In spring 2003, Placebo showcased a harder edge with the release of their fourth album, Sleeping with Ghosts. The album went Top Ten in the UK and sold 1.4 million copies worldwide. Australian tour dates with Elbow and UK shows with Har Mar Superstar followed in 2004. Sleeping with Ghosts was more adventurous than Black Market Music, because it experimented with dance tunes, electronic music and a less rocky—more polished—guitar sound, though it kept the traditional sound for several songs, including the first single “The Bitter End”.
In autumn of 2004, Placebo’s singles collection, Once More with Feeling: Singles 1996-2004 was released (on both CD and as a DVD featuring the band’s videos). The nine-teen song compilation included their biggest UK hits and the new track “Twenty Years”.
That same year, they played a one-night-only gig at Wembley Arena. In which, Robert Smith of The Cure made a guest appearance on two tracks, “Without You I’m Nothing” and a cover of the Cure’s “Boys Don’t Cry”. This performance was to be their last UK gig until 2006. After the Wembley gig, Placebo went on a short Once More With Feeling tour in South America. On 2 July 2005, the group performed “Twenty Years” and “The Bitter End” at the Live 8 concert, at the Palais de Versailles in France (see Live 8 concert, Paris). Their 2006 tour of the UK sold out in one weekend.
There was a bit of controversy while the band was on their promotional South American Tour. As revealed on the Once More With Feeling DVD Extras, whilst on tour in South America, Placebo and Limp Bizkit played on the same evening. Trouble occurred when Placebo’s manager would not let Fred Durst on stage as he did not recognise him and thought he was simply a fan trying to get an autograph. After eventually getting on stage, Durst began the chant “Placebo sucks”. Later, Placebo’s roadie Adam Okrasinski was charged with aggravated battery when he allegedly punched a member of Durst’s entourage in an altercation that took place after the show between members of both band’s camps. Charges were later dropped in lieu of community service.
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