At first glance the setlist appears to have a few glaring omissions; ‘Nancy Boy’ and ‘Taste in Men’ doesn’t feature anywhere, and ‘Pure Morning’ is only aired as intro track prior to the band taking the stage. But this is a celebration of one of the most influential bands of the past 20 years, a band who right from the beginning bucked the trend, and offered a true alternative to what was going on around them. So maybe it’s fitting that where so many other bands these days choose to celebrate anniversaries playing their debut / land mark album in full, or simply stick to a well scripted run through of their main hits, Placebo play it differently and pick an array of songs that span their entire career and showcase their adept ability to play it hard, in your face one minute to sublime and intimate in another.

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It’s true that only two of the original members, Brian Molko and Stefan Olsdal remain, and they rightly take their place front of stage, but behind them they have selected a fine band – including Matt Lunn on drums, in for the recently departed Steve Forest. They’re well drilled and remained flawless throughout.

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Brian Molko has made his stance on people trying to film and photograph Placebo gigs with their phones quite clear – at best he finds it frustrating, at worst insulting. He doesn’t get it, doesn’t like it, and thankfully tonight the majority of the crowd have taken heed of the notices urging people to absorb the experience and put the phones away. We’re with Brian on this one.

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It’s more than fair to say that Placebo fans adore Brian. Throughout the evening many can be heard publicly declaring their love for him, singing along with him and hanging on his every word. “I like blasphemy,” he declares, “It’s so easy…just take a bit of religion, preferably an organised one, and add some sex.”  Everyone appears to approve, and some are visibly heightened by the statement. The crowd receive a further boost when he introduces a song not played live for quite some time; ‘Special Needs’ see’s the front of stage eruption spill out to the wings and up into the balcony, and by the time we get to ‘Meds’ you realise why Placebo have survived and why they still continue to fill venues worldwide.

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‘Bitter End’ brings a chaotic and abrupt end to the main set. Everyone knows it’s far from over and the band return for a four song encore that includes their beautiful cover of Kate Bush’s ‘Running Up That Hill’.

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Mid way through their biggest UK / Ireland tour to date, it’s testament to the band that many have travelled far and wide, and many will be seeing them again (and again).

Gallery: just click on any pic to see full size

Setlist:

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For What It’s Worth

Loud Like Love

Scene of the Crime

A Million Little Pieces

Rob the Bank

Purify

Special Needs

Too Many Friends

Space Monkey

Exit Wounds

I Know

Meds

Song to Say Goodbye

Special K

Bitter End

-Encore

Begin the End

Running Up That Hill

Post Blue

Infra-Red

Placebo 20th anniversary tour continues right through until the end of March with two nights at the Apollo, London.

Dates below; tickets from here – www.gigsandtours.com

12th Mar 2015  – Manchester,  o2 Apollo

13th Mar 2015 – Sheffield, o2 Academy

15th Mar 2015 – Norwich, UEA

16th Mar 2015 – Leicester, De Montfort Hall

18th Mar 2015 – Birmingham, o2 Academy

19th Mar 2015 – Bristol, Colston Hall

21st Mar 2015 – Bournemouth, o2 Academy

22nd Mar 2015 – Southend, Cliffs Pavillion

24th Mar 2015 – London, EventIM Apollo

25th Mar 2015 – London, EventIM Apollo

 

-stAn