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article imageReview: Still the firestarters, The Prodigy light up Wembley Special

By Tim Sandle     Dec 6, 2015 in Entertainment
London - The Prodigy, still dancing to the heavy beats after 20 years of 90s electronica mayhem, played a sell-out show in London. Lively, energetic and still controversial.
The Prodigy are an English electronic dance music group, formed by front man Liam Howlett back in 1990. The Prodigy helped to pioneer the so-called big beat genre. In 1997, the band had a joint U.S. / U.K. number 1 with the album The Fat of the Land. The group's most recent offering was 2015's The Day Is My Enemy. The band has been touring Europe and the tour culminated with a two-day stint at London's SSE Wembley Arena.
The set contained many of the band's classic staple and showcased their art of cutting across different sub-genres, like rave, hardcore techno, electro-industrial, jungle, breakbeat, big beat and electronic rock.
The Prodigy taking to the stage at Wembey Arena  December 2015.
The Prodigy taking to the stage at Wembey Arena, December 2015.
The set opened with "Breathe," the band's million selling single, followed shortly afterward by "Omen," which quickly got everyone in the seated area to their feat, and those in the mosh pit into a frenzied mayhem.
The concert going crowd become excited when The Prodigy take to the stage.
The concert going crowd become excited when The Prodigy take to the stage.
Blasted out soon into the set was the crowd favorite "Firestarter," a U.K. number 1 single (and U.S. top 30.) Also featured, as the close-out before the customary encore, was "Smack My Bitch Up," a song controversial at the time of its released for its misogynistic title and hints of sexual violence. The song, the band have argued, has been misinterpreted, stating it is simply about hedonistic excess. However, given it tainted history this type of song, whatever its supposed "deeper meaning," it has little place in the twenty-first century.
The prodigy in action at Wembley Arena  December 2015.
The prodigy in action at Wembley Arena, December 2015.
Away from this, the standout song was one called "Nasty," a vibrating electro-punk offering that offered the most danceable tunes of the night.
The full set-list was:
Breathe
Nasty
Omen
Wild Frontier
Firestarter
Roadblox
Rok-Weiler
The Day Is My Enemy
Beyond the Deathray
Voodoo People
Get Your Fight On
Run With the Wolves
Everybody in the Place
Invaders Must Die
Medicine
Smack My Bitch Up
Encore:
Their Law
No Good (Start the Dance)
Take Me to the Hospital
The band performed these songs well, and loudly, supported by grainy black and white projected images and a heap of lasers and spinning spotlights.
Lots of lights and strobe effects at The Prodigy concert.
Lots of lights and strobe effects at The Prodigy concert.
The Prodigy are masters of what they do, entertaining the crowd with danceable tracks and powerful beats. Where they fell short at Wembley was in following Public Enemy and in playing a fairly short song set. Dealing with the first, no one buys Prodigy records for deep and thoughtful lyrics. As the opening act, Pubic Enemy gave a politically charged act featuring songs lyrical magic; this made The Prodigy seem a little stuck in the past at times.
The ant is the symbol of the band The Prodigy. The band have said their reason for selecting this is...
The ant is the symbol of the band The Prodigy. The band have said their reason for selecting this is because "The ant is small but powerful, they work hard, they work as a team."
The next criticism was the length of the set. For people paying £40 to £80 (almost $150) per ticket, a 75 minute set (including the one encore) was a little on the light side. For a band of such longevity, a strong back catalog could have been exploited.
That said, again in drawing a contrast to Public Enemy, who opened for the Essex group, The Prodigy's musical style remains firmly rooted in the 1990s and, musically, things don't seem to have moved on much. However, given the enthusiasm of the gyrating crowd who bopped to ever beat, this didn't seem to matter: The Prodigy gave their fans what they wanted.
Fans enjoying a powered-up set from The Prodigy at Wembley Arena.
Fans enjoying a powered-up set from The Prodigy at Wembley Arena.
Digital Journal rate 2-and-a-half out of 5.
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