2004.10.03 – Parkorman, Istanbul, Turkey

Date: 3rd October 2004
Event: The Prodigy Concert – AONO Tour
Venue: Parkorman
City: Istanbul
Country: Turkey
Support: Kapi Açiliş

Tracklist:
1. Wake Up Intro
2. Wake Up Call
3. Warning
4. Their Law
5. Spitfire
6. Girls / More Girls
7. Breathe
8. Medusa’s Path
9. Hotride
10. The Way It Is
11. Mindfields
12. Firestarter
Encore:
13. Poison
14. Smack My Bitch Up

Extra info:
Review by neko:
I arrived in Istanbul on Friday, which was a bit a difficult evening for me, knowing The Prodigy were just playing their first show in over 2 years over in Greece!
Istanbul is a cool city though. I did the usual shopping / sightseeing bits and was a bit intimidated by the absolutely mad traffic in this place (which pretty much functions without any rules at all) and also the kind of attention you get if you walk around here as a female on your own. I literally had guys coming up to me in the middle of the street, asking me where i am from (in broken english) or asking me if i want to go for a tea (yes, how tempting). And thats just the few ones who spoke english. I never noticed there were any signs ‘tourist’ or ‘available’ on my forehead. So, although I’m probbaly more on the confident side and can well look after myself, with that experience in mind I was dreading this show a bit, being stuck in masses of these turkish guys?! British politeness suddenly seemed the way forward …
The Prodigy show is in a place called ‘Parkorman’ in a suburb called Maslak. 40 minute taxi ride out of the centre. Doors are supposed to open at 4pm and since I have no idea about how big this is gonna be and how to find it, we get there about 3pm. It turns out that Parkorman is actually a public park with restaurants where families can spend a quiet Sunday afternoon and the show is open air, but only a very small area, which is pretty cool.
So you can actually walk into the area and sit in these restaurants behind a massive swimmingpool (!) with an amazingly great view of The Prodigy’s stage. So we’re having a bit of a lunch and suddenly notice that the band are now on the stage doing their soundcheck. Not bad for Sunday afternoon entertainment!
This is amazing… Wake Up Call gets played over and over again, later Hotride, Spitfire and then I also hear that new track ‘Warning’ first. The sound is really good in this place and this is almost a bit too much too soon!
They go through most of their set and this lasts almost an hour, almost like a little warm up ‘gig’, and at about 4pm the band are leaving again. It’s still nice warm and sunny outside so coming from London this is of course very pleasant here so the whole waiting around isn’t really all that bad (and a special shout out here to Kieron).
6pmish then the main doors open and people are starting to come in. I decide I’ve got to be in the front row, just because thats where the Prodigy look and sound best from! Also some local DJ is on now, playing mostly hip hop stuff. Later he is joined by some rappers and now we’ve got a Turkish hip hop band playing for about an hour. Obviously I can’t understand a single word of what they’re saying, apart from the occasional “Fuck Bush”, but they’re not all that bad at all. They’re already finished at 7.30pm though and with two more hours to go until The Prodigy are on it seems a bit a long time. The space is filling up now (people are surprisingly polite though and not pushing, although I wish the guy to my left had used a deodorant this morning) and some non-visible DJ is playing a pretty cool set with lots of breakbeat stuff. Not sure whether this was an actual set or prerecorded.
By 9pm there’s massive anticipation. The stage is all set up now, it’s gone dark outside and the lightshow is teasing the people. The tunes played by the DJ get harder and harder (apart from a short string of 80’s tunes remixes breaking the pattern) and shortly after 9.30pm finally… finally….. the new Wake Up Intro starts. This literally just is what it says, an intro. Not one of this carefully written ‘could almost be a full track’ fills that Liam sometimes used as intros, this really is just an intro of a voice slowly going ‘wake up, wake up’.
Now the whole live band come on stage, obviously Liam behind his keyboards, now starting the full on track Wake Up Call, Kieron Pepper of course on drums and Jim Davies back again on guitars. As the track starts also Maxim and Keith come on stage and, as usual, when seeing them the crowd goes wild. Or can I actually say ‘as usual’ in this live review or have things really changed since the last shows over 2 years ago?
Wake Up Call live sounds amazing. I know it’s predictable that it’s at the start of the set, no doubt about that, but unless you’ve actually heard and experienced it live you wont know how great this track sounds live. It’s not really one of my favourites on the album, to be honest, but it carries so much energy live, especially with Keith and Maxim both doing lyrics. Not exactly sure what the guitars were adding to it as it didn’t really strike me as a guitar track, but I’m not complaining. GREAT start of the set!
After Wake Up Call then an ever newer song than the AONO tracks, the track Warning Liam had only just written. It’s pretty crazy to think that the band only started to play AONO live this weekend and Liam, Mr.7 years for an album, already has yet another new track ready! Warning is a fast track with hard beats and some cool guitar stuff going on. Jim’s solos definitely sound good on this. Keith’s doing the main vocals, Maxim a few as well. Most remarkably is the chorus by Keith:
“I’m not a punk,
i’m just a cunt,
talking to me?
I’m probably drunk!”
The verse, also by Keith, actually reminds a bit of his current style of vocals he does with his other band Clever Brains Fryin’, but the music is obviously very different. He definitely sounds very good on this track.
Next on is my (still) favourite track ever, Their Law! Audience reactions are really good throughout, but people definitely know this one. I probably don’t need to get into details here about how much I love this track live because you all probably got bored already of me saying this over all these years, but it’s gotta be said how tight the band actually seem again here. It all seems to have worked out for them now despite the long breaks, split rumours, solo careers, and what we see here on stage is really The Prodigy at their best.
