2015.11.23 – The SSE Hydro, Glasgow, Scotland

Date: 23nd November 2015
Event: The Prodigy Concert – The Day Is My Enemy Tour
Venue: The SSE Hydro
City: Glasgow
Country: Scotland
Support: Public Enemy

Tracklist:
1. Breathe
2. Nasty
3. Omen
4. Wild Frontier
5. Firestarter
6. Roadblox
7. Rok-weiler
8. The Day Is My Enemy
9. Beyond The Deathray
10. Voodoo People
11. Get Your Fight On
12. Run With The Wolves
13. Everybody In The Place
14. Invaders Must Die
15. No Good (Start The Dance)
16. Smack My Bitch Up
Encore:
17. Their Law
18. Wall Of Deathe
19. Take Me To The Hospital

Extra info:
Review by David Pollock:
The Prodigy and Public Enemy, Hydro, Glasgow, gig review: The billing is a perfect match
Prior to this arena double bill, there may have been some who viewed it as a novelty package tour of headline controversies from years gone by. Footing the bill and representing hazy memories of rap’s early days in the 1980s are Long Island’s Public Enemy, mostly in their 50s now, but still a stark reminder of the days when angry, socially conscious lyrics were the genre’s norm. Alongside them, Essex rave icons the Prodigy, fondly remembered for the cartoonish but cobweb-clearing punk aesthetic which frightened so many parents during their 1990s’ Britpop-era heyday.
Yet both groups, for all their elder years and sense that their time at the cutting edge of culture is behind them, are still admirably active and fiercely uncompromising as artists. Back in June Public Enemy released their thirteenth studio record ‘Man Plans, God Laughs’, and the title track fitted in here as a bullishly confrontational classic in the vein of ‘Bring the Noise’, ‘Fight the Power’ and ‘Shut ‘Em Down’, all played in the set. “Am I a radical? / am I a pacifist? / am I scared to fight? / I ain’t askin’,” spat Chuck D, laying his cards down.
Against a backdrop of blood-red lights and DJ Lord’s screeching mixes, the unlikely dynamic at the core of the group retains perfect balance; on the one hand, Chuck’s learned, heads-down agit-prop, and on the other, the clock-wearing Flavour Flav’s visceral party-hard style. They may have been inadvertently off-message with one another when Chuck declared he would have voted for Scottish independence and Flav said he was against all forms of “separatism” (although the comment was aimed at “racist mother****ers” in his own country), but their lively set is only ever enhanced by the firmness of belief at the music’s heart.
After Public Enemy, the fact that the Prodigy could be placed in the same bracket was the real surprise of the evening. In their glory days they were viewed as a loud and lairy party band, with their simplistic lyrical edge regularly cause for tabloid furore (the pyromaniac ‘Firestarter’ here sounds almost childishly snotty, although ‘Smack My Bitch Up’s is even harder to like or understand after two decades of feminist advance). Yet if programmer Liam Howlett and MCs/hypemen Maxim and Keith Flint are out of step with current fashion, it’s only to their huge benefit.
Under a stunning lightshow and before a heaving crowd, the thundering sonic assault of guitar, drums and electronic bass sounds more fiercely punk than anything that has gone before or since, a take-no-prisoners challenge to get off the sidelines and get involved. From classic like ‘Voodoo People’ and ‘Everybody in the Place’ to the more recent ‘Invaders Must Die’ and ‘The Day is My Enemy’, the title track of this year’s sixth album, they’re a thrillingly resolute experience – and more nakedly political than might be remembered in the ever-fresh free party anthem ‘Their Law’. The billing is a perfect match, and a pleasingly exciting arena experience on the politely commercial contemporary landscape.

