The show tonight restored my faith in big budget, stadium shows. Most gigs I see these days are in more intimate venues like Mercury Lounge or Bowery Ballroom, but a well-traveled band like Placebo can make a vast space like Roseland feel like an insider’s nightclub. This was a very different evening than Placebo’s last NYC date at Nokia Theater, which had seemed the polar opposite, being too controlled and self-consciously glamorous. Placebo pummeled their way through a set that included highlights from each decade of their career, all connected with sinewy loops and shards of feedback, from “Special Needs” to “Meds.”

Three screens on the back wall flickered with stark, art-school montages and faces cleverly choreographed to bring out certain themes in the songs. During standout “Without You,” a black and white close-up of a mother holding her toddler son took on the mystery of a Vermeer painting and made the song even more of a tear-jerker. Towards the end of the set, a gutsy version of “Special K” was matched with absinthe-hued lights and quick flashes of kaleidoscope-style images. During the “ba da ba ba ba da” bit in the chorus, the crowd sings along somewhat feebly, leading Brian Molko to tease, “Canadians do it better than that!”

Though “Bitter End” is a fitting way to end the set with Molko flinging off his guitar, the band is back for not one, but three encores: “Running Up That Hill,” “Taste in Men” and the always-evocative “20 Years.” –MAV

  1. [...] For more Placebo, check out our review of their April 11, 2007 show at Roseland Ballroom here. [...]