@ Hard Rock HotelClaire B
Last Friday saw Placebo play at The Hard Rock Hotel, the first big name rock band to play at the venue since it opened. And having been to several of the events there over the summer, it was the only one I’ve experienced that had a live concert feel. Arriving just after 9pm, the DJ was playing music that complemented the band and what their audience would appreciate, rather than the usual offering of EDM. A support band would have been nice, but I suppose I shouldn’t be greedy.
Securing my place near the front of the stage, it was clear that the assembled crowd was predominantly Spanish and locals, and judging by their reaction when Placebo came on just after 10pm, they were fans and not just curious tourists. I’ve noticed that Spanish fans tend to get more excited at concerts, and they were screaming, jumping up and down at the beginning of each song, and knew all the words. But then the energy and raw rock music heavily laden with furious guitar playing and drumming that was emanating from the stage could not be ignored, as singer Brian Molko’s distinctive voice rang out loud and clear over the top. It was a mega hot night and the extra heat from all the bodies at the front of the stage must have pushed the temperature up to over 40 degrees, but this just added to the atmosphere – rock gigs should be hot and sweaty! I retreated further back for some of the gig, in an effort to find some air and save my feet from being jumped on by the excited girl next to me. Great abstract projections on the back of the stage and dramatic lighting and lots of strobes and white light added to the musical performance. One of the highlights was when they played ‘Special K’ which caused the crowd to get even more excited and induced a sing-a-long en masse. Shortly after I’m sure I saw someone’s bra winging it’s way onto the stage – that’s a new one for me! They left the stage after playing for just over an hour, but returned to play a four-song encore, including a cover of Kate Bush’s ‘Running Up That Hill’. At the end of their 90 minute set, they all went to the front of the stage, held hands and bowed to huge cheers, whilst a feedback loop played in the background. They looked like they had enjoyed the gig and it was obvious that the audience had.
It was a great opportunity to see Placebo, who usually only play huge venues and festivals, in the smaller and more intimate Hard Rock Hotel where you can get a good close-up view of the band. It’s a great venue size-wise and has a large, high stage and excellent sound. The only problem for me was the high drinks prices – I really object to being charged 12€ for a bottle of beer. But it was a great gig, and it was a gig, not just a PA or a short live performance. The final gig of the season will see The Prodigy playing at Ushuaïa next Friday, which should be a great climax to the Hard Rock Hotel’s first year on the island.
Placebo ‘Special K’:
Placebo ‘Running Up That Hill’: