Over the last three decades there are few bands the UK has exported that have had anywhere near the pioneering influence The Prodigy can boast.
Along with perhaps only The Chemical Brothers (although their live setup is vastly different), the Essex trio must be considered the kings of the crossover, introducing indie-rock fans to the world of electronica in their millions.
Those prone to bouts of snobbery may jibe that Liam, Keith and Maxim occasionally err on the side predictability, but if you crack a formula guaranteed to blow minds every time (even now they’re hurtling towards their fifties), it would almost be sacrilege to tamper with it.
With that in mind, this comeback gig at Manchester’s Apollo (a relatively intimate space for this band of arena-conquerors) is packed full of classics. But with studio album number seven on the way, the band demonstrate their confidence in so far unheard material, opening with ‘Resonate’, a visceral upcoming track that we will surely see land as a single next year.
There are a few intrigued looks, but by the time the track comes to an ear-bashing crescendo everyone is hooked. As the glitchy opening chime of ‘Omen’ then fills the air, the packed out room is a sea of euphoria bringing ravers, punks, metal heads, indie-rockers and everyone in between together. One band’s ability to unite all these often opposing factions in such a way really is no mean feat.
It’s impressive too that so many years down the line the band’s pair of frontmen are able to maintain such bounding energy from start to finish, leaping around the stage and egging on a crowd who, in fairness, don’t need too much encouragement. It’s a true joy to see thousands of 40-something former (and a few current) whizz-heads letting it all out on a Thursday night and picking up right where they left off.
There are a few notable omissions like ‘Out of Space’, ‘Charly’ and ‘Warrior’s Dance’, but realistically such a back catalogue will always eventually force sacrifices.
The can be no accusations of head-scratchers or chin-strokers as the night draws to a close though. ‘Smack My Bitch Up’ ends the main set before a blistering encore brings out ‘No Good (Start the Dance)’, ‘Breathe’ and ‘Take Me to the Hospital’. We wouldn’t be surprised if they were still at it in another 25 years to be honest.