All the gigs of my life: Gig 93 – The Prodigy, Friday, December 3, 2004

My first time seeing the Prodigy, who just turned out to be one of the greatest live bands I’ve ever seen.

‘Absolutely bloody amazing.

If I have any regrets when I look back on my gigging life, one is absolutely certain: it took me far, far too long to get round to seeing the Prodigy live. Although my 1990s musical faves had tended to be of the skinny-boys-with-guitars variety, I always found the dance music of the era incredibly inspiring and exciting. I may have looked towards pop and indie for my idols, but the world of electronic music was where the future was being woven, and I found it hugely enticing.

The epitome of this, for me, was the Prodigy. Their 1994 album “Music For The Jilted Generation” had dazzled me with its cinematically adventurous exploration of the unbounded possibilities that electronic music had to offer. Ten years on, with their fierce and fantastic fourth record “Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned”, it was clear that their fire was undimmed, and I was finally seeing them live.

I’d had the chance to see them way back in 1997, at day two of V97, but I was not feeling very gigtastic on that grim rainy day, and so had gone home early. Now, in 2004, it was time to rectify that error. Setting out for Brixton on this wintry evening I was for the second time accompanied by my Glam Best Friend, and we had a thrilling night of leaping about and screaming to the huge tunes and formidable spectacle of the Prodigy ahead of us. From my diary:

‘Best light show ever, ranging from many coloured spotlights to eye-searing epileptic fit-inducing lightning bolts to massive glitter balls bathing us all in eerie strings of light. All so perfectly in time to the TUNES!’

It seems I was still somewhat breathless and overwhelmed when I got home from this gig, because all I could do was splutter out a list of highlights onto my diary page.

‘”Their Law”, second in, and “Poison”, second last. “Breathe”, one of my most exciting gig moments ever, and “Smack My Bitch Up”, the two of us singing it to each other like it was Our Tune!’

But of course there was one highlight among highlights. One legendary, era-defining song that had mesmerised me back in 1996. And it was an almost unbelievable thrill to be able to witness it live.

‘”Firestarter”!!! Never thought I’d see Keith Flint in the flesh roaring “I’m a firestarter! Twisted firestarter!” And he had a splendid top hat.’

It goes without saying that I would give anything to be able to experience that again. The loss of Keith in March last year was a devastating tragedy, and I’ll write more about that a few posts from now, when I’ll get to my second, and so far final, Prodigy gig.

For this gig, I want to focus on the great memories. Although I wrote down very little in my diary, I have a very powerful impression in my mind of how it felt to be at this gig – the sheer indescribable thrill of the lights and sounds that were emanating from the stage, the magnetic, mesmerising charisma of Keith, and my best friend and I revelling in this incredible experience together.

We were right at the back of the floor and had a fairly good view but if we decided that if we see them again, we definitely want to be in the thick of it. ‘

And we would indeed do just that, less than a year later.

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