Thursday, June 18, 2009

Pet Shop Boys LIVE

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It’s no secret that I think (know) that Pet Shop Boys are the finest British pop group of the last twenty-five years (if not of all time, but I’m not getting into that right now) and it warms my, ahem, heart, that their Outstanding Contribution award at the BRITS has seen something of a critical and commercial renaissance (witness the sold out O2 concert, at a capacity at 16,000) and, in my opinion, recent album Yes was their best since 1993’s Very. All of which boded well for a great night’s entertainment at the Manchester Apollo.

Ok, so £15 for a programme was more than a little bit excessive (even if it was obviously produced to the same exacting high standards that everything they do) but I suppose you’re not forced to buy it are you? And when the evening’s entertainment is as good as this was, you can forgive almost everything.

It’s difficult to imagine that a stage set which consists of little more than a few hundred cardboard boxes could be so entertaining, but these are no ordinary cardboard boxes. Well…no, they actually are ordinary cardboard boxes, but they do double as video screens, walkways, weapons…well you sort of get the idea.

If their last tour was decidedly a “hits” experience, the Pandemonium tour is slightly different. All the usual favourites make their appearances but thrown in were some surprising choices, some of which had never been performed live by the boys before. The problem with this was that whilst the die-hard fans (such as myself) appreciated the likes of Two Divided By Zero, Why Don’t We Live Together?, Kings Cross and lesser hits such as Love Comes Quickly and Jealously, those just in attendance for the hits may have been left slightly non-plussed, especially when some of these tracks were lumped together.

Still by the time the evening ended with the encore of West End Girls, few will have felt disappointed. The Pandemonium tour is another winning spectacle from the Pet Shop Boys and proves that there is plenty of life left in them yet.

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