The Prodigy take RockNess to another dimension
Closing the final night of the festival with a bang
Photographer: Mark Holloway15 June 2009
The most anticipated set of the weekend brought a darker, more intense feel to the festival, which had been upbeat and lighthearted beforehand. Even the forecast-defying clear skies gave way to menacing dark clouds that circled like vultures threatening to unleash a torrent. Incredibly, it never happened and the festival remained dry throughout.
Despite The Prodigy having performed blistering consecutive headline sets at the Isle of Wight on Friday and Download on Saturday, there was no sign of fatigue setting in as Keith Flint and Maxim Reality hurled their frames over every inch of the stage, with Liam Howlett bouncing around like a man possessed behind his electronic wizardry.
Patchy sound fading in and out with the wind higher up the field did not deter the largest crowd of the festival from dancing hard, all the way to the back as the band dropped one explosive sonic bomb after another. Favourites like 'Breathe', 'Firestarter', 'Poison' and 'Smack My Bitch Up' punctuated frenetic new material such as 'Omen', 'Take Me To The Hospital', 'Warrior's Dance' and 'Invaders Must Die'. The band ended with 'Out Of Space'. As they left the stage, the sky cleared as if to make way for the dazzling firework display that followed, inciting cheers across the valley. The atmosphere once again elevated to the blissful, holiday feel that had abounded all weekend.
Earlier in the day, tribute stars The Complete Stone Roses had the main stage dancing and singing along ecstatically to the likes of 'Made Of Stone' and 'I Am The Resurrection' as if they were the real thing. Cuban Brothers proved a perfect light-hearted (and fully nude) stop-gap before the guitars came out with The Wombats. The liverpudlians closed their second set of the day (their first being in Switzerland at 1am) with an especially raucous 'Backfire At The Disco'.
Local heroes Biffy Clyro received a royal welcome for their homecoming show, launching with a spectacular 'Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies', whilst over in the Clash Tent, dramatic scenes unfolded when Placebo singer Brian Molko stormed off-stage during fourth song 'For What It's Worth', after being pelted by a pair of scissors (presumably in response to his appalling new pony tail). "My safetly cannot be guaranteed so I'm leaving.", he admonished, before returning moments later to complete the well received set.
The fourth year of the festival, held on the banks of Loch Ness, has been considered a great success, attracting over 35,000 people over the three days. All had come prepared for mud and rain, but other than a brief downpour on the Saturday, they were treated to clear, warm skies and solid ground which added to the upbeat holiday atmosphere. It was remarkably trouble free with just two thefts reported. 471 festival-goers sought medical assistance with the most serious being a fractured arm.
Festival boss Jim King said: "We have created a small town and with 350 stewards working over the weekend, it is safer than any town in Scotland".
He concluded: "We are extremely happpy. It's been a difficult year for everyone. It shows that people have a good relationship with RockNess and see it as one of the main festivals of the year."
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