REVIEW

Rediscovering the Pet Shop Boys

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MANILA, Philippines—Why people bring electronic gadgets during concerts to document the show is understandable but checking on how many likes and comments one has gotten in her latest Facebook status entry comes close to sacrilege.

At the recent Smart Araneta Coliseum one-night only concert of British electronica group, Pet Shop Boys, there were fans who chose to sit through a series of songs and with their Ipads and Tabs, shut themselves off from the show going on.

It’s a given that Neil Tennant (on vocals) and Chris Lowe (on electronic keyboards) would play new and unfamiliar songs, at least for those who haven’t followed them in recent years.

They’re on tour to promote their 12th studio album, “Electric,” which is their first after 28 years with Parlophone and forming their own label called X2.

Given the creative freedom to experiment, “Electric” has earned rave reviews and enjoyed commercial success.

Then again, most Filipino fans who attended the show were waiting for their hits in the 1980s up to the 1990s.

And we’re lucky to have experienced live the dance anthems of our youth and bring back memories of—gasp—Junior-Senior Proms.

We’re one with the crowd when the Pet Shop Boys sang “Domino Dancing,” “Suburbia,” “Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money),” their cover versions of Bruce Springsteen’s “Last To Die,” Leonard Bernstein-Stephen Sondheim’s “Somewhere” Johnny Christopher-Mark James’ “Always On My Mind” and The Village People’s “Go West.”

Stripped of headgears, fancy clothes and devoid of the strobe and laser lights, we’ve discovered Tennant’s singing style was extremely tamed. Bluntly put, he didn’t dance at all. We’re actually reminded of our high-school principal during Monday flag ceremonies talking about the proper way to plant sweet potatoes.

Lowe on his metallic keyboard had the same verve. At one point, we’re reminded of a mannequin used in display windows of our favourite Yamaha Music Store in Harrison Plaza. Good thing it’s now closed or else we’ll look for that mannequin if only for its resemblance with Lowe.

No wonder, in all shows of The Pet Shop Boys, which fans could watch on You Tube, they always have those two omnipresent dancers wearing fancy costumes and headgears.

The two dancers were there at the Araneta, wearing those familiar ram-like headdress seemingly inspired by Egyptian gods. They provided the dance movements that the crowd willingly followed.

It’s like a two-hour non-stop Zumba class, only you have two dance instructors dressed like goats and at one point, as pumpkins.

But it’s amazing how the British duo transformed the coliseum into one big rave party.

All in all, we can say experiencing the Pet Shop Boys live is more than a trip down memory lane.  We felt like, oh well, dominoes dancing!

PET SHOP BOYS’ Neil Tennant. PHOTO BY POCHOLO CONCEPCION

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  • I_kabod

    deym missed this one! did anyone see the concert?

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