2001 Live: Trigger, Nuclear, Goblin
Exactly 22 years ago marked The Prodigy’s long-awaited return to the stage after two years of silence. As you know, after the stunning success of «The Fat Of The Land» LP, once the band was done with the gigs in mid-1999, The Prodigy decided to have a break for an indefinite period. Liam Howlett himself even called TFOTL the final album for the band. The coveted comeback arrived in the summer of 2001, as the guys did gigs at four different venues within eight days. During that time, several fresh post-TFOTL tracks debuted at the gigs — they were very close to «The Fat Of The Land» sound- and concept-wise, so the fan community met the new stuff with much excitement.
The long-awaited comeback took place on August 17th, 2001 at the Rock ‘Oz Arenes festival in Switzerland. There was premiere of several fresh new tracks: 2001 Intro, Trigger, Nuclear and Goblin, written after the album ‘The Fat Of The Land’ – in sound these tracks continued the favorite concept of “Fat”.
The militant title of the new album, Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned, had already been known by the middle of 2000, and the 2001 comeback marked if not its nearest release then at least an intense production process. Millions of fans around the globe were waiting for the loud return of the band like never before. The gigs took place in August: Rock ‘Oz Arenes Festival (Switzerland, 17/08), Bizarre Festival (Germany, 18/08), Lowlands Festival (Netherlands, 24/08), and Pukkelpop Festival (Belgium, 25/08).
Accompanied by the sounds of a sharp drumroll, reminiscent of an army march, The Prodigy presented their brand new logo — it featured a lone star instead of the well-known ant, and next to it there was a silhouette of a head with a missile inside of it. Different missiles, weapons, jet fighters, tanks and bullets would be also used in the band’s website design later on, in 2002.
A new live intro was inspired by «The Great Escape» movie, while the band themselves were obviously experimenting with the militant aesthetics. The intro’s ending line «I believe that you and me last forever» (sampled from «All Day And All Of The Night» by the Kinks) confirmed: The Prodigy are fucking back and they’re not gonna surrender without a fight.
By the way, a couple years ago, we recreated that intro!
The titles of the new tracks, Trigger and Nuclear, were also unambiguous: the band was ready to attack once again after a short break. While ‘Trigger’ had the same arrangement throughout all four gigs, ‘Nuclear’ was being modified right along the mini-tour: the first version was played on August 17th in Switzerland
And just the next day the Germans heard the second version of the track:
There were hints back in ’99, that this punk track happening, which would provide the impetus to write a new album:
Liam Howlett for Select (01/02/99): “I’m not saying anything about a new album yet, I’m just kicking a few beats around. The first thing that I want to do is record the ultimate ’90s punk anthem – just to capture that spirit and energy – but on an electronic tip. I still don’t think that I’ve achieved that.
You may check out some nice fan reviews from those 4 gigs here: theprodigyontour.com/?cat=13
During this mini-tour, they sold merch: a khaki t-shirt with four concert dates and a silhouette of a head with a rocket inside.
Also some time ago an army jacket with the German flag on sleeve and with the head-with-a-missile logo on the chest was found on eBay. It’s very likely that this merch was exclusive at the Bizarre Festival (Weeze, Germany). A similar one was worn by Howlett himself during the 2001-2002 tour!
In addition to the much-loved ‘Trigger’ and ‘Nuclear’, the band also presented a new live filler, the track called Little Goblin or simply Goblin, which was unmentioned in the 2001 setlists, because it was a one and a half minute quick sketch based on the loop from the track «Dr. Frankenstein» by the Italian progressive rock band Goblin (by the way, these wonderful gentlemen are still playing shows and recording new stuff).
- Sample: drums & piano & guitar
- Sample source: Goblin – Dr. Frankenstein [Roller, 1976]
We also recreated this filler a couple years ago, supplementing it with a video sequence after some “fanatics” attacked our project! 🙂
About half a year later, the track was a little tweaked, and some of its excerpts could be heard on the official The Prodigy 2002-2003 website — however, ‘Goblin’ was hardly planned for a full release, therefore it was used as a musical background on the band’s website. At the same time, the sketch sounded fresh and bright.
Another nice point is that Frankenstein will come to life on yet another track from those summer gigs. Liam uses a different sample from the track in the «Trigger» mentioned above — and a couple of years later, this reversed guitar riff from the beginning of Goblin song will finally migrate to «Shoot Down».
- Sample: reversed guitar (at 1:49 and throughout)
- Sample source: Goblin – Dr. Frankenstein [Roller, 1976]
In 2001 in addition to Liam, Maxim and Keef, the Prodigy’s live line-up also included drummer Kieron Pepper, who started working with the guys back in 1997, and guitarist Alli MacInnes.
The band loudly declared themselves to be back again, and in the wake of the summer gigs, several articles appeared in the press. For example, NME in their 1st September issue published some travel notes from the tour. There you could read how Howlett lazily talked about the upcoming marriage, about the impressions of new popular music, about the well-fed life after ‘The Fat Of The Land’ and about his impending thirty years. He also flirtatiously reflected on the fact that The Prodigy «are still relevant as fuck».
One way or another the press became interested in the band again. That’s why some rumors began to circulate about the release of the No Souvenirs single. Unfortunately, this was just bullshit generated by a bunch of journalists, waiting for at least some news about The Prodigy. Despite the fact that the first versions of ‘No Souvenirs’ were already done back in 1999, Liam quickly and decisively threw it to the far shelf, and all work on this track and its remixes later on took place almost exclusively at the initiative of Robert Del Naja (3D), the track co-author and «a good lad», as Liam himself calls the founding member of Massive Attack. Howlett did not plan any singles in 2001 and was actively working on the new music of The Prodigy.
As Martin James states in his ‘We Eat Rhythm’ book, the short European tour turned out to be really successful for Liam. Right after being back in the UK, Howlett immediately agreed to visit the USA to support one of his favorite bands, newly reunited Jane’s Addiction. Recall that it was a kind of “barter” for Perry Farrell to record the promised vocals for Liam’s track since “Fat”. The idea of working together survived until 2001 and the track recording process was reported as began — but it never saw the light of day.
Liam Howlett also assured Q Magazine that Keith Flint himself would record the guitar parts for the band’s new material. At the same time, Flint and his band were actively writing and rehearsing solo tracks, among which demo of Baby’s Got A Temper was composed that same year. You can read more about it here – theprodi.gy/flint
Among other things, Master H liked the convenient sequence of US gigs, so he got a chance to try the new material out. The August gigs were a great push for the band and Liam finally found the inspiration to focus on his current goal, producing the new album of The Prodigy. But eventually, the US tour was canceled, since due to the 9/11 attacks. And the band felt it would not be the best time to come with a military-inspired entertainment show.
Headmaster: ALL SOUVENIRS
Additional thanks to: Martin James
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