Photos by G.
The opening line of Pet Shop Boys’ latest album “Electric” is “Turn it up!” At the first of their 2 sold out shows at New York’s Beacon Theatre on September 16, 2013, that’s exactly what they did. For a duo that is 30 years into their career and based on the high theatrics of their current tour “Electric,” not only are Pet Shop Boys not slowing down, but I think they are only getting better as time goes on. After a DJ set from their current album’s producer, Stuart Price (billed as his alter ego Jacques Lu Cont), Pet Shop Boys hit the stage at 9 pm and shook the Beacon for close to two hours.
If you are a casual Pet Shop Boys fan, you’ll get to hear “West End Girls,” “Suburbia,” It’s A Sin,” “Always on My Mind” and “Domino Dancing.” If you are a die-hard, you’ll get to hear “One More Chance,” “Fugitive,” “I’m Not Scared,” and the b-side “I Get Excited (You Get Excited Too).” If you don’t like the Pet Shop Boys at all and someone dragged you to the show, you will get to see a multimedia experience that comes complete with trippy visual projection screens, back up dancers, costume changes, laser lights, confetti that falls from the ceiling and several thousand homosexuals dancing to the soundtrack of their lives!
Pet Shop Boys hosted a paid meet and greet prior to the show, and even though I have met the Boys close to a dozen times, the one thing I don’t have is a photo with them. In fact, as I watched many of the estimated 150 or so superfans exiting the meet and greet, not being able to take a photo with the PSB was a sore spot for nearly everyone I spoke with. At this point, the die-hards have piles of things signed by the band and for the hefty price tag, fan after fan walked away without having the thing they wanted the most. I even suggested to Neil and Chris that for the next tour, this is the type of experience the fans really want. So I guess time will tell. When they performed “Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money),” I couldn’t help but see dollar signs in their eyes as so many bands whose heyday was the 1980s (not a diss, just facing facts), are much more accessible to their die-hards (and typically for free!) – and look through my photo archive for proof!
The one good thing about the meet and greet was even though you couldn’t get photos with them, you were entitled to a pretty good seat at the Beacon Theatre, so you were able to take photos of them all night, which also kind of doesn’t make sense as that detracts from watching the show, so this might be the Achilles heel in an otherwise well thought out show. I think many fans retaliated and snapped away all night.
And there was much to photograph. Each song had an extremely trippy visual projection accompanying it, from the opening number “Axis” where the projections made you feel like you were flying at high speeds through psychedelic tunnels, to the throwback to the “Very” costumes the Boys wore towards the end of the show. During “Love Etc.,” Pet Shop Boys were in beds with the covers pulled up to their necks. Buffed and shirtless hotties were projected onto them (see top photo) and that made for one of the more humorous points of the night.
Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe also donned disco ball hats and when the stage lights reflected off them, the whole of the Beacon Theatre was a gigantic dance floor. I took a video of one of my favorite tracks from “Electric,” “Fluorescent,” and a video will be coming soon, so stay tuned. There were so many flashing lights and lasers during that song, my camera nearly blew up once the song was over – you will see!
The classic songs such as “Rent,” “Opportunities” and “One More Chance” (which was fused with “Face Like That” from “Elysium”), were reborn as dance floor jams and the PSB dusted off tracks that they haven’t played live in decades such as their cover of Leonard Bernstein’s “Somewhere,” and the “Very” track “I Wouldn’t Normally Do This Kind of Thing.”
During the new song “Thursday,” the studio version’s guest rapper Example was present via video screen to deliver his part; however Chris Lowe remained silent instead of shouting out the names of the days of the week as he does on the record. One of the inadvertent highlights of the night (even though there were really so many), was a crowd sing-a-long of “Domino Dancing,” that kept going long after the music stopped. Looking around the crowd during that moment, seeing thousands of people forgetting about the problems of the world and just living in the moment and having a great time was really cool.
If you do not have a ticket to see Pet Shop Boys on this tour, you are making a huge mistake, because after seeing every US tour for the last 20 years, this may just be their best show yet.
TURN IT UP! Thanks again Neil and Chris for a great show. Now if we can just work on taking photos with fans… 🙂
The setlist was:
Axis / One More Chance – Face Like That / Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money) / Memory of the Future / Fugitive / Integral / I Wouldn’t Normally Do This Kind of Thing / Suburbia / I’m Not Scared / Fluorescent / West End Girls / Somewhere / Leaving / Thursday / Love Etc. / I Get Excited (You Get Excited Too) / Rent / Miracles / It’s a Sin / Domino Dancing / Always on My Mind
Go West / Vocal