Pet Shop Boys at the Electric Ballroom

I actually went to see the Pet Shop Boys. That is not something I expected to write on this website and you know what, I enjoyed myself.

Full disclosure. I was a teenager in the late 80s and I wasn’t a cool kid who liked all the bands we now see as cool now. I can’t honestly say I knew any cools kids – the ‘cool kids’ in my class liked Madonna. I think we were too late for the post-punk wave. I can’t honestly say there was much music I liked up until I was about 16. I had a few C90s with copies of albums from friends and family bit if I had pocket money it went on the latest C64 game, not music. What I owned was all mainstream stuff, soft rock like U2, Simple Minds and mainstream pop, including the Pet Shop Boys. With songs like West End Girls and It’s A Sin, for a few years in the late 80s, the Pet Shop Boy released some awesome pop songs that still stand up now.

Tonight’s gig at the Electric Ballroom was part of the Save Our Venues, ‘Passport: Back to Our Roots’ series that took some successful artists back to small venues. A friend had managed to win two tickets so I tagged along. While the Electric Ballroom isn’t small, it is for the Pet Shop Boys.

I guess we shouldn’t have been surprised, but there were already queues when we arrived an hour and a half before doors. It was an unusual experience not to be at the front of the queue or the gig. But the Pet Shop Boys have a dedicated fan base and this was a small venue.

I expected a relatively short set. With PSB headlining the Other Stage at Glastonbury, they brought us a sneak preview of their headline set. Minus the massive stage show and costume changes. As you can see from the set list, it was a good length set featuring many of their big hits, along with some surprises, like U2’s Where the Streets Have No Name.

The thing that surprised me was how the classic songs have clearly developed over the years as PSB have tried to stay relevant in a dance market. With songs having much stronger drum and base clearly added for the 90s and 00s dance market. In some ways it aged the music shifting the music from the 80s to the 90s. I am not sure they added much to classic tracks. The synth sound that made the Pet Shop Boys so recognisable, was often drowned out by the drums. But you know what. It didn’t matter. It was the Pet Shop Boys. Neil can still put on a good show. He still has his distinctive voice. It was time to switch off and enjoy a slice of 80s nostalgia. Oddly, the highlight of the evening was a song I don’t remember hearing in the 90s, ‘Being Boring’. Its reflective lyrics seemed to be a good way to end the evening. We have all changed since the 80s. We should be thankful we can still experience nights like this. I genuinely found the song moving.

  • Suburbia
  • Can You Forgive Her?
  • Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money)
  • Where The Streets Have No Name (I Can’t Take My Eyes Off You)
  • Rent
  • I Don’t Know What You Want but I Can’t Give It Any More
  • So Hard
  • Left to My Own Devices
  • Domino Dancing
  • Love Comes Quickly
  • Losing My Mind
  • You Were Always on My Mind
  • Dreamland
  • Heart
  • It’s Alright
  • Vocal
  • Go West
  • It’s a Sin
  • West End Girls
  • Being Boring