Placebo, VEGA, Copenhagen

in Live

14. October 2016: The legendary Brits started their 20-year anniversary tour in Denmark

Placebo looks back at their twenty years and eight studio albums, with their “20 Years Of Placebo” tour. A tour which did not start as planned for the Brits:

When a band has a greatest hits collection out, the current “A Place For Us To Dream”, the next logical step is to have a tour, maybe play some rarely-played hits. And this is exactly what Placebo set out to do, promising beforehand that they would play for the fans, and play songs they had otherwise sworn they’d never play live. Sounds exciting, and Live Nation had worked hard to make their two dates in Denmark happen.

Well, the tour actually started in Aarhus, Denmark, but that gig was stopped after only two songs, because front man Brian Molko had health issues “because of side effects from new medication”. Too bad, but whatever the real reasons were, they did show up in Copenhagen this evening, but ticket-holders were obviously still anxious to see if they really would get what they paid for.

The Mirror Trap
The support came from the Scottish youngsters “The Mirror Trap”. A band that very much fit this evening, as The Cure was also in town, playing Forum at the same exact time (check out Roelof’s review here), and this five-piece from the north had a vocal going that very much combined the qualities from Robert Smith, David Bowie and Brian Molko into one. Reverb filled soundscape with noisy guitars and mid-heavy keyboards complemented singer Gary Moore (yes, that’s really his name, but this is another Gary) and his genre-correct dressed band mates beautifully, and Moore had clearly his game on, as he very inspiringly rocked out to the music, gesturing with his whole body, bending his knees, and threw his arms, legs and head around.

Now out with their second album, The Mirror Trap played for a half filled VEGA, which is pretty good considering its size and for a relatively unknown name in DK. For a concert filled with elements from post-punk/glam, there’s always a risk of sounding too cliché, but the band succeeded in managing to keep the clichés out of their songs. It was a bit hard to notice details in the lyrics, also helped along with Moore emphasising the hooks and bridges in the songs with his gestures, but I think it fit the genre, and wasn’t too much of a problem.
A very well played gig, and an excellent choice of support by Placebo.

Placebo
This evening’s main act, starting their show as something that made me think: “Ok, so they’re not gonna play, just show us videos”, as clips from the last 20 years of Placebo gigs filled the jumbo tron behind the stage, accompanied by “Every You And Every Me”. I think a lot of the audience was still second-guessing whether the band would actually show up, or just play some CD’s…
They did eventually show up on stage though, starting with drummer Matt Lunn, plus backing guitarist Nick Gavrilovic and Fiona Brice on keyboard and electric violin, and bassist/guitarist Stefan Olsdal. Singer/guitarist front man Brian Molko didn’t show up until the rest of the band had played the intro to “Pure Morning” for about 30 seconds. This was followed by “Loud Like Love”, and then a somewhat mumbling Brian Molko introduced “Jesus’ Son”.

What followed was the rest of a very long twenty-five track setlist, containing both old and new songs. “Lazarus” from 2006′ “Meds” album (US version) was the live premiere of this song, never been played live until now. Followed by a handful of other well chosen songs like: “Too Many Firends”, “Space Monkey”, “Protect Me From What I Want”, these tracks got the packed (sold-out, actually) VEGA up near the boiling point. Some of of my personal favorites, “36 Degrees”, “Special K”, “Teenage Angst”, “Infra-Red” and “Nancy Boy” made up the end of the lengthy set and first encore, while the beautiful “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” marked the definite end of the evening.

The first 2/3 of the set seemed somewhat sterile, as if Molko and Olsdal sort of regretted their decision of touring. There wasn’t much talk between songs (most songs didn’t have any talk at all), and the band clearly concentrated on getting the show flowing, with frequent guitar/bass swaps, and showed a band that followed a plan (script?), opposed to just playing the hell out of it, and not concentrating so much on the technical stuff. Take a band like Wolfmother (reviewed elsewhere on Flick Of The Finger), three guys playing the hell out of their songs, swapping instruments only when the current one wasn’t in tune anymore. But….That’s a different kind of music, and Placebo’s arrangements are somewhat more complicated than many other bands’.

However, it was a pleasure to see the two front men suddenly liven up, and actually visibly enjoying themselves through the rest of the set. It also had an immediate effect on the whole venue, as it got people REALLY going! Maybe they should work on this kind of energy from the start. As for the images from this show, this is kinda the best you can get when you can only shoot during the first song, and only from the back of the room behind the mixing board.

Set list:

  • Pure Morning
  • Loud Like Love
  • Jesus’ Son
  • Soulmates
  • Special Needs
  • Lazarus
  • Too Many Friends
  • Twenty Years
  • I Know
  • Devil in the Details
  • Space Monkey
  • Exit Wounds
  • Protect Me from What I Want
  • Without You I’m Nothing
  • 36 Degrees
  • Lady of the Flowers
  • For What It’s Worth
  • Slave to the Wage
  • Special K
  • Song to Say Goodbye
  • The Bitter End

1st. Encore:

  • Teenage Angst
  • Nancy Boy
  • Infra-red

2nd. Encore:

  • Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)

Based in Denmark, Jakob shoots portraits, conceptual photography, bands and rock concerts. Having played lead guitar in several bands, he combines his love for music, with his passion for photography.

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