Pet Shop Boys
(State Theatre, Detroit, MI - May 27th, 2002)
Having grown up in a musical era that was enraptured by the wonderfully discofied dance beats brought forth by these two lads from England, I have to admit that I was genuinely looking forward to the music that the night would bring. But early on, as the lack of stage lights and 'hits' were both super-unabundent, it soon became clear that tonight's show wasn't to be a 'greatest hits' tour of any magnitude after all.
Incredibly, from an audience's point of view, there wasn't one split second where a venue light lit the stage ! This in itself meant that for the entire show both Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe were bathed in complete darkness - their faces never once lit by anything stronger than a back-glow from one of the outward gazing stage lights.
That aside though, the music began slowly, the first 'hit' springing forth in the intro-disguised 'Love Comes Quickly.' 'London' came next, and whilst Neil explained that it was a song about two Russians coming to the city for the first time, both he and his guitar were lit by a series of patriotic red, white and blue thin beams of light.
With absolutely no stage set design at all, the theatres own bare brick walls making the backdrop what it was for the night, the Pet Shop Boys - together with their backing 'band' - continued to bring forth songs from the new album. The crowd, obviously not to familiar with Release, were decidedly edgy for the most part. A demographic of mainly gay men, mixed with young Goth-inspired girls and some older, once-wholehearted fans just wanted to sing along in truth, but found that the words being sung were just too new for them.
'New York City Boy,' together with those aforementioned, but now patriotically American red, white and blue lights turned things up a notch, before the wonderful 'Always On My Mind' was finally brought to the fore. What then followed was about fifteen minutes worth of either new (and noticeably slower) album material and/or unheard album tracks from the days of yore. The audience was quiet, the bartenders serving alcohol at a greater rate, the 'couples' now finding time to chat to one another.
Then, out of nowhere, and as if sensing the gathered blanket of silence, the Pet Shop Boys get back down to business. To the noticeably altered strains of 'West End Girls' comes a greater crowd warmth. Hand in hand, a blanket of white christmas tree-like lights are dropped down behind the boys to bring on the first set change of the night ! The tempo is kept alive with a rousing version of 'Go West' before the night is brought to a close.
But not before the encore gets the two back onto the stage and into 'Being Boring.' Neil then introduces the band before announcing that "we'd like to thank all you fabulous dickheads for coming here tonight," which then leads them straight into their finale track, the crackling 'It's A Sin.'
Which, to a point - NO 'What Have I done To Deserve This ?,' 'Rent,' 'Opportunities,' 'Paninaro,' and my personal fav, 'Suburbia' - could actually sum up the set list for tonight's show !
Reviewed by Russell A. Trunk