Meltdown Festival: Placebo at the Royal Festival Hall
Overlooking the Thames, with the sun setting across the water and the sky a fiery mix of crimson, purple and blue, the Royal Festival Hall was packed with standing, dancing and head-banging music lovers celebrating the 20-year anniversary of Placebo and the release of their retrospective album entitled A Place for Us to Dream – 20 Years of Placebo.
The alternative rock band was formed in London in 1994 by singer-songwriter and guitarist Brian Molko and guitarist-bassist Stefan Olsdal. In the words of the frontman, Placebo appealed to the “outcasts” of society and those who did not feel like they could fit in, and though initially criticised by the media for their unorthodox view and Molko’s androgynous appearance, a wider community formed around the group, identifying with what they represented.
On Meltdown’s second evening of events, the Royal Festival Hall became a place of hope to those in London looking for a colourful and musical future and Placebo gave many 30-somethings hope for the present by playing iconic songs that the crowd sang along with. They started off – to an ecstatic audience, whose cheers and claps echoed through the hall – with the much-loved Pure Morning. Such an overwhelming interaction between artist and fans, as was demonstrated last night, is a surreal and extremely rewarding experience, and is evidence that well-known music still exists beyond its commercial factor.
The show consisted of a good mix of new, such as Jesus’ Son, and classics like Without You I’m Nothing, which is arguably the band’s most cherished and famous song to date and was re-recorded as a duet with David Bowie, whose friendship with and support of the group is well-documented.
With a quick change of guitars between tracks, Placebo glided through the set, keeping the audience at all times on their feet and the much-anticipated Twenty Years half way through the show made sure everyone was pleased. The magic of the venue and the energy and passion of the crowd made this performance one to be forever remembered.
Photo: Vic Frankowski
For further information and future events visit Placebo’s website here.
Watch the video for Jesus’ Son here: