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08.12.1995 - Pionir Hall, Belgrade, Serbia


Friday, December 8th. Belgrade still wasn't caught by the Holiday insanity, however in this cold snowless night one could feel a curious suspense. The city is empty, the busses are full. I am arriving to "Hyatt Regency" sometimes around eight o'clock. At eight o'clock British mega band "The Prodigy" is suppose to give a statement at the press conference. Jacque, my colleague is already there. He looks at me with an exhausted glare and says: "Seems like nobody here knows where conference room called Avala is." Somebody gave us wrong information that the conference is at "Avala". However, press conference is in the jazz club, right next to the swimming pool. Journalists are arriving and their numbers are increasing every minute. TV crew has arrived; clouds of smoke everywhere; excitement; the conference is late; two band members are approaching the pool. At nine doors of the club are opening. Yugoslavian DJ's were warming up "the flyers" while we, the unlucky members of the press were hoping for a conversation with guests from England.

  The conference was led by Milenko Kasanin, director of the Youth Center of Belgrade. we were introduced to all who are responsible for organization of this spectacle. The list is of course infinitely long. We are awaken from the "collective dream" by the arrival of the band, "four space cowboys." Applauding! Keith Flint, dude with semi bold head, red-yellowish spikes and a pierced nose, tongue and ears. He approaches the mike and sings "Aaaaaa…." Again, applause!? Mr. Nesic, owner of the firm called "HNK" from Budapest leads the conference, while Liam and rest are mostly quiet. Leeroy Thornhill is the only one who got a chance to say: "We are glad to be here tonight. We are honored by all the attention that we have received these few days. We really didn't expect this much media and audience interest."

  The band members appear to be seriously smashed, they are singing a petition against drug use at the techno manifestations. They are giggling. It seems like they gave them an award of the Belgrade's honorary citizens!? After that they are leaving, surrounded with idiots from the security. We are flying towards "Pionir." Lead-free "Yugo" is trying it's best. Fiesta has started. At the press entrance they tell us that we have to to through with the crowd. "But we are journalists!" "With the crowd!" The place is already rocking. Strobe lights and lasers are wandering through the beat with the hands in the air.

  We are trying to reach the stage, but it doesn't seem to be working. The security is sending us back and fourth from one entrance to the another. I am pushing through the masses. My nose is overwhelmed with the smell of weed. Everybody is getting high! Proclamation against drugs, what an irony! Kids are on the weed, and others… who knows. Sometimes around midnight dilemmas are solved! The Prodigy runs onto the stage! Like an explosion! The crowd went crazy. For a moment I thought that entire place is shaking. "Voodoo people", "Poison", "Their Law"… I wondered for long, how all of that sounds live. Prodigy's breakbeat is grinding the audience. Where are we? Out of space, man! This continued till the morning 2 AM. [Taken from http://www.theprodigy.co.yu/]

Written by Dejan Katalina. Photo by Boris Subasic