Live Review: Placebo, Deaf Havana

12 September 2017 | 2:31 pm | Darren M. Leach

"The performance was one thing but combined with the light and visual show it was truly astonishing."

More Placebo More Placebo

Walking up to the Adelaide Entertainment Centre is a show in itself. The new-ish under cover outside area with alternating light display still amazes every time we walk up to it. Lighting fixation aside, Placebo were in the house!

But before Brian Molko and the gang hit the stage Deaf Havana - a five-piece alt-rock band from London - performed a quick-fire set. Though not hugely well-known to these shores, they blasted through 30 minutes at 110%! The problem with supporting a band like Placebo is the crowd is only there for one thing and the support act knew it. Best thing is to just give it your all and play like you are the headline act. One thing that impressed was James Veck-Gilodi's guitar skills; oh boy, can he play! Highlights were Sing and Fever - they brought a great vibe to the beginning of the night.

Commiserations to our western neighbours in Perth who missed Placebo when they cancelled at the 11th hour due to Molko being sick. We advise you not to read on from this point.

The show commenced with a short video flashing through Placebo's last 20 years as a band, soundtracked by Every You Every Me. It is hard to believe that the band been so enduring when so many of their contemporaries died out so long ago.

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

Clip montage complete, cue entrance. While the original band was only three members, tonight we had six - including an electric violin?! The fuller sound was beyond amazing and gave the tracks a new lease on life. Pure Morning, one of their most recognizable tracks, was first off the rank. The song introduced many people to the band back in 1998 and despite having heard it countless times, tonight it sounded fresh.

Molko, still looking a little green, took the time to thank the amazing doctors that looked after him in Perth. While tonight's performance was still spectacular, you could tell he wasn't 100%, but the prescribed medication got him through. They then kicked into Loud Like Love, Jesus' Son, and rare B-side Soulmates. An ode to statuesque Swedish bassist Stefan Osdal perhaps? Olsdal brought the energy that Molko couldn't to the party, bounding around the stage like it was 20 years ago! He is a man of many talents, changing from electric guitar to bass to keys throughout the show.

They continued through their 90-minute plus set with Special Needs, Too Many Friends and the apt Twenty Years, but it was Without You I'm Nothing that almost brought a tear to the eye. David Bowie featured on the track back in 1999 and during tonight's performance they showed clips of Molko and Bowie in the studio on the screen behind the band.

The band don't play much from their first self-titled album but 36 Degrees got an airing much to the delight of the older fans. It's still as angst-ridden as when it was first released in 1996.

A slew of singles close the first set. For What It's Worth, Slave To The Wage and Special K kept the casual fans happy before they concluded with two tracks that might hint the band are calling it a day - Song To Say Goodbye and The Bitter End. After a short encore of Kate Bush's Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) they exited to huge applause.

The performance was one thing but combined with the light and visual show it was truly astonishing. The fusion revitalised the iconic songs and this reviewer, along with a few thousand others, was taken on an amazing journey. The simple stage set-up was a stark contrast of black on white - the equipment in white and the band in black. Across the drum riser "PLACEBO 20" was writ large in simple block letters. Happy birthday (and goodbye?) Placebo.