There will be no return.
That was the ominous warning to fans as the lights dimmed and the bass started rumbling. Launching straight into Breathe, the Prodigy held nothing back, turning the dancefloor into an instant mosh pit. From start to finish, it was all in.
The Prodigy’s return to Perth for a huge stadium show at Perth Arena on Thursday night was somewhat different to the summer festival circuit they are used to playing, and the first show for the Australian leg of the No Tourists circuit.
Crowds were light on, but those who there, came with enthusiasm. Early on, support came from from Sydney DJ Enschway (aka Nic Schweighoffer), starting things off with a heavy dubstep set, playing everything from Pendulum to, strangely, Blink 182.
Next up, Perth legend ShockOne joined onstage with Reija Lee for live vocals, was the perfect warm up, bringing classic drum ‘n’ bass and dubstep, including his own hit Bleed Black. He had the crowd making shapes and got the dancefloor thumping.
Although The Prodigy don’t give in to using fancy pyros and gimmicks, their stage production is still spectacular. The absolute onslaught of lights and noise was impressive, at times completely shadowing the performance onstage. Live drums (Leo Crabtree) and guitars (Rob Holliday) accentuated the familiar beats and basslines from keyboardist and founding member Liam Howlett. MCs Maxim and Keith Flint played the part of devilish ringleaders, constantly moving around the stage and revving up the crowd. There was very little banter, aside from some encouraging words to Perth’s VIP warriors to keep it going. Which they did eagerly.
The vibe inside the general admission area was excitable, but friendly. Although there was plenty of pushing and shoving as punters jumped and danced, including the occasional break out mosh circles, the comradery of being there for the same purpose joined the crowd together as one.
The only (minor) downside for this stellar performance was the reduced set list. Spoilers were leaked early on via the Facebook page, with a list posted from the UK tour. If Perth is to go by, Australian crowds at upcoming shows may be disappointed to know they’re going to miss out on a couple of big early catalogue bangers. There was no Poison or Their Law, not even the Out of Space outro, which has been played in the Europe leg.
But newer fans would have been more than happy with plenty of hits off more recent albums, including 2018’s No Tourists: Resonate, Light Up the Sky, Champions of London, Need Some1 and encore double We Live Forever and Timebomb Zone. In fact, there was good representation from the later catalogue including Nasty, Roadblox (both from The Day Is My Enemy) and Omen, Run with Wolves and Take Me to the Hospital (from Invaders Must Die). Meanwhile, Everybody in the Place and Fire were cool throwbacks to Experience for the old skool junglists.
And then there were the bangers. The Prodigy know what their fans want. All the big commercial hits came out: Breathe, Firestarter, Smack My Bitch Up and this reviewer’s bucket-list track, No Good (Start the Dance), all had the crowds heaving and singing out. In particular, a heavier version of Voodoo People reminiscent of the Pendulum remix was a suitable nod to the Perth D’n’B originals.
The hype and build up on social media for this show has been persistent for the last few months. And with good reason. Over almost 30 years, the Prodigy have honed in on what makes a great live show, delivering a unique performance with unequalled energy and authority, proving that they are definitely not just tourists to us.
Photos by Giselle Natassia