I am a huge fan of music and a live event with a band that I like is enough to reshuffle my whole schedule, if needed, just to make it to the concert. So this is pretty much what happened during my short visit at home in Romania a few days ago.
The location of the concert: The Roman Arenas in Carol Park (Arenele Romane, Parcul Carol). This is my favourite park in Bucharest, it hosts the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a mausoleum for the fallen built during Communist times, the George Grigore Cantacuzino fountain build in 1870, The National Technical Museum „Prof. ing. Dimitrie Leonida”, the Romanian Academy’s Astronomic Institute, a fountain with the zodiac signs on it, several statues (“The Giants” and a statue of Dr. C. Istrati, professor, academic, minister and mayor of Bucharest), and an arena for live events that I mentioned above.
The event: Placebo, an alternative rock band from the UK. It was the third time I saw them live, but that doesn’t matter, I would go see them live again. A bit of a depressive band, they’ve been around for 20 years and they thought about celebrating that with the fans, so they organised an anniversary tour that stopped in Bucharest during the same time as me. They were a strange presence on TV years ago, especially when in one of their videos, Pure Morning, the singer, Brian Molko, an androgynous figure, jumped off a building, to everyone’s despair, and then ended up walking perpendicularly on its walls, to everyone’s surprise. Another of their videos is the futuristic Special K, a good song that takes its title from a drug but that doesn’t deal just with drugs but with love as well.
The event started with the video of Every You, Every Me, probably one of their most popular songs, if not the most popular. The concert had, according to the band, two parts: the depressive one and the energetic one. During the depressive one they went from one ballad to the other, with my personal highlight of Special Needs. The energetic part set the audience on fire. Besides the fact that Placebo is quite loved in Romania and the fans respond really well to rock concerts, the music sounded so good that everything seemed to fall into place to everyone’s delight. You could see that in the way people danced, clapped, sang along and asked for more by cheering minutes in a row and lighting up their phones, but also in the band’s reaction, their kind words and large smiles. There was a lot of passion on both sides involved in the event. I can’t think of a best moment for the concert, the melancholy of the first part made the audience listen and enjoy the beautiful music, the energy of the second made everybody jump on For What It’s Worth, sing along on Special K or The Bitter End, watch the beautiful video of Song to Say Goodbye while the band was performing it live, and the cover of Running Up that Hill (A Deal With God) was simply brilliant. To my delight, they even brought a bit of politics into their show: an image of a package of cigarettes with Trump’s face on it and the message “seriously harms you and others around you”. They didn’t play This Picture nor Bright Lights but they delighted everybody with 25 songs in over two hours of live music. It was quite a show!