31 July 2010

Neil And Chris, Actually

For Mr. B., it was one of the most important events of his life, at least for this year. To finally be able to watch Pet Shop Boys perform live on stage. This historic event occurred 29 July on a Thursday when the British synth-pop duo staged a one-night-only concert as part of their Pandemonium Tour.

While Mr. B. understood that British music is not as popular in the country he lives in, he also knew that he had to beg, borrow or steal for the show tickets that commanded almost US$160 apiece, super pricey for a pop concert. Along came an angel called Matt who was able to secure him 2 tickets – one for him and another for D.

Excited as he was, Mr. B. had a few worries – Will he be able to stand there for 3 hours without fainting or getting crushed (he had a fear of huge crowd!)? Would D. enjoy the show? Most importantly, would it be a full-scale Pandemonium show? Fast forward to the happy ending, Mr. B. was not only able to stand there for 3 hours, he jumped, danced, sang along, screams like any other Petheads, D. enjoyed the show (and also busy taking photos), and yes, it was the full Pandemonium show and it was worth it.

The show. Even when Mr. B. has seen number of clips from the various shows in the tour, nothing beats being there and watching it live. The show was a mixture of old and the new, more old than new. In fact, Pet Shop Boys performed more songs from their first 3 albums than from their last 3. Perhaps they understood that true Petheads are getting old and wanted to reminisce the old times. Not at all strange if one considers that Neil Tennant just celebrated his 55th birthday and Chris Lowe is 50. They also understood that they will always be remembered for West End Girls and kept this song for encore.

Every Pet Shop Boys show has a different theme, from the theatrical Discovery Tour to the very simplistic Live at Savoy show. Pandemonium sort of combined some of the very best of their shows. The stage was comprised of white boxes piled up to form a wall which were used to project videos or computer-generated animations. At different points in the show, the boxes were moved, collapsed, hung in mid-air, used as a platform for elaborate dance routines or simply thrown at each other (as in the culmination of the Jealousy dance). One can never really imagine how these simple white boxes can create great illusions that enhanced the music until one sees it.

Costume is also a big part of Pet Shop Boys shows as Neil and Chris are both known for their savvy fashion sense. For Pandemonium, the box idea extended to the costume with performers, Boys included, donned boxes on their heads. Neil looked great in his tuxedo while Chris got to show off his mirror jacket (literally a jacket with pieces of mirrors on it!). For their encore, they both came out with tall feathered hats, which is a bit funny yet cute.

Of course the most integral part of the show is the Pet Shop Boys music. The combined geniuses of Neil and Chris had, over 25 years, offered pop songs that made one wants to dance and cry at the same time. Earlier songs can be poignant, sarcastic or reflective such as Heart, King’s Cross, Why Don’t We Live Together, Suburbia. Towards the 1990’s their songs became brighter, more enthusiastic and positive. This is the era of Go West and Se A Vida E. They became more relaxed and sometimes a bit more daring in their choice of subject as reflected in songs like Pandemonium, Can You See Me Coming? Or All Over The World. It is worth mentioning that for this show, Pet Shop Boys performed one of their classic, What Have I Done To Deserve This?, without using a back-up singer like they used to but instead used the original track recorded by Dusty Springfield. Projected on the huge screen was the pixelated image of one of the world's most respected artist "singing" the song with Neil Tennant. It was a particularly emotional moment for Mr. B.

The show ended with 2 encore numbers – Being Boring and West End Girls. The first is considered to be Pet Shop Boys at its finest in terms of songwriting and the latter simply a classic that just had to be performed.

Mr. B. is still in cloud 9 days after the show. He viewed the photos that D. took and chose a few to make a slideshow video for me to share in this blog. More importantly, experiencing the Pet Shop Boys live brought back a deep sense clarity to him, of what it was like then, what it is like now, and what other possibilities there are in the future. His words, not mine.


Video Credit : Photos by D., Designed by Mr. B., Music and Lyrics by Pet Shop Boys

5 comments:

Becker's Eyes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Becker's Eyes said...

With this Neil And Chris Actually article, I can easily recall some concert precious moments and most important things of all, we've realized how much this concert means to Mr. B...
Sandra

Becker said...

miss sandra, you are truly my loyal fan! thank you!

Anonymous said...

Oh! Becker,
I can't imagine that Mr.B jump and dance all 3 hours and not fainted.
Good for him, I guess...
sheep MM

Becker said...

dear sheep mm, i think it was good for him because he had exercise!

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