Review by Andrea O’Neill:
The Prodigy tore the roof off the Glasgow Hydro the only way they know how – by unleashing a thorough assault on your senses.
Proving they can still rock the crowd with the same vigour and intensity 25 years on, there seems to be no stopping the dance veterans.
And with the mighty Public Enemy on support duty, Chuck D, Flavor Flav and DJ Lord ‘Brought the Noise’ and got the crowd buzzing for the main event blasting out classic Enemy tracks ‘911 is A Joke’ and ‘Fight the Power’.
The politically-charged hip hop masters ended their set with a tribute to those who perished in the recent terror attacks in Paris and Mali by promoting peace and unity.
Rapper Flavor Flav managed to get the entire room to stick two fingers up to racial hate and separatism in a united display of peace.
Whipping the crowd into a frenzy from the get-go with their most notorious track ‘Breathe’, Prodigy fans knew they were in for a night of pure 90’s rave nostalgia with the acid house legends.
Monday night madness ensued with the buoyant crowd lapping up Keith Flint and Maxim’s infectious energy and unrelenting tributes to the “party people” of Glasgow.
Chants of “All my Glaswegians let me hear ya!” came from the enigmatic duo as they belted out ‘The Omen’ and stomping title track from their latest album ‘The Day is my Enemy’.
A blaze of red lights and seizure-inducing strobes lit up the Hydro throughout their hit-laden setlist with fan favourites ‘Firestarter’, ‘Voodoo People’ and ‘Invaders Must Die’ the most electrifying and celebrated tracks of the night.
Another war cry from Maxim as the swirling rhythms of ‘Smack My Bitch Up’ infiltrated the auditorium summed up the reverberating feeling of solidarity The Prodigy have with their loyal hardcore fans.
“If you’re from Scotland and you’re not here you’re in the wrong f*****g place!”, Maxim screamed.
The highlight of the night came during the breakdown of the band’s most controversial anthem from Fat of the Land – an orchestrated sit down, jump up moment.
The place erupted when the beat dropped, shaking the Hydro to its foundations.
During the three-track encore of ‘Their Law’, ‘Wall of Death’ and ‘Take Me to the Hospital’ before outro ‘Out of Space’, Keith echoed Maxim’s earlier sentiments shared by many a band who play the city telling his Glasgow warriors: “Scotland has great memories for us. You have always been a heavy crowd… real party people in Scotland.”

eview by Paul Whitelaw:
THIS IS how it supposedly goes in the cyclical world of pop: angry rebel firebrands become generational heroes via early, definitive releases. Then they become rich, fat and jaded, their spirit numbed by the deadly effects of middle-age comfort and ­success.
Stung by criticism that they’re no longer relevant, they eventually make an embarrassing attempt to reconnect with their youthful wrath. Sad self-parody ensues.
Public Enemy and The Prodigy will be all too aware of this pattern, hence this co-headlining tour in which, with admirable brio, they make a united stand against the reductive notion that rage is a luxury of youth.
I’ve attended countless stadium gigs in my time, but this was undoubtedly the loudest. That alone is worthy of praise.
Granted, an element of crowd-pleasing cabaret permeated proceedings. But that’s no bad thing. I’d rather be harangued by showmen than dullards. This is showbiz after all.
The righteous, politicised indignation of Public Enemy hasn’t faltered over the years, nor has their desire to entertain a crowd. Still flanked by an amusingly useless pair of “dancers” attired in military costumes – their three settings are: standing still, wandering about and stiffly spinning around – the hip-hop legends haven’t altered their stage act in 30 years. But if the shtick ain’t broke.
One of the great pop double-acts, stentorian Chuck D and clownish Flavor Flav thundered through timeless protest anthems such as Don’t Believe The Hype and Fight The Power as threatening Klieg lights scythed across the masses. Face facts, Status Quo, most oldies acts don’t tend to evoke the iconography of apocalyptic revolution. D and Flav still thrill.
Under squalling sirens and retina-scorching white light, the war intensified with the arrival of The Prodigy, whose bone-shaking tumult of punk metal techno made Public Enemy’s formidable bass attack sound like a pin-sized kazoo quartet.
Unlike their co-headliners, Liam Howlett’s wild bunch are revolutionary in a purely nihilistic, hedonistic sense: political by proxy. Even after all these years, their live show is an utterly relentless assault, hilarious and hysterical in its deranged, unstoppable Ramones-like intensity.
Fairground front-men Keith Flint and Maxim are in no danger of looking ridiculous in middle age, because looking ridiculous was always part of their subversive remit. They’re the dance equivalent of professional wrestlers, faux-scary entertainers masquerading as comic book villains. Resistance is futile.
The likes of Breathe, Voodoo People, Smack My Bitch Up and, inevitably, Firestarter are testament to Howlett’s gonzo craftsman knack for ruthlessly simple, aggressive hooks.
The crowd, liberally stocked with ageing ravers going bananas in a surging mosh pit, lapped it up.
They were so lost in the chaos, most of them didn’t even notice when zombie-eyed, imposing Maxim, who isn’t hard to spot, ran around the arena’s vacant perimeter.
He was presumably expecting to be followed, Pied Piper style, by a conga line of hysteria. His failure was endearing. Bathos is a luxury of age.

