Photos by Dawn Hamilton
Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe have been making engaging electro-pop as the Pet Shop Boys for over 30 years now. They released their lucky 13th album, Super, earlier this year and brought the corresponding tour to a packed Sony Centre last night.
Over the course of two hours, the duo along with three additional musicians delivered one of the best sounding and looking gigs of the year.
The band opened with “Inner Sanctum” from the new album with the pair each flanking a side of the stage as lasers shot out into the dancing crowd that leapt to their feet as soon as the lights went down. They quickly followed that up with their first smash “West End Girls” to the absolute delight of the crowd.
The almost-two-dozen songs touched on virtually all of the albums of their career but the focus was heavily on Super and 2013’s awesome Electric. While they may not get the airplay or sales as their 80s and 90s heyday, their recent material’s energy defies their age and is just as vital as the old stuff.
I took the signs warning of strobe and laser lighting with a grain of salt but was met ban an eye-dazzling light show that was everything I hoped it to be. This was Disco Floyd! The Sony Centre’s sound was also a highlight of the night being the clearest and crispest sound I’ve heard in some time. Usually Tennant is as still as Lowe is but he really worked the stage and offered his usual dry banter.
In addition to releasing solid new material, the boys reworked some older songs to keep them fresh including “Love Comes Quickly”, a nice surprise and “Home and Dry” which along with “Winner” provided the only sit-down break for many in what was really a high NRG club night. Even recent songs were solid enough to minimize the pining for more of the older hits including “Love Is A Bourgeois Construct”, “Burn” and the night’s absolute highlight, Electric’s “Vocal”.
The set would close out with a number of hits that really riled up the crowd; “It’s A Sin”, “Left To My Devices” and “Go West” which was teased with a line from “Opportunities”.
For the encore they would deliver a frantic version of “Domino Dancing” and their cover of “Always On My Mind”, and despite the two hours, at this point it seemed the band and crowd were just getting warmed up and could have danced for hours.
I’ve seen the Pet Shop Boys a number of times but last night was by far the best of them all with every aspect delivered perfectly for a Super impact.