Being ‘Boring’ is a isn’t a phrase I would use to describe
the Pet Shop Boys as they played a homecoming
gig at Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle.
This show was nothing short of an extravaganza from
the moment Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe took to the stage.
A colourful concoction of backing dancers, cubes on
heads, frequent costume changes, kaleidoscopic squares
flashing on the backdrop, the ‘boy’s typically exuberant
performance was intercepted by black and white video
footage of the London Underground and Blackpool Pleasure
chose ‘Heart’ as their opening number, a reminder of
Neil’s haunting and dry, unsophisticated vocals that
had the crowd in the palms of their hands.
This was followed by a mixture of both their classic
hits and some newer material. ‘Building a Wall’, one
of their more recent numbers, was topped off by an array
of tumbling cubes that were part of the background scenery.
‘Love etc’ proved to be another favourite from their
latest album ‘Yes’, a bouncing feel-good song that had
all of the old signature Pet Shop Boys qualities and
yet still seemed as fresh as a newly baked sponge cake.
The costumes were as flamboyant as you would expect
from the duo and their entourage, ranging from skin-tight
coloured all-in-one suits with huge cubes bulging from
beneath, to a regal crown and cloak. For one number,
Neil donned a dinner jacket with jodhpur-style boots.
He did, however, look more at home in his trademark
tight, black numbers with spangly jackets, sunglasses
and trilby hat. Chris meanwhile, always happy to lurk
in the background, chose the more traditional cap and
jeans look. At one point, he did venture out from behind
his keyboards to skip across the stage just to remind
us of his presence, but other than that he maintained
his famous stock-still stance. His crowning glory was
a jacket made entirely from mirrors.
Whilst a lot of the usual Pet Shop Boys traits which
we all know and love were still there, the expressionless
faces, the dark disguises and infectious melodies, there
were a couple of new and interesting observations, such
as the projected image of Dusty Springfield on the screen,
appearing to duet during ‘What Have I Done to Deserve
This?’ Then later in the show, what did we see the backing
dancers doing but lobbing cubes at each other no less!
Although Neil Tennant is a notably a man of few words,
he did take the trouble to voice his appreciation of
the people and the city on a couple of occasions, before
cranking things up a notch further with crowd-pleasing
anthem, ‘Go West’, which saw the audience whipped up
into a frenzy, a sea of waving arms aloft. ‘It’s A Sin’
was another roof-lifter, one which inevitably left the
crowd begging for more as the duo cleverly chose this
point to leave the stage.
‘Being Boring’ and the evergreen ‘West End Girls’ were
saved for the encore, as the Boys returned wearing huge
plumage-covered hats, which made Neil Tennant in particular
resemble a pantomime dame, and also summing up a spectacular
evening of 08’s nostalgia.
All in all, the Pet Shop Boys have proved that they
are masters of their game, providing non-stop entertainment
as well as pure talent. They have a loveable tongue-in-cheek
outlook, yet they receive the utmost respect and devotion
that has enabled them to stand the test of time where
so many others have failed. Its good to know that some
things don’t change.
PET SHOP BOYS 'PANDEMONIUM" doublepack DVD/CD OUT NOW
Linda Jobling for Crud Magazine 2010©