Express & Star

Placebo, Birmingham Barclaycard Arena - review with video

There is only one group that can truly capture the fragility and ferocity of teenage angst; Placebo.


For me, their tremendous show at the Barclaycard Arena was, without doubt, gig of the year.

Celebrating 20 years of their debut self-titled album, Placebo brought their world tour to Birmingham's Barclaycard Arena.

Selling 5500 tickets, the show was destined to be a knockout from start to finish.

And, if I'm honest, it was a mesmerising emotional rollercoaster.

No one seems to pour their heart and soul into their music quite like Brian Molko; or - with his gorgeous, harmonic wide-ranging vocals - be able to hypnotize a crowd quite like he can.

From start to end, the band was incredibly tight and professional - delivering clean, thrilling and faultless sounds throughout.

They began the show with a touching tribute to the late Leonard Cohen, with screens either side of the stage showing black and white images of the star young and old, while the icon's Who By Fire played over the speakers.

A recorded version of Every Me Every You played as an unreleased promo video for the song, dating back to 1998, was revealed, before they treated fans to a series of video clips of Brian and Stefan from 1997 onwards.

See the video here:

"Ladies and gentlemen - and those of you who find yourselves somewhere in between," bellowed Brian.

"Some of you may not even know it yet, but you will by the end of this concert.

"Welcome to our birthday party - we're gonna have a great time."

New number Jesus' Son came next, before fans were transported back in time with numbers as Pure Morning, Twenty Years and Slave to the Wage.

And it was sublime. The audience - made up of a huge variety of ages - sang along to different songs too; perhaps showing the different times at which they were introduced to the band.

The group's performance of 2003 number Special Needs, however, was a stand-out moment for me. It took my breath away, knocked me for six - and reduced me to tears.

Just beautiful.

Another highlight was their rendition of Without You I'm Nothing, the video for which was a live performance recorded with the late, great David Bowie. As screens showed the icon's face and the stunning sounds of the 1998 number played across the arena, this was another heart-wrenching moment; and a reminder of just how great an effect musicians can have on our lives - and their inevitable mortality.

Favourites such as Special K, Song to Say Goodbye, Bitter End, 36 Degrees and Nancy Boy followed - before the band ended the show with a tremendous cover of Kate Bush's Running Up That Hill.

A stunning, mesmerising experience from start to end - a show that I never wanted to end. And one that I can only hope fans will have the chance to see again.

By Kirsten Rawlins

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.