Writing a review about the Pet Shop Boys is a bit like writing a review about Agatha Christie or the works of John Hughes: by this point, you either know that you like/love them, or you’re completely uninterested.
In my case, the Pet Shop Boys will remain forever one of those bands whose music evokes a certain period of my life – namely, my pre-teen years. I first heard them in the company of a friend’s odd-in-a-cool-way uncles, and fell in love with the song, “One More Chance.” From there, I followed along as they made numerous albums, varying a bit but largely staying within a characteristic sound that leveraged elements of techno, disco, and Neil Tennant’s inimitable voice, all wrapped in near-perfect pop-song writing and the occasionally genius choice of songs to be covered.
The funny thing is, in so many ways, the Boys haven’t changed. Sure, they’ve since made numerous albums (10 studio albums to date, as well as over 20 other albums (remixes, compilations, EPs, and more).
The Pet Shop Boys remain great, and their steady, upbeat presence and trademark behavior have earned them a significant, loyal following, many of whom turned out to a recent, seemingly shown-out show at Seattle’s beautiful Moore Theatre. The Boys performed as they have so many times, and as they always have: Neil Tennant out front, ambling around the stage singing in his still-crystalline voice, while Chris Lowe retained his vaguely mysterious trademark invisibility behind a pair of large sunglasses and under a baseball cap. Both underwent numerous costume changes throughout the show, though Lowe’s were essentially changing jackets (and Tennants’, not much more).
Given the Boys’ relatively low-key stage presence, the “show” part was essentially composed of four talented back-up dancers, video, and the set. The dancers were good, even if their routines were at times somewhat odd. The videos, too, were solid – a mix of random colors and shapes, along with some more substantive video. And the sets, made of white cardboard box-like building blocks that were continuously re-arranged throughout the show, provided fitting complement to the rest of the show.
In short, the Pet Shop Boys provided what their fans came, first and foremost, to hear, and second, to see: consistent, nostalgic, beautiful music, coupled with a flamboyant and colorful stage show, all rounded off with an encore accompanied by the shooting of heaps of silver confetti from two large canons flanking the front of the stage.