A chance to right a musical wrong


Placebo recently announced an October tour of North America in support of their album, 'Loud Like Love'. (© Heiko Laschitzki)

Do you have a musical "one that got away?" For me, that's the band Placebo. I enjoyed their eponymous debut and I LOVED Without You I'm Nothing. So, when they came to my town as part of a triple bill on Saint Patrick's Day in 1999, I was really excited.

They were playing with Flick, a relatively new band that released only one record, The Perfect Kellulight. But the evening's headliner was one of my favorite bands at that time, Stabbing Westward.

Flick visited 97X, the station in Ohio where I was working at that time, for an in-studio session before the show. They were really sweet and talented kids — and I do mean kids, because I think they were all teenagers at that time.

I was really enjoying Flick's set on stage at Bogart's in Cincinnati when my boss found me in the crowd and asked me if I wanted to go hang out with Stabbing Westward on their tour bus.

"WHAT??" I don't think I gave it a second thought. Truthfully, I had never been on a tour bus and I was pretty much in love with Stabbing Westward.

It was a magical experience. Chris Hall had a cold or the flu, but he had drunk enough NyQuil to make it through the show. We talked about Depeche Mode and Nine Inch Nails and he sang lines from Depeche Mode's Violator album as well as the first verse of NIN's "Something I Can Never Have." He gave me a signed staff laminate that he said would always be good at any Stabbing Westward show. We posed for a picture as their tour manager was boarding the bus with a "15 minute warning."

Barb Abney with Chris Hall of Stabbing Westward, March 17, 1999.

I promptly hustled back inside wearing my shiny, new backstage pass only to realize that I had completely missed Placebo's set. Every single moment. At the time, I didn't realize how much I would end up regretting missing their set for years to come. Well … that and the raging cold/flu that I suffered for the next week. My former coworkers had a great time making fun of me about it. When I share this story with people, my most frequently asked question is, "Who are Stabbing Westward?"

Fifteen years have passed, and I have enjoyed Placebo's ever-expanding catalogue. I have watched the film Velvet Goldmine more times than I should probably admit, more so for Brian Molko's appearance than anything else.

I've never had another opportunity to see Placebo perform live. They have been my "band who got away".

And then I found out that they're coming to town in just a few weeks in support of their new album Loud Like Love! They're playing Mill City Nights on October 17! Tickets go on sale TODAY at 10 a.m.!

I guarantee you, I will have my eyes glued to the stage as I have been given a chance to alter history and right a musical wrong!

Is there a band who got away in your musical history? Share your story in the comments below.

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