The Prodigy set Oxegen on fire
Closing an emotionally-charged second day
13 July 2008
A massive crowd turned out to see the band, voted Best Dance Act at the 2006 UK Festival Awards. The energetic performance,
set against a backdrop of giant robot heads with big red eyes, quickly whipped the sea of festival-goers into a storm of excitement.
The band dropped hit after hit such as 'Poison', 'Breathe', 'Firestarter', 'Voodoo People'
and 'Smack My Bitch Up'.
New tracks unleashed were 'Worlds On Fire', 'Warriors Dance', 'Mescaline' and 'First Warning' (featured in the gangster film 'Smokin' Aces').
Maxim, leading the dynamic charge, announced: "No disrespect to people on the other stages but they are in the wrong place. I'm going to take you back to fucking 1991."
'Out Of Space' then blasted off, proving an explosive finale to a memorable set.
The Prodigy played:
'Worlds On Fire'
'Action Radar Link'
'Smack My Bitch Up'
'Out Of Space'
Over on the main stage, The Verve performed an emotional closing set. Launching with 'This Is Music', the band played material from their three 'classic' albums, with two new songs from forthcoming album 'Forth'.
The first came, aptly, four songs in with 'Sit And Wonder'. Referring to the band on before them, Richard Ashcroft joked "If that R.E.M. band put the work in they could be huge!"
After a particularly rousing 'Bitter Sweet Symphony' which left a collectivelump in the audience's throat, Ashcroft got political, ranting:
"Shame on the United Nations, the people of Zimbabwe need you!". He then seamlessly turned to football with: "Ronaldo, you're not a fucking slave, £120,000 a week?"
Things were even more tear-jerking over in the Green Room Tent, as Manic Street Preachers paid tribute to missing guitarist Richie Edwards. Opening with 'Motorcycle Emptiness', frontman James Dean Bradfield thanked the crowd for packing out the tent, saying: "Midnight and you still stayed to see us. We fuckin' love you."
The crowd-pleasing set squeezed in a cheeky cover of Rihanna's 'Umbrella' (introduced as "Nicky Wire's favourite song of 2007") and a searing version of Nirvana's 'Pennyroyal Tea'. Finale 'A Design For Life' ("A Welsh International Drinking Song" left the ecstatic crowd baying for more.
Emotions had been running high all day. Appearing on the main stage before The Verve, R.E.M. delivered on expectations with a set packed full of classic hits and energetic renditions of their latest material. They enthralled the crowd as they launched into ‘Losing My Religion’, ‘Electrolyte’ and ‘Man Sized Wreath’. Adding poignancy to the occasion was the fact that the band had first road-tested the songs that would form their 'Accelerate' album at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin almost exactly a year ago.
Earlier, Amy Winehouse had
performed one of her last ever live shows, if father Mitch is to be believed (he had claimed she would only play five more
shows after this one, for good). In contrast to her recent Glastonbury show, Winehouse was relatively tight lipped throughout
the set which had the crowd singing along enthusiastically to hits 'Rehab', 'Back To Black' and her cover
of The Zutons' 'Valerie'.
The Zutons had paid tribute to the singer when they introduced their own version of the song on the O2 Stage. Singer Dave McCabe announced: "I'd like to dedicate a song to a girl who seems to be in a lot of bad shit at the moment. But I love her. She's great and you all know who she is. Yeah, that's right. This is for you Amy. We love ya."
Oxegen continues today (Sunday) with Rage Against The Machine, MGMT and Ian Brown headlining.