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PSB Review for Ellywelly

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“We finally made it to Astoria…and it wasn’t for G.A.Y.†So says Neil Tennant at the end of this gig at the relatively tiddly central London venue. During the course of the gig Neil has – crikey! – thrummed at an acoustic guitar, while, - fuck me! – a proper band with musicians and everything has done proper musician things behind them. Is this the ‘Pet Shop Boys Down the Dumper Tour’ that they used to joke about back when they were at their hugest?

Well, maybe, but let’s backtrack a little. Having been bemused by support act ARE Weapons, the crowd are more expectant than exultant when the Pet Shop Boys finally take the stage. Neil takes center stage, while for some reason, a little old lady in a baseball cap sits at some keyboards behind him. On closer inspection, this turns out to be Chris Lowe.

A brisk run through new tune ‘Disco Potential†(which has little) kicks things off, before ‘Being Boring†reminds everyone of why the Petties are a national treasure – “The Smiths that you can dance to’ as some wag once put it. Err, which makes the next tune, the horribly rockist ‘I Get Along’, which sounds like that vile Oasis song that goes “Seeew, Sallee can waiiit/Shee kneoows it’s too laaayyte…†all the more unpleasant.

This sets the tone for the evening. Old stuff: good. New stuff, as the Grolsch ad guy would say: ‘not scho good’. The likes of ‘Red Letter Day’ and ‘Love Comes Quickly’ shine in their new stripped-down arrangements, but there are more unseemly moments too, including a track that sounds like ‘Against All Odds’ by Phil ‘Fucking’ Collins.

Nearing full-time, the result is a score-draw at best, but the Boys pull off a late rally to go through on the away goals rule. A heart-melting ‘West End Girls’ and singalong encore of ‘West End Girls’, at last send the crowd batshit. Love is blind and we love the Petties. Everyone exits with blissful memories of when they really meant something still intact – just. And boy are we relieved.

Gig of the Month – Pet Shop Boys – London Astoria – February 14th

Duncan Bell, Muzik Magazine April 2002

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i listened to their new CD over the weekend, and I hate to say, but I didnt like it at all. I just liked 2 songs and that was it. In the past I would just by the damn record regardless if I had heard it before and was never disspointed, but I still think that I'll go for this.

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