Review by John Graham:
“This ain’t Barrowlands but we sure as shit are about to wreck this motherfucker.”
The seasons change but Chuck D’s mischievous introduction to Rebel Without A Pause speaks for Public Enemy’s ever steady middle finger and general unwillingness to surrender to the beige homogeneity of your typical call and response rap show. While the plight of mainstream hip-hop’s class of 2015 might be largely egocentric, it’s heartening to see that PE are still out here grinding for the greater cause some 33 years into a maverick career. Why stop and celebrate with a biopic when you’re still living it?
Granted, they occasionally lose a little momentum in the scrum (“It’s like the Johnny Carson show,” Chuck laughs at one point, briefly showing his age and shaking his head during an improvised instrumental breakdown which ends with the band scratching its arse) but the righteous fury of salient calling cards like 911 Is A Joke and Can’t Truss It feels undeniably prescient in such politically aggressive times.
While Chuck largely lets the lyrics do the talking (beyond confessing that he’d have been a ‘Yes’ on Scotland’s referendum), it’s Flava Flav – increasingly distancing himself from the court jester routine he made his name with – who predominantly steps up on the soapbox tonight, hammering home a simple message of anti-racism that unites the crowd in attitude.
Tapping Public Enemy as your support band? You’ll need some nerve. Trust Braintree’s original techno lords to push the PA’s bass to lower depths. “Bring the noise,” snarls Maxim, reiterating their pioneering tour mates’ mantra as the Hydro finally begins to fill. With maestro Liam Howlett at his back and fellow hypeman Keith Flint on the mic, it’s a team effort from the start as they launch into Breathe and send the plastic pints flying.
A career-spanning set in the truest sense, a page is torn from every chapter of The Prodigy playbook (besides 2004’s criminally glossed over Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned), whether it’s the energised breakbeats that propelled them from warehouse raves to the Top of the Pops back in 1991 (see a thunderous, rare airing for Everybody in the Place) to their assimilation of obnoxious punk rock aesthetics that came later (from the free party backing Their Law onwards).
Announced by a formulaic lead single (Nasty) which bordered on self-parody and a disorienting tracklist that might have benefitted from a trim and shuffle, sixth LP The Day Is My Enemy proved divisive with their substantial fanbase, but tonight reveals itself as a potent source of live material. Teeming with a visceral energy that’s hard to emulate, the likes of Wild Frontier and Roadblox invite a primal response that their perceived spiritual successors can rarely touch when it’s all said and done.
Nearly 90 minutes of keeping the levels up at full bore and the audience in the palm of their hand, the most fervent reaction manifests for 1994’s No Good (Start the Dance), the dirty dancefloor classic that blew The Prodigy’s appeal and potential open beyond anybody’s expectations and still sounds like the future. There can’t be anywhere else to go, surely?
“It’s the fuckin’ anthem,” Maxim growls. “Sound men of the 21st century – turn it up!” With its sampled, misconstrued lyric originally from the abstract mind of a young Kool Keith (who has always been more about absurdity than sentiment), it’s controversial enough just to play Smack My Bitch Up on a pub jukebox, let alone demand that 13,000 fans crouch then jack in the box for that explosive last chorus. But it’s like Chuck boomed earlier in the night: ‘Rock with some pizzazz / It will last.’ An attitude our co-hosts practice harder than most.

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Tracklist:

Ticket:

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