2004.12.10 – Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Date: 10th December 2004
Event: The Prodigy Concert – AONO Tour
Venue: Ulster Hall
City: Belfast
Country: Northern Ireland
Support: Vatican DC, Youth Of Britain, Leeroy Thornhill

Tracklist:
1. Wake Up Intro
2. Wake Up Call
3. Their Law
4. Warning
5. Spitfire
6. Breathe
7. Dead Ken Beats
8. Girls / More Girls
9. Action Radar Link
10. Firestarter
11. Hotride (El Batori Mix)
12. Back 2 Skool
13. The Way It Is
14. Mindfields
Encore:
15. Poison
16. Method Beats
17. Smack My Bitch Up

Extra info:
Review by Peter Thomas:
Well, what a night. Belfast is a smaller city than we expected, and
Ulster Hall is a rather small venue for a UK tour.
After drinking and dining in Great Victoria Street, we took ourselvesto the venue, where I stood in the freezing cold for about an hour before the doors were scheduled to even open! There was already a queue by this point anyway, so we weren’t as mad as the others who got there before us – not that there were a lot of ’em, and even by the time the doors were ready to open (with 1,800 bottles of Stella delivered to the venue bar during the wait), the queue was substantially shorter than for other indoor gigs I’ve been to. Sold out? I’m not so sure on that.
Venue security decided to divide the queues into male and female before the gig, to search us all as we went in. The girls got less attention, with my girlfriend managing to get in with my video camera, which was spotted by security, but she got let off due to having an English accent – ‘cos we’re just tourists, right? Anyway, that was a major bonus.
This was the first ever gig I’ve been to, where I could only get seated tickets, so it was up on to the balcony for us. Our seat allocations were right at the VERY back row, in the absolute centre. In a way, it was a good view if you want see everything. I’d have preferred a downstairs ticket, and there was an easy way of getting in downstairs (75% of balcony seats were empty, and we knew that many were popping to the downstairs toilets, waiting for an arena side door to open). Still,with being prepared for my first seated gig, a video camera in tow, and the about-to-fall-asleep feeling from having got up at five in the morning for the flight to Belfast, I wasn’t too concerned with doing the usual front row duty any more. Fans in the queue were impressed that this was my thirteenth Prodigy gig, and I decided to take it easy this time.
Leeroy DJ’ed as pre-gig warm up, starting with Public Enemy, going off into more hip-hop, and generally getting a good response, although he shocked by going into commercial territory by playing Shut Up by The Black Eyed Peas and some Sean Paul song (Gimme The Line?) – aargh! At ten, Leeroy left the stage for a local punk act, whose lead singer seemed to be taking style tips from the Strokes, although they were clearly old school punk, and you can recognize the influences from the Buzzcocks to local heroes Stiff Little Fingers. No idea who they were, and their shouty rock anthems were a stark contrast to Leeroy’s sub-Liam DJ set.
After half an hour of them, Leeroy returned for some more DJing. The balcony never filled up completely, remaining only a third filled, although downstairs was already packed by this time. Out of the main area, the venue bars were jam-packed. Well done to the Irish for living up to a national stereotype!
Okay, let’s get on to the Prodigy. After a minute the vocoded words “Wake Up!” being played through the speakers, the band took to the stage, and Keith was wearing black, with some kind of top hat, making him look like a long-lost brother of the Addams family. Maxim was in a long glittery skirt, and the others – Liam, Jim and Keiron obviously kept themselves to their positions as musicians, as Wake Up Call kicked off – as you may know, not one of my favourite tracks on AONO to say the least, although the anticipation from fans there, mixed with the insanely high volume made it rock. Nobody, and I mean nobody, in the balcony was sitting down.
Now, here I am sitting in a Dublin hotel after a night out in Temple Bar, and I really cannot remember the exact set list. There is a recording of the gig in my bag, although my batteries won’t have enough power to rewind. So, the songs as I remember them…
Hotride, being that b-side version on the single, was played, and the whole crowd were going mad for it. I think this was the time when someone threw a bottle at Keith, angering him.
Girls/More Girls was also played, and I think it ended with some mucking about from Liam, playing some distorted sample through his keyboard, and making it last about two minutes, which to be frank, is taking the piss. It wasn’t really a crowd-teaser, it was boredom.
The ‘new’ material – stunk up the place. The first five or so songs were all familiar to us, but when Keith came on to do Warning, the balcony crowd mostly sat down, and downstairs was pretty much static.
It went on way too long, probably five minutes, or at least it felt like that, because of its repetition. This is exhibit A in why Keith should be kicked out of the band. Also, Maxim’s Send You Back To School was guilty too, a repetitive monotony of Prodigy-By-Numbers. AONO was a refreshing album because of the lack of Keith and Maxim’s cliched vocals, so this ‘new’ material is like going back to the FOTL era (butnot as good!).
Their Law got a brilliant reception, one of the best performances of it I’ve heard. Liam ensured the original guitar lines were played stronger than Jim’s ad-libbing, which worked well (sorry Jim!).
Action Radar played with the female vocal isolated at first, and then bringing in one channel of the Numan-esque synth line, slowly bringing in more channels, gradually making it sound more like the album version, although this was all short lived, as it was merely an intro for Firestarter – a song very well received, and despite it being a song I’m usually tired off, Liam has thrown some new strong weird-sounding notes into the chorus right where you wouldn’t expect them. I can safely say this is way superior to any version I’ve heard before.
Bits of Climbatize were used as an intro to another song, I forget which. Probably Breathe, which was the usual stuff, as was Minefields. Nothing special.
The Way It Is was a surprise, it involved a lot of new beats from Liam played over the top, and some new basslines. Worked really well. Fake encore time. After a minute of the usual “we want more”, the band returned for Poison, the ending of which got punctuated with the synths from Liam’s mix of Release Yo’Delf, and also the beats and horns too, a welcome inclusion. I wonder how many people there knew what it was?
Last ever song was Smack My Bitch Up, a textbook play of it, to an
enthusiastic crowd. And that was that. What can I say about the Prodigy fans there? Very friendly people, and no-one from England need be paranoid about popping over to Northern Ireland.
The minor annoyances were some E’d up 16 year old lad from Bangor who dumped his rucksack next to us to look after during the gig, while he kept tripping out in various places around the venue.
Quite a good gig – and I’m evaluating well over a day after being
there, so the immediate post-gig enthusiasm can’t taint the review.
Best Prodigy gig of the 21st Century, and it is clear Liam and the gang can instantly go back to their late 90s standards, if not their mid 90s level, if they would drop the obvious filler and reduce Keith’s role further. It gets a seven out of ten from me. As I said to local Prodigy fan Kylie who asked me if it was the best – “I’ve seen them better”.
Oh, I played back some of my recording – pretty much distorted, mostly unlistenable, due to the intensely high volume! Damn.
Didn’t bother doing the Dublin gig – so much to see here in this city, so little time!
I’ll add more paragraphs to this review when I’m in a position to
listen back to the gig. I know I’ve missed out a few songs, although I’m certain Poison and Their Law were the only Jilted songs played, likewise with Smack My Bitch Up, Breathe, Minefields, Climbatize and Firestarter being the FOTL songs.

