The Placebo paradox – review
Placebo played two sold-out shows of their 20th Anniversary Tour at the O2 Academy Brixton in London. The location holds a fascination that is one of a kind, but I wouldn’t have noticed it without my friend pointing it out. I was lost in disbelief upon gaining a spot in the front row, against the barrier. My heart was beating against the metal, my eyes wide open, fixed on the stage. I didn’t want to miss a thing.
The show started with a video: clips of the last 20 years of the band were projected on the big screen behind the stage. When Brian Molko’s recorded voice said ‘Be real’, a moment, that will stay forever engraved in my heart and skull, was created. On the notes of Pure Morning, Stefan Olsdal got on stage and started playing his bass guitar, followed shortly after by the lead singer. As Brian Molko started to sing, a spell was cast, and I’m not sure if it was magic or witchcraft.
He didn’t talk much, due to his throat problems, but there was no need to. He was proof that spoken words are often overestimated. He made love to his guitars, and the intimidating, provocative man disappeared as his soul came to light. The feeling was destabilising and comforting at the same time. Placebo were a living breathing paradox. Their two-hour show was a journey through insecurities, fears, fragilities, beauties, secrets, and love. Placebo is the kind of band that makes you question your entire existence and give you all the answers at once. They make you lose yourself (in wonder) as they become your compass; just like in their famous hit “Exit Wounds”.
As they played “Without You I Am Nothing”, images of David Bowie overlapped on the screen. On the last note, Brian turned his back to the crowd and stared at the frames. The moment was unique. Touching. Immensely human. It sinked into my heart, and for a moment, no one in the venue dared to breathe. They wore humanity as the most precious and flattering gown. They’re one of the most iconic bands of the last two decades. My heart was all over the places, but it was a gig, a carousel of emotions, so it felt right. Brian Molko was a magnet and it was impossible to keep your eyes off of him. The way he performed every song, owned and shaped people’s souls was enchanting. Olsdal’s talent was immense, as his commitment to the band.
During the encore, he held his rainbow bass over his head and showed it to the crowd. Everyone in the venue screamed their lungs out with love. After “Infra-Red”, the last song of the set list, Stefan jumped in the pit, holding as many hands as possible. Brian watched him from the stage and you could see the mutual love they shared. Once again, Placebo is gravity in outer space.
Next up for Placebo:
Tue 21 November – Wolverhampton Civic Hall
Wed 22 November – Portsmouth Guildhall
Fri 24 November – Plymouth Pavilions
Tickets at: http://gigs.rs/placebo