Well, I just found out last night, that the Placebo concert that I was going to on September 13th has been cancelled. Brian Molko ended up collapsing on stage at The Summer Sonic Festival in Osaka Japan. Apparently, he picked up a virus during the tour. That coupled with exhaustion from touring has him taking six weeks off (per doctor’s orders). So their whole North American tour has been postponed. I was so excited that I was finally going to see them live. While I am extremely disappointed, I also understand that these things happen. I wish Brian a speedy recovery.
With that being said, it looks like for now I am going to have to get my Placebo concert fix vicariously through DVD. They did a wonderful job putting together this DVD. The footage and sound are both terrific. I also like the stylistic way the footage is shown; some straight concert footage and some with added effects (static-y/blur effects, some black and white shots, etc.).
Brian Molko – Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica, Keyboard, Effects, Percussion
Stefan Olsdal – Bass, Guitar, Keyboard, Vocals
Steven Hewitt – Drums (at least at the time of this DVD, they now have a new drummer, Steve Forrest)
William Lloyd – Bass, Guitar, Keyboard
Xavior Roide – Keyboards, Additional Vocals (who also happened to be in the movie “Velvet Goldmine” with the guys from Placebo)
Here is the set list:
Bullet Proof (Sleeping With Ghosts)
Allergic (Placebo – Without You I’m Nothing)
Every You Every Me (Placebo – Without You I’m Nothing – Once More With Feeling)
Protégé Moi (Sleeping With Ghosts (English version) – Once More With Feeling)
Plasticine (Sleeping With Ghosts)
Bitter End (Sleeping With Ghosts – Once More With Feeling)
Soulmates (This Picture)
Black-Eyed (Black Market Music – Once More With Feeling)
I’ll Be Yours (Sleeping With Ghosts)
Special Needs (Sleeping With Ghosts – Once More With Feeling)
English Summer Rain (Sleeping With Ghosts – Once More With Feeling)
Without You I’m Nothing (Placebo – Without You I’m Nothing – Black Market Music – Once More With Feeling)
This Picture (Sleeping With Ghosts – Once More With Feeling)
Special K (Black Market Music – Once More With Feeling)
Taste in Men (Black Market Music – Once More With Feeling)
Slave to the Wage (Black Market Music – Once More With Feeling)
Peeping Tom (Black Market Music)
Pure Morning (Placebo – Without You I’m Nothing – Once More With Feeling)
Centrefolds (Sleeping With Ghosts)
Where is My Mind? (This Picture – cover of a “Pixies” song)
Placebo was formed in London in 1994. Brian and Stefan are the founding members of the band. Oddly enough they had both attended International School of Luxembourg, but were not friends at the time. It seems that fate intervened when they bumped into each other at the South Kensington tube station and Brian invited Stefan to come to one of his gigs. After hearing Brian’s performance, Stefan decided they should form a band. Thus Placebo was born (well actually the name was originally Ashtray Heart but was quickly changed).
“Nancy Boy” from their self-titled album, which came out in the beginning of 1997, became their first big hit. The success of the song also helped to get the band small roles in the movie “Velvet Goldmine“. On June 8, 2009, Placebo released their sixth studio album “Battle For the Sun”.
Keep in mind that this concert is in Paris and Brian speaks French fluently. Which means, many times when he speaks to the audience it’s in French. There is an option to select English subtitles, but it doesn’t seem to work with the concert footage. So, since I don’t speak French, I had no idea what he was saying. However, I didn’t find that it hurt my enjoyment of the concert. Although, if someone speaks French and wants to tell me what he said, I wouldn’t say no.
Both Brian and Stefan have terrific stage presence. They make good use of the stage and are able to keep the crowd excited and involved. When you see the crowd shots, you can see that it’s quite a large venue. However, they seemed to be able to keep everyone drawn in to their performance.
I love Stefan’s dancing at the beginning of “Pure Morning”. He has that really tall and lean body that is just made for dancing, plus he has some great moves. I was so surprised when shortly after that a fan managed to run up on stage and grab a hold of him. Of course, he wasn’t up there long; security quickly pulled the guy away from Stefan and got him off the stage. Stefan did a good job of taking it all in stride.
The selection of songs was great. Coming from four of their studio albums and one of their singles. Twelve out of the twenty-one songs performed are on their singles compilation CD “Once More With Feeling”. My one minor complaint is that they didn’t perform “Nancy Boy”. I love that song, plus it was their first big hit, so I kind of expected it (I guess you can’t have everything).
They have a special guest for the last song of the set “Where is My Mind?”. Frank Black from the “Pixies” joins them. Which is only appropriate since it is their song.
I like how the DVD is set up so you can play the entire concert or go to “Set List” and pick specific songs to play. That’s a nice option. There is also an approximately 25 minute long documentary from their “Sleeping With Ghosts” tour. During that tour they played to crowds ranging from 605 up to 75,000 people.
The documentary is fun to watch. It shows some of their stops on the tour; Seattle, Las Vegas and Mexico City. The band members talk about the tour some, but a lot of it is them just being silly. Stefan making up crazy stories about how he got the scratch on his face, Brian doing an homage to “Blair Witch”, etc. Brian also tells the story about how at one place they performed; he was standing on the barrier between the band and the crowd, when members of the audience started unzipping his fly. He was afraid he would end up getting arrested if they succeeded (since he didn’t figure the police would care who “got it out”).
There are two “Easter Eggs” on the DVD:
The first one is Brian getting his B-12 shot. Yes, he gets it in his @ss, so if you always wanted to see it, here’s your chance.
On the main menu go to Subtitles then press enter. Select Francais then press enter. After that, return to the main menu, move the little square to Set List. Then press the UP arrow. A French Flag will now be visible, press enter.
The second one is called “Chicks with Dicks”. Which basically involves Brian and Stefan wearing women’s wigs while performing “Where is My Mind?”. The sound quality is not very good, but it is kind of fun to watch. I can’t believe how the crowd was groping Brian when he was at the edge of the stage.
On the main menu go to Subtitles, then press enter. Select Francais, then press enter. After that, return to the main menu, select Audio, then press enter. Move the little square over to Stereo, then press the UP arrow. A French Flag will now be visible, press enter.
All in all this is a terrific DVD. The band is fantastic and the DVD showcases their talent well.
As a side note: Brian is bi-sexual and Stefan is gay. They are both out and open about their sexuality. Hopefully more gay/bi celebrities/public figures will follow their lead and do the same. While I truly believe that a person’s sexuality shouldn’t matter and really isn’t anyone else’s business. I also know that isn’t the way the world currently works. So until things change, it’s wonderful when brave individuals are willing to be honest about their orientation and not treat it like a dirty secret. Hopefully, in time and as more people come out it will become a non-issue.