I had the opportunity to attend a Placebo concert at Ourense last week. It was part of their Never let me go album tour, the only one at Spain that was not part of a festival. I did not plan the trip well enough, and I had to drive 4 hours to get there, after having worked 7+ hours, just to arrive 30 minutes before the gig started. At these days, when it seems cities don’t want cars near the center of the city or near crowded events, I was afraid I would not find a place to park near the site. I took the decision to get as close as possible and from there try to find a spot. To my surprise, there was an outdoor free car park just by the site and it was not full by the time I got there. Police were directing the traffic, which was not crowded anyway. I guess many people decided to go on foot, since it was a nice evening.
There was quite some people, 3000 or 4000 I think. I arrived, took my position and took one picture before the concert started. During the concert, I did not take any picture or video. Partly because I was afraid Brian Molko would get angry if everyone did the same, but mostly because I did not feel the need to. I was not very close to the stage. It was indors and I was afraid the sound would not be as good so close, or that I would be missing a pair of earplugs.
Placebo had had a lot of concerts during May, June and July. The day before, they had been playing at Vilar de Mouros, but before that they had one month without any concert. And after that, one week until they started their American tour. Even though the venue was not spectacular, I was hoping they were full of energy to bring their sound to the fans. By that time I was not much into their last album, Never let me go. I was not wishing they played a lot of classics either. I don’t like to get stuck in the past, I find it sad and boring. I was happy with them playing their new album and a selection of songs from their previous ones. It is also interesting to see which classics they play right now.
Before the concert started, a member of the staff placed on the stage metal bottles with drinks for the group. She also placed an incense stick to the right of the drums, near where Brian would be. And so, the gig started. On stage, Brian and Stefan. The rest of the musicians on the stage, I don’t really know. I think it was Nick Gavrilovic at the guitar, Matt Lunn at the drums, Bill Lloyd at the keyboard and Angela Chan at the violin. But don’t quote me on that, because they did not introduce the band. In fact, there was very little interaction with the audience other than playing the songs. Stefan said gracias a couple of times. That was pretty much all. I don’t judge and I am ok with that, but a part of me can’t help but thinking the concert would be a little more interesting if they said something about the songs they play, about their thoughts, about how they felt that day…
And so the show began, with Forever Chemicals, a good strident start from their last album. The sound did not seem right to me on this one, Brian’s voice sounded saturated and covered by the guitars. Then they played Beautiful James. I don’t like this song that much, even though from their last album I prefer the bright/happy ones, I still haven’t created a link with this one.
Scene of the Crime
Nine years have passed since the release of Loud Like Love, so I consider Scene of the Crime a classic. Solid, bringing good bives to the crowd, the last part of the song was full of energy. Then they moved to Happy Bithday in the Sky, which it’s a tributte to David Bowie. It started slowly and gently, only to explode incredibly at the second half of the song.
Going way back it time to their first album for the fifth song of the set, Bionic. Gotta love those guitars. I am very glad they still play this song, I think it is one of those song you don’t get tired of, specially live. Then they played Surrounded by Spies. The light effects on the last part of the song, when it goes I am surrounded by spies over and over, where amazing. Everything was red and flashy, and really played well with the song.
I’m gonna find another island, and get the hell out of here , finally something from their last almbum that sounds brighter. Not necessarily happier, but more hoppeful.
One of a kind
Great! Having the chance to listen live to this 2006 song from Meds felt like a unique opportunity. I am one, many of Placebo songs revolve around one self, maybe that is the reason they don’t interact much with the audience. Then they moved to Sad White Reggae. As you have probably already guessed, this is one of my favourites from their last album. And I’m thin as a rake, I’m no longer fleshy, sounded great, with it’s powerfull ending. This one is going to be on my Spotify 2022 summary that’s for sure.
Try better next time
This is probably my least favourite song from their last album, and certainly it is not because the sound. I have been hearing the same message for my entire life, humans are the worst and are destroying nature. I am tired of it. Then they played Went Missing, which sounded very soft and profound. The song seemed to transport the audience somewhere deep out of space. At least it did to me.
For What It’s Worth
Already 13 years since 2009, and it feels like yesterday. Love this song and I love it played live. Full of energy, don’t know what else to say. The last 4 songs before the encore were pure joy.
Slave to the Wage
This race for rats started on 2000 and never ends. I could not stop myself from singing along. I just whished they had let us sing the last part when it repeats runaway. It would have been fun.
The Bitter End
The hole place exploded with this one. The guitars kicked off like it was the end of the world, everyone immediately recogniced it and went crazy. Although I maybe elaborating things a little bit to fill up this blog entry. But it definitely was incredible.
Last for songs before the encore, amazing classics played beautifully. I would like to know what this song is about, they seem to play it at the end of gigs. After this, the band went off stage and, of course, pleople asked for more.
I was pretty confident they were going to play a little more. I knew they were finishing with Running up that Hill the Kate Bush cover. Actually, when they were off stage the speakers were playing some part of that song, and for a moment I was worried that they would only play one more song. But they came back and played Fix yourself. Honestly, the high energy seemed then to abandon my body and I could feel the tiredness of all day working and driving, worried about if I would get there on time. Finally, they played _Running up that Hill, which sounds great performed by Placebo live. I was very glad I could enjoy it. And so the concert ended, I just wished they had played one more song on the encore, I would have settle with 3.
Still, it was a great oportunity. I think the mix between classics and songs from their last album was perfect. Some people ask for more classics. In my opinion, that sounds boring and too nostalgic. However, I only watched Placebo twice and both times they were presenting an album: Battle for the Sun then and Never Let Me Go now. I hope one day I have the chance to see them play without the constraints of a new album.