I totally disagree with Kurt on this. The Pet Shop Boys Concert last night, in support of their new cd, Fundamental, was incredible, moving, political. In a word: wonderful.
I’ve been let down by over-hyped shows before, but everything about this one (with two exceptions: the dancers!) was a success.
Let’s start with the opening.
The brain curtains rip away and the whole company enters through two giant sillouettes of Neil and Chris. The show opens with Psychological. The Boys don’t just dash out a set of new stuff right away, however, they lure us in with oldies too. Next up was the crowd pleaser Left To My Own Devices.
Leaving nothing up to imagination, the visual effects were, I thought, astounding. When it was time for I’m With Stupid, The Pet Shop Boys made it quite clear who the song was about, as British and American flags merged and faded over pictures of Tony Blair and President Bush.
Their incredibly moving version of Dreaming Of The Queen was highlighted by a video loop of a single shot of Princess Diana’s funeral procession. It was amazingly effective. Making the song at once about loss, and a bit of a thumbing of the nose to the current royal family.
Other highlights for me were the perenial favorites Always On My Mind (complete with a tap dancing top hat),
And, of course, Go West.
Yes, the dancers were totally annoying! Every Pet Shop Boys Concert has had some sort of “dance” element, always retarded! But the thought behind the show, as a whole, was fantastic. Songs you would have never listened to bumped up against each other very nicely (like Minimal/Shopping). The stage design was simple and effective and really brought to life songs I usually skip over on their cd’s (Numb and Dreaming of the Queen are excellent examples of this).
And just for a moment let’s talk about politics. In a world in which pop music in general seems to be getting more and more self centered and vapid, the Pet Shop Boys put out an album that was a political call to arms, and in concert they acted out exactly what they were conveying on their new cd.
Take the song Integral, with the lyrics…
“If you’ve done nothing wrong/ you’ve got nothing to fear./ If you’ve something to hide/ you shouldn’t even be here./ You’ve had your chance./ Now we’ve got the mandate./ If You’ve changed your mind/ I’m afraid it’s too late!”
…puncuated by the whole cast wearing crazy Army outfits loaded up with sparkling neon medals. (Sorry about the bad picture here.)
Or the visuals of Dresden burning while Neil sang the song Numb.
So the Pet Shop Boys, electronic band extrodinaire, put out what one could call the best topical folk album of the decade. And to see it two days before the mid-term elections? Awesome.
So, Kurt, you’re wrong.
Sheer Brilliance! Fabulous show! If you missed it, get the video, which no doubt will be out soon!