Review by neko:
It’s Friday morning and I am knackered and feeling very ill. You need to understand, after Glasgow on Wednesday night I had a few drinks, 2h of sleep and flew to London at 6am on Thursday morning. Now Thursday was the ‘day off’ on the tour, but not for me. Went from the airport straight to work at 9am, then after work had my work xmas party, a black tie event with drinks all night. So I finally stumbled home at 4am for another 3h sleep and that’s the state I was in when getting to Belfast on Friday – 5h sleep since Wednesday and way too much alcohol. Also I’ve actually pretty much nearly lost my voice. Not that any of this would stop me from going to these 3 Prodigy shows this weekend, of course! This is gonna be good!
By pure luck my hotel happens to be located literally around the corner from the venue. The Ulster Hall is one of the smaller venues on the tour, which is of course always good. I get there after 8pm and meet up for a drink with ‘desbot’, who obviously requires little introduction as he is so well known for his posts on the forum. Also I am of course meeting up with my good old drinking buddy Decky. Now, the introductions – this is quite funny, as Desbot once made some very rude comments about Decky’s music with Hedrock Valley Beats on my board and the two broke into boardwar. However, now we all have a drink and it’s all good. Decky: “I thought Desbot was a dick, but he is actually really nice!”. Desbot: “Your mate Decky is a top bloke!” ha ha ha.
And now the gig. Leeroy is DJing but I miss most of the first half of his set. Next on is a support band which i miss as well, but I think it was Vatican DC. Then another bit of DJing by Leeroy…
At about 10.30pm then Prodigy are on. Unfortunately the rumours about a spontanous performance of Out Of Space (spread by Liam himself, after the Glasgow show) don’t materialise and the setlist remains pretty much the same.
But.. this show is amazing. Audience is a bit on the lamer side – although in places a bit too ‘mad’ (or should I say ‘stuck ten years ago’?), anyone see the guys with the blue faces and very ‘old skool’ ravers? haha. Band are at their best, wicked performance. Their Law and Warning are really rockin, then Dead Ken Beats one of the highlights of the show for me. Firestarter seems a bit weak to me tonight, but the Hotride remix seems to work quite well now, very hard indeed.
After the gig Decky’s friends take us out to some Belfast club called ‘milk’ and it’s more drinking and partying until 3am in the morning … Great night!

Review by twister:
wot a fukin night leeroy isnt that bad of a dj he played form 9 9.30
then vatican d played to 10 i think then leeroy came back to 10.30
then the prodigy enter the stage liam kieron wake up into starts crowd goes mad beer bottles start flying maxim duck and dives one just miss him keith was were this top hat with a big feather in it.
their law is next crowd goes nuts for this old tune then i think warning comes on it has changed form the athens then breathe starts im dissapointed that MEDUSAS PATH WASNT played hotride is very good maxim goes into the crowd when minefields plays and reacts with the crowd thats all i can remeber the new firestarter went off like a fukin bomb seen guys doing charly coke Sad people came form the floor to the balcony were i was to get a better view dead ken beats was a fookin exellent track and the other new track went down really well the new fills are also exellent as well sorry dont ono the names the action rader fill was good THE WAY IT IS fukin king live they live after mindfields and then they come back for encore which is POSION THEN SMBU TO END WOT WAS A FUKIN CLASS GIG.

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