Right, I’m supposed to write an objective review here and not just praise them, but after these three real bombs of tracks, now next on is Spitfire. This has Maxim doing vocals now, while Keith climbes through the front rows, not afraid of body contact and stirring all these excited Turks up even more. Spitfire is yet another bomb and I wonder how they’re going to carry this set through. They haven’t even played a single track from The Fat of The Land yet!
The Fat of The Land has to wait yet another while as another new track gets played now, Girls. Maxim is on stage adding vocals to this, but suddenly midway through the track changes over into More Girls, also featuring the very familiar “every action a reaction…”. I actually liked hearing Girls live, but More Girls is definitely the better live track, so having them both is a good idea, now only the changeover between the two needs to be a bit smoother. But no complaints really about this one.
So only after 6 tracks, Liam plays something from The Fat of The Land now with Breathe. Playing this most well known material so late into the set seems like a huge risk to take, but looking back now the setlist has been so strong that it really isn’t. Obviously the ‘usual’ set up for Breathe, Maxim and Keith both on stage doing their bits, no guitars, crowd going mad. It’s still the same track as usual, no remix or additions.
Now things go a bit quieter as everyone apart from Liam and Kieron leave the stage and Medusa’s Path is on. This oriental sounding track is of course perfect for the setting here in Turkey and also a bit a well deserved breather. The beats though in this track, wow, definitely harder than on the album now.
The peacefulness doesn’t last long though and one of my favourite tracks from the new album is played, Hotride. This track normally has vocals by Juliette Lewis, but now for the live show Liam is playing a slightly different version with Keith on vocals. Now, I love Hotride, but I think this live version still needs some work. I love hard music, but here it really is just hard beats now, and most of the melodies and that kind of playfulness in the original track have gone. It’s very rare for me to prefer a studio version over a live version, but with Hotride this is definitely the case, and this is NOT because of Keith’s vocals. It seems like it could go into a cool direction, but I dont think it’s quite there yet. Or it just still needs to grow on me.
Next on another AONO track, The Way It Is, with Maxim doing vocals on it stating “It’s just the way it is”. Towards the end Liam cheekily throws in some samples of the original Thriller by Michael Jackson and the grin on his face when he does so must be visible way until the back of the audience.
The next one is interesting, Liam treats us with a fill. Not a new one, but one that we first heard during the so called ‘BGAT-era’, namely at Seat Beach Rock festival in Belgium in 2002. I don’t think it ever got a name but it was definitely the same one. Interesting also the vocals by Maxim going “Another one bites the dust” or something like that… there was definitely a ‘dust’ in the end.
Maxim stays on stage and it’s time for pure Maxim time now with Mindfields. This is always a good live track, and although i got tired of it a bit during the last tour it now actually sounds pretty fresh to me again.
Time for more The Fat of the Land material now as Keith performs Firestarter. Yes, in it’s original version (apart from a few slightly wrong lyrics), but I heard this might change for later in the tour…
Keith is obviously tried and tested good on this one and the audience love him blindly. Jim also makes a last appearance on guitars, tried and tested as well, then the whole band dissappear, leaving the audience waiting for the obvious encore.
Predictably, the audience shouts for more (not necessarily in English) and the band shortly after reappear and finish off the set with two other tried and tested live tracks. First Poison, obviously Maxim doing vocals here and this still is a great live track. Just like on Mindfields, Maxim is great on this, still carrying his same vibe playing the evil guy, sometimes stepping down to shout at a security guard and doing all his little tricks.
Now the very end comes with Smack My Bitch Up. I know this sounds a bit obsessive, but i just love watching Keith’s face expressions during this track, especially during the Shahin Badar bits. No mp3 or even live video can capture this, but it’s these things that make him such a great performer. SMBU is a bit of a ‘going out with a bang’-tune. A bit mean of them to leave like that really.
So now that’s it… show over. The verdict? Amazing, definitely, not much ‘as usual’ here at all, it feels like a good fresh start, without trying to hard and still sticking to whats important of the old times. Before I went to the gig I was thinking about how I’d probaly write in my review about how I missed Nuclear in the set (I loved this live track) but the live set really was so strong now that I didn’t actually miss it. The first half of the set until Breathe just seemed to be like bomb after bomb. The second part was a bit weaker, apart from Smack My Bitch Up. Also very good to hear them do a decent lenght of set with about 90 minutes, so that’s definitely so much better than all this festival stuff.
The set as a whole definitely sounded ‘new’ and you could somehow tell a bit that it had come straight out of the studio. Liam has already predicted the show will probably evolve over the next months and I think it will have to. Especially the links between tracks are a bit weak still or nonexistent, but then the tracks themselves are very strong on their own so it’s a bit less of an issue. The band definitely seem really tight, you can tell they’re all into the vibe and love doing it. Having seen Keith with his other band just a week ago I am not so surprised about him still being as into it as he’s always been (wouldn’t expect him to be tired, although he appears to be doing about 5 shows a week currently!), but also the others seem like they’ve hardly ever been away.
The set list chosen works well, but I am hoping for some variation with it as the tour goes on. Maybe a few more fills, spontanous Jilted and Experience (!) tracks as an extra added onto it and maybe an Action Radar instrumental could be pretty cool. All in all this was definitely a step forward for The Prodigy. Live shows have always been the most important part about the band for me, so I am really glad they managed to carry that huge step Liam took in the studio over into the live show.

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