The Prodigy smacked the crowd up last night. That's really the only way to accurately describe what happened.
If you thought the band were a spent force and not worth taking the trip out to West Auckland's Trusts Arena to see live well, you blew it. Big time.
Like a race car that's redlining the former ravers turned punkin' instigators took you on a wild ride through their hits and threatened to explode at any moment.
They opened with the shuffling breakbeat and bass heavy punch of Breathe and did not pause for breath until they walked off the stage 90 minutes later after a truly explosive encore performance of Smack My B**tch Up.
Expanding from a trio on record into a six piece on stage the band beefed up their already full sound with an absolutely thumping drummer and amplified up with a guitarist and bassist. This meant that the sound and raucous energy coming from the stage was immense.
They probably shouldn't sound as vital as they did. But their uncompromising blend of hard riffs, chaotic beats, electro madness and shouted sloganeering came out swinging and didn't stop.
Their new album No Tourists leans heavily into their rave roots and those tunes sounded incredible last night. All blaring air horns, calamitous beats, pitched up vocals and huge, room-filling rave synths.
The buzzing mosquito riff of Need Some1, Resonate's hands-in-the-air, escalating synth line, and Timebomb Zone's pitched up vocals all proved the old sounds of rave can still feel urgent, fresh and totally destroy a crowd .
Away from the rave, vocalist Keith Flint snarled his way through their new punk anthem Champions of London before burning down the house with a killer run through their mid-90s smash Firestarter. He left it to fellow vocalist Maxim to act as the band's hype man.
He'd say stuff like, "All my Prodigy people on the sides, all my Prodigy people at the back, I'm with you,". About half way through he addressed the crazed mosh frothing before the stage saying, "All you shirtless mother-f***ers at the front, I'm with you".
The set effortlessly flipped through their decades long career; their were early ravey tracks like Voodoo People, Everybody in the Place and the dance floor conquering No Good (Start the Dance) as well as later more aggro efforts like Hospital, Nasty and Omen.
Despite the ever present tension of their music they were clearly having fun up there; they cheekily slipped in a snippet of Out of Space, and teased a couple of bars of Boom Boom Tap.
They had lasers, they had manic strobes, they had a stage shrouded in smoke, they had sub bass that rumbled through the floor to rattle your bones but most of all they had 'it'. They rocked harder than most bands and raved harder than most dance acts.
Live, The Prodigy just make so much sense. Vital, urgent, and brutal as heck. They started the set turned up to 11 and then just went up from there. No lulls, no quiet moments, no mucking about. Just pure energy and big waves of hyped up grooves attacking you from the get go.
Forget fire, the Prodigy are party starters. And it's fair to say no one wanted the party to end. The band got booed, hardcore booed, for announcing they were about to play their last song of the night. That lasted right up until the moment the looping horn stab and bouncing bass of Smack My B***ch up kicked in, which most definitely kicked off the crowd.
"All the people that aren't here tonight," vocalist Maxim growled into his mic at one point, "F**K 'EM!"
There is no arguing with his position.