★★★★| The Pet Shop Boys Super Tour – Leeds First Direct Arena
32 years ago, The Pet Shop Boys burst onto the music scene with West End Girls, their first single and their first of many number ones. 32 years later, they have kicked off their UK tour, Super, at Leeds First Direct Arena, touring off the back of their latest two albums, Super and Electric, their set featured selected tracks from those albums along with a host of classic tracks and a few unexpected songs. The question is, have The Pet Shop Boys still got it? TheGayUK were there to bring you the lowdown.
Opening with Inner Sanctum, the band rattled though some of their more recent tracks, including The Pop Kids, Burn, and The Dictator Decides from their latest album, Super, and Love is a Bourgeois Concept and Inside a Dream from their Electric Album. These latter two albums have had a heavy dance music slant, and the songs sounded great performed live, with the crowd on their feet and the bass reverberating in your chest. Scattered amongst the set list were some unusual, but welcome choices, such as In The Night, New York City Boy, The Sodom and Gomorrah Show and a beautifully subtle version of Home and Dry, the latter being a real highlight of the show.
But it was, of course, the classic hits including West End Girls, Love Comes Quickly, Domino Dancing, Always On My Mind and new versions of Left To My Own Devices and Go West, which really got the crowd going; and the seminal It’s A Sin was a clear winner within the sold out arena.
Accompanying the music was a projected backdrop and a jaw dropping light and laser show, creating a visual feast and an assault on the senses, as the lasers reached out into the audience, jabbing them with bony coloured fingers, before bathing them in soft sheets of light which penetrated the smoky atmosphere of the arena. Dispensing with the need for backing dancers and elaborate dance routines, the band’s presentation of electronic entertainment neatly mirrored their pioneering electronic sound. The visuals in themselves are worth the price of admission.
Tennant’s voice still sounds as solid as ever, the vocals were clear and songs that were over 30 years old still sounded contemporary as they neatly nestled between the new tracks. However, whilst the light show was incredible, there were times when you were so blinded by the constant flashing lights aimed directly at you, that the movement on stage and the band themselves were obscured as they became washed out in a sea of light; and judging by the reaction of the crowd, a few more of the classic hits would have been welcome, although with such an extensive back catalogue to choose from, it is inevitable that there will be some omissions.
With an extravagant stage show, breath-taking visuals and a sound which never seems to age, the question is have the Pet Shop Boys still got it? And they absolutely have.
The Super Tour kicked off on the 18th February 2017 and tours at various locations including Manchester, Nottingham, Glasgow, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Edinburgh, London and Blackpool. Visit the official website at http://petshopboys.co.uk/tour for details.
In between visits to the theatre, watching films, photography, walking, scuba diving and singing (badly); Paul writes for TheGayUK.