Pet Shop Boys: Live Last Night

living colourPet Shop Boys perform in Toronto earlier this week.

Live Last Night

By Dave McKenna

There was nothing organic about the actual music produced Thursday at Constitution Hall by Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, the longtime UK electronic dance giants known as the Pet Shop Boys.

Lowe stayed behind a computer screen and a keyboard all night, pushing the buttons that sent this digital sample or that through the house public address system. Tennant's voice occasionally popped in when Tennant wasn't obviously singing. At one point during "Pandemonium," backup dancers picked up trumpets and pointed them into microphones as trumpet riffs blared, but even when they dropped the instruments to the floor, the riffs kept playing.

But for all its ones and zeros, the Shoppers' show was full of life. From the show-starting "Heart," with Tennant bellowing "My heart starts missing a beat!", to the smash closer "West End Girls," the small crowd clogged the aisles to dance and scream. The bigger the production, the wilder the dancing and the louder the screams.

Among the biggest: "All Over the World," from the recent CD, "Yes," which found the backup dancers taking up microphones and singing (or at least mouthing words) alongside Tennant, who like Lowe changed from one comical outfit to another all night. (Lowe was wearing what looked like a pleather couch cushion as a shirt at one point.) Like other Shoppers' anthems, "All Over the World" aspires to be played in a packed Olympic stadium during the opening ceremonies, not a half-full concert hall. "It's a Sin" came with strobe lights and the backup troupe thrusting pelvises in matching body suits.

The flock stayed elated while Tennant and Lowe gave the Pet Shop Boys treatment to old-school disco ("Go West" by the Village People), a country standard ("You Were Always On My Mind," made famous by Elvis and Willie Nelson) and even a contemporary wimp rock tune (Coldplay's "Viva la Vida," which Tennant bellowed while dressed up like a king, crown and all).

Near the end of the set Tennant and Lowe delivered "Being Boring," a life-is-short ballad that had the band and crowd crooning together, "We were never being boring!" Sums up the night pretty good.

By David Malitz |  September 4, 2009; 11:54 AM ET Live Last Night
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Comments

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C'mon now Dave. Errors all over the place. Chris Lowe suddenly became (Daryl?) Hall halfway through the piece (and wouldn't Lowe really be Oates not Hall?).

And it's not that tough to look up the actual name of the ubiquitous title track from Coldplay's most recent album, right? Plus no mention of the staging?

Posted by: M__N | September 4, 2009 1:19 PM

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