I hope you had a wonderful Xmas Constant Reader... I was so full of food and so covered in torn wrapping paper that I have only just managed to fight my way to the computer to blog about the Pet Shop Boys at O2 last Monday.
Owen and I somehow managed to meet up despite the sudden snow storm that appeared late afternoon and I scurried us in after our usual O2 dinner of a poke of chips to see the new Bernard Sumner band Bad Lieutenant who were the Pet's support. Bernard has been joined by Phil Cunningham (recent New Order member) and Jake Evans to form the nucleus of BL as well occasional appearances from former Joy Division & New Order colleague Stephen Morris.
Luckily he was with them on stage. Some of their songs stood out more than others - they probably reward a stand-alone listen - but it was so great to see Bernard and Stephen playing on stage together - none more so than when they played BIZARRE LOVE TRIANGLE and CRYSTAL. They played OUT OF CONTROL which they have collaborated on with The Chemical Brothers and it seamlessly morphed into TEMPTATION. Their final song was too much to hope for but they did it: LOVE WILL TEAR US APART. Like... wow!
After an interval spent scanning faces in vain for a glimpse of longtime blogging budd David's Daily Dramas, the lights went down for our second helping of the PANDEMONIUM tour - and it was so much better than before... and I thought that was pretty fierce as you can remind yourself here.
Yes they still have PANDEMONIUM and LOVE ETC. far too early in the set but that is my only quibble with a show that has grown in confidence and power with a couple of key additions. I was on my feet as soon as they started WHAT HAVE I DONE TO DESERVE THIS, expecting Dusty's part to be taken by the girl dancer who had already sung the duet on THE WAY IT USED TO BE - but then the digitalised film at the back of the stage slowly came together to reveal Dusty in all her glory from the video and as on the NIGHTLIFE tour, Neil and the audience sang with her. As I sang along with her and interpolated my own Dusty wristflicks my eyes were moist with pure pleasure.
After ALL OVER THE WORLD, SE A VIDA E, VIVA LA VIDA/DOMINO DANCING and IT'S A SIN had left us all bereft of breath, Neil and Chris returned for BEING BORING which as always had the tears flowing and they followed this up with a special treat, their cover of Madness' MY GIRL - dedicated to their late friend Dainton and his wife Mandy - a song which fits perfectly into their canon of conversational wistful songs of put-upon male lovers.
After a sensational WEST END GIRLS that pulsed and thumped like the day it was written, they waved and left the stage... but the lights remained tantalisingly slow to come up - and sure enough on they strolled again - with Chris in a huge white fur hat and Neil dressed for winter. He noted that of course as they had put out their Xmas single IT DOESN'T ALWAYS SNOW AT CHRISTMAS it has snowed non-stop so they least they could do was perform it - and they did, with the four dancers bedecked as Christmas trees and snow falling on the stage - it was utter camp joy!
Like Ray Davies the week before, the Pets left the stage saying they would see us next year... I'll hold them to that.