October 3, 2009

Pet Shop Boys - Hammerstien Ballroom - Wednesday, September 1, 2009

The Pet Shop Boys performance really surprised me. I enjoyed myself. I repeat – I really enjoyed myself.

Let me explain, I saw the The Pet Shop Boys many years ago at Radio City Music Hall. At the time, the Boys were promoting one of my all time favorite albums “Behavior.” Unfortunately, for me the show was disappointing. I recall feeling that there were too many theatrics and that their performance never extended beyond the 4th wall. Call it a personal quirk, but I like to be acknowledged. Even when I’m in the balcony, I like to feel that I’m part of the good time that is being had on stage.

This time around The Pet Shop Boys were promoting the CD “Yes.” I read an interview in AM NY before the show that said they were promising a fun time. The Pet Shop Boys did as promised. Apparently, when you see performers more than 10 years later, their shows get better. Who knew? People grow. What a concept!

For starters, the staging was brilliant. As I was waiting for the show to start, I thought “what is with the white moving boxes? It kind of looks chintzy.” However, once the show started – the white moving boxes became part of multimedia performance with the same box graphic motif used on the CD. The boys being the dryly humorous diva’s they are came out with screened boxes on their heads as did the two dancer/singers on stage right who were wearing lego sort of outfits while playing keyboard.

The show had momentum from the beginning straight through to the end. Neil Tennant not only acknowledged the audience but seemed to enjoy the audience enjoying themselves. Chris Lowe was behind what looked like a DJ booth for most of the show. I'm sure Chris was playing keyboards and using a laptop. Though it occurred to me during the show that for all I knew he was reading a Kindle or masturbating. But that's just me being silly. Chris doesn't have to be a great showman, he writes great music and arrangements – that's all that's required and more than enough.

Each song was extremely choreographed with dance numbers, numerous projections and costume changes. Yet, the show never felt weighted down by the theatrics or the songs. The boys kept the hits coming and for those songs which they didn't do full out they included as parts of transitions or bridges in other songs. Besides doing songs from their new CD “Yes.”, the boys did “Left to My Own Devices, New York City Boy, Suburbia, Closer to Heaven, It's A Sin, Se Vida E, and Opportunites.” Yup – the boys did all their greatest hits plus a version of Coldplay's “Viva La Vida” which I really enjoyed.

The staging was helped along by 5 fabulous dancers – 4 women and one male. Two of the female dancers looked like they were twins, both blonde, beautiful and bubbly. If you are old enough to understand the reference, the girls were very“Doublemint”commercial . One of the highlights of the show was a dance done by black male and female dancers during the song “Jealousy. The two dancers pantomimed a tug a war between lovers. It was great.

As I stated earlier, The Pet Shop Boys show had a box motif which esthetically held the show together . The audience didn't get to see the dancers faces until the middle of the show because their heads were covered with colored boxes to match their outfits. Later in the show, the dancers wore box outfits with Chrysler and Empire state buildings painted on them to imitate the NYC skyline. Boxes were also used as paneled doors, stair steps and pedestals for the dancers and for Neal.

I could have gone home extremely content after hearing “Being Boring.” - which they performed beautifully. For sentimental reasons, it will always be my favorite Pet Shop Boys song.

The final encore of the evening was “West End Girls.” Neal Tennant introduced it by recalling the humble beginnings here in NYC. It was a great ending to a terrific show.

Set List

- More Than A Dream
- Heart
- Did You See Me Coming
- Pandemonium/Can You Forgive Her?
- Love Etc.
- Building A Wall / Integral
- Go West / Paninaro /Opportunites (Let's Make Lots Of Money)
- Two Divided By Zero
- Why Don't We Live Together? /Left To My Own Devices
- Always On My Mind
- New York City Boy
- Closer To Heaven (truncated)
- Left To My Own Devices
- Do I Have To?
- King's Cross
- The Way It Used To Be
- Jealousy
- Suburbia
- All Over The World
- Se A Vida É (That's The Way Life Is)
- Viva La Vida / Discoteca /Domino Dancing
- It's A Sin
- Being Boring
- West End Girls

If you would like to read more about the show and see some great pics - check out



  1. Frank,
    I think this is a great idea. Best of luck with it.


  2. I enjoyed reading about your experiences of the concerts. Very detailed and informative.
    Good luck with the blog!

  3. Hi Frank,

    Thanks for visiting my blog.

    The boys sure did show us a good time that night and I'm still thinking about it. The box motiff was a brilliant idea and very original.

    Have fun at the shows!