Keith has to kick over just every single monitor and light in front of the stage, before then completely disappearing for the next two songs.
Poison next is cool. No Keith, but great performance by Maxim. This is followed by the Benny Blanco fill, which actually sounds pretty good, despite the otherwise bad sound quality. After that Maxim leaves the stage and Keith makes a comeback for Firestarter before they then all leave the stage and an audience starts shouting for ‘Prodigy, Prodigy’ and want more again.
They return indeed and gives us the usual Fuel My Fire encore before then, after exactly 60 minutes, they leave the stage again.
Conclusion? Absolutely cool to see them play such a tiny venue, amazing atmosphere and a good crowd. Could have been the perfect gig if the sound hadn’t been so bad and combined with technical diffiulties kind of led to an impression that they didn’t give completely 100%. I really wish they’d play more of these venues though, rather than all those huge festivals.

Photos from the show:




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