I was pretty new into the concert scene at this point in time. This would be my fourth concert at the age of 16. Not having a vehicle or license was certainly an obstacle to work around, but my friends and I were able to manage even if it involved piling four of us into the backseat of a car. I would say that this is when the live music scene really began to take its grasp on me.
This had been the only show that I had ever hit up at Oliver’s down in Ottawa and luckily for us, it was an all ages show and we were able to get in. I remember getting there pretty early and being some of the first few people in the lineup. We were all about showing up early during our younger years to make sure we had our spot on the rail, front and center. The club was small, and the security decided to let anyone who wouldn’t be drinking in first, score!
This was only my second time pulling off being front and center for a show and I was feeling it by the end of the night. The pressure from the crowd swaying back and forth to the music combined with the small venue had us sweating all over one another in no time. Lack of water with all of that heat up front was a recipe for disaster. You do all you can to hang on to secure your place while the dozens of other rail-hungry lunatics behind you continuously try to wedge themselves between you and the person next to you.
I wasn’t too familiar with Placebo at the time of the show. I had heard their singles on the radio, Pure Morning and Every You Every Me, and that was as far as I had gone with them. Remember these were the days before the internet began to really take off. We didn’t have access to every single song by anyone you could ever imagine, not to mention we were enduring the days of dial-up internet access! Unsure of what I was getting into with them, I didn’t have many expectations.
After experiencing their live show, they turned me into a fan that night. I have always enjoyed their music since, no matter what they’ve released. From their opening tracks Haemoglobin and Days Before You Came off of their recently released Black Market Music, to their classics from 1998’s Without You I’m Nothing, each and every song they played was full of pure emotion and energy. You could feel that emotional and spiritual connection in the air between the crowd and members of the band that night.
I made it to the encore and wanted to tough it out so badly but unfortunately it got to the point where I needed to get out of the crowd and rehydrate or I was going to either throw up or pass out. I struggled to make my way over to the edge of the rail and work my way to the bathroom. I had to pause and lean up against the wall to regain focus, my vision blurry and vertigo setting in. I realized that I needed to smarten up if I planned on attempting something like this again. I looked on from the side as they finished the night off, feeling as though I had just escaped tragedy. Finishing off their set with a five song encore led me to believe that they had enjoyed the energy we brought out for them that Saturday night in Ottawa. My appreciation for them as musicians had blossomed and would only continue to do so.
A few bottles of water later I started to regain my composure. We checked out the merch booth and picked up a few things to support the band. Waiting around for our ride home we had noticed that the members of the band decided to come out to the bar side of the venue to chat it up with a few of the fans. Trying not to act like complete fanboys we were able to approach them and they were nice enough to amuse us even if just for a few minutes. To see how big they were making it in the UK, and to act as humble as they did with us was simply remarkable. Something you always hope to see from those who end up living their lives in the limelight, I know I will never forget them for it.