Placebo has been one of those staple bands in my music library to either gear up with adrenalin or to slow down and soothe the soul, but somehow I continuously missed the live train of touring. Once Placebo confirmed a 20th Anniversary tour, I didn’t have an excuse to say no.
They managed a whopping two hour set jam packed with songs spread across their twenty year existence and whilst at the first the crowd seemed stunned in awe by the dazzling display of audio visuals, once lead vocalist Brian Molko declared the “melancholy” first half section over, it was time to celebrate a party and jump to our feet!
Up-tempo massive tracks including “What It’s Worth” and “Special K” were a dazzling display of lights, but not just the usual boring live stream on giant televisions. They were mixed in with colour, extreme saturation and active moving cameras that turned the whole affair into what felt like a real life music video. The crowd were pumped and those down the front rows were having the time of their lives.
The encore came and seemed to drag on longer than others as technology on stage was shifted and swapped but it wasn’t an excuse to bore the crowd. Breathy atmospheric vocals played to the crowd as lights ebbed and flowed, and as soon as the crowd chanted impatiently, Placebo returned to give old classics “Teenage Angst” and the anthemic “Nancy Boy”; the latter being introduced by a rather moving statement as bassist Stefan Olsdal held up a rainbow guitar.
On another high note the band left the stage again which meant crowds naturally started to leave for the exits, but they soon stopped in their tracks as oceanic blue lights gently shimmered and a long intro to their infamous Kate Bush cover “Running Up That Hill” began to play. Eventually they returned, they seemed humbled by the experience as they stood stage front thanking the crowd for their attendance. The finale was an amalgamation of everything Placebo is fantastic for and whilst it is a cover, it is a song they’ve taken and moulded perfectly to their own style, a slow wistful build up to a climactic fist-pumping finish.
Placebo came out to celebrate their twenty-year anniversary, which they did so spectacularly. By carefully tip toeing between old and new material, mashed in with a daring and striking audio-visual display that constantly changed as odd golden touches of homage brought home the journey they’ve been on, the footage of David Bowie laughing in rehearsal as they smashed out “Without You I’m Nothing” was emotional in the least.
But the thing that struck me the most was the genuine adoration of their own fans by encouraging a celebratory atmosphere and standing for minutes at a time just praising our attendance. That’s something you don’t get everyday. So whilst Placebo has hit a milestone in their career, there is plenty of energy, artistic creativity and love from within that could easily give them another twenty.
This review was originally published on Katie’s own blog, KuuKave.