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When Keith Flint and The Prodigy played at Excalibur Nightclub in Gillingham

The tragic news of rave legend Keith Flint's death led many in Kent to reminisce about a wild hour 26 years ago.

The Prodigy, fresh from the success of Out of Space, which peaked at No.5 in the chart, took a trip to Gillingham.

On October 5, 1992, the four-piece took the stage at Excalibur Nightclub, part of the King Charles Hotel, in Prince Arthur Road.

Keith Flint died aged 49 Picture: Wikimedia (7569732)
Keith Flint died aged 49 Picture: Wikimedia (7569732)

The band had formed two years earlier and iconic track Firestarter would not be heard for another four years but they were already hugely successful.

"An eyelined Keith Flint came crashing onto the stage, while grappling to free himself from a straight jacket," remembers club regular Ross Hutchinson.

"I was about 15 at the time and can still remember him grappling with the chrome bars at the front of the stage, with MC Maxim Reality whipping the packed room of under-age ravers into an utter frenzy, while a sensory barrage of lasers light, breakbeats, 808 squeals and reggae samples took place all around."

Stephen Degiorgio, who still runs the hotel, remembers Flint, who was found dead in his Essex home yesterday at age of 49, in much the same way as many others, as a "really down to earth guy".

'If anything Keith was appreciative to come down and get to meet the grass roots.' — Stephen Degiorgio

The 52-year-old said: "It was easily one of the best nights we put on. It was a sell-out. We usually had PAs but we'd just been named nightclub of the year and we wanted to do something special.

"A live performance at a club was quite unusual for The Prodigy but we were so big at the time we were able to make a few phone calls and it all came together.

"They were used to huge venues so it would have been quite different to come to our club with a backstage dressing room.

"But if anything Keith was appreciative to come down and get to meet the grass roots.

"Some American acts would have 10-page riders but they just wanted some beers and a few sandwiches.

"I'm sure they could have got a lot more money elsewhere."

Excalibur Nightclub, Gillingham, Kent
Excalibur Nightclub, Gillingham, Kent

Mr Degiorgio recalled that after the hour-long set, which saw them try out tracks including the incomplete No Good (Start the Dance), which went on to peak at No.4 two years later, Flint was more than happy to hang around and sign autographs.

"It's sad when somebody that iconic passes so young. A lot of people who grew up with him will remember him fondly," he added.

Mr Hutchinson added: "It was one of those gigs that goes down in local history. To this day, it still remains one of the most frenetic and memorable live performances I’ve ever had the privilege of witnessing.

"Obviously, famous performers die all the time, but The Prodigy really are a coming-of-age band that soundtracked a large part of my teenage years and so, in a way, it seems to be resonating differently."

Instantly recognisable thanks to his multi-coloured devil spike hair and unique dress sense Flint sang lead vocals on No.1 singles Firestarter and Breathe.

Keith Flint was found dead at his home. Picture: Silver Blu3
Keith Flint was found dead at his home. Picture: Silver Blu3

He was known for his high-octane performances, once explaining to a band mate that he played every show as if he was a member of the crowd who'd somehow managed to get on stage and grab the microphone.

The full video for Firestarter, which was the first song Flint had written, was banned from the BBC after parents complained it was frightening their children but despite that it still topped the chart after selling 600,000 more copies than How Deep is Your Love by Take That.

The Prodigy were set to perform at Glastonbury this summer.

A statement posted on their Instagram account by bandmate Liam Howlett read: "I can't believe I'm saying this but our brother Keith took his own life over the weekend.

"I'm shell-shocked... angry, confused and heartbroken."

For confidential support on an emotional issue, call Samaritans on 116 123 at any time.

For advice, click here.

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