Tuesday, August 6, 2013

PET SHOP BOYS Live in Manila: Concert Recap and Videos!

August 7, 2013




Ever since the first announcement of this PET SHOP BOYS concert, I really resolved to watch it as this duo is one of my favorite acts from the 1980s.  Their greatest hits CD "Discography" is on constant repeat in my car back then, and even now, if the mood hits me.  It was back in 1985 when we first heard the unusual style they had on their debut single and first hit song, "West End Girls," which went all the way to Number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.  Like the Tears for Fears concert, I thought this concert will also be as highly-anticipated by the 80s college set.

Unfortunately, that was not really what happened tonight.  The Smart Araneta did not fill up as I was expecting.  By 8 pm, there were still a lot of vacant seats.  Most people were up in the Upper Box B area. The General Admission was even closed off maybe because of poor sales. By 8:30 pm, the Patron seats looked better as more fans trickled in.  There was no front act. When the lights were killed and the coliseum was in pitch black darkness, we knew it was already going to be main act.

Right from the very beginning, we knew this was going to be more than an event for our ears. This was also very much a dazzling feast for the eyes as well.  The video screen in front of the stage first had a vertical orange line which eventually morphed into a cone, then into a tube where two figures were walking through.  This is it! 


Trippy images from last night's concert (photo care of Harry Hawson)

The first song "One More Chance/Face Like That" was not familiar, but that thin high-pitched voice of Neil Tennant and the synthesizer style of Christ Lowe were unmistakably very familiar.  The second song was one of their earlier hits, the top ten song "Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)".  In that song, the screen fell to the stage, and we finally saw Tenent and Lowe in the flesh.  Tennant is much bulkier with a bald head already.  We still do not see much of Lowe's face, as it was before.

After that hit, a long series of unfamiliar songs followed, but the beats were so catchy and dance-able as their known songs.  Throughout this stretch, we would be regaled by some pretty awesome light displays which bathed the whole coliseum with strobe and laser lights of different colors and designs.  On stage, there would be dancers with bull-like head gear prancing around.  The PSB knows they cannot stage a show with only the two of them, this concert was going to be a totally immersive experience of light and sound.




After the minor hit with a memorably long title "I Wouldn't Normally do this Kind of Thing", the audience rose to their feet for the first time when we heard the first note of "Suburbia"!  That song is only a low charting single in the US, not even hitting the Top 40, but here it is BIG!

Following that, there were unfamiliar songs again, including a cover of a Bruce Springsteen original called "Last to Die."  This was followed by a surprising cover of  the famous "West Side Story" song, "Somewhere", done PSB-style.  The next unfamiliar songs all deserved to be bigger hits because of their infectious beats, "Leaving," "Thursday" (with that catchy "stay for the weekend" chorus), "Love, Etc." and "I Get Excited."




The distinct intro strain of their 1987 hit "Rent" (SEE VIDEO) made the audiences very excited again. Then all the big hits came, and the audience was all on their feet dancing.  It was started by "It's a Sin" (SEE VIDEO) then "Domino Dancing" (SEE VIDEO), their Village People cover "Go West", then their hit cover version of "Always on My Mind," which ended their regular set, with a release of glittery confetti all over the stage.

The lights remained off, so we knew it was not over yet and clamored for more.  Their signature hit has not been sung yet!  Sure enough, that was the first song of the encore set, "West End Girls"!  They sang one last song which is I believe their latest single, "Vocal".




With that final song, this very artistic light design intensive concert came to an end.  I am slightly disappointed that they did not play a couple of my favorite PSB hits, "Heart" and "What Have I Done to Deserve This".  However, you would not believe that this is a old nostalgia act from the 1980s with the way this awesome, inventive, and entertaining show had been staged. Their concert title is certainly apt.  This Pet Shop Boys concert was indeed ELECTRIC!




12 comments:

  1. I am not very familiar with PSB but they sure sound cool.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The two used to call themselves West End because of their love of London's West End, however they came up with the name Pet Shop Boys later on. They used to work in a petshop and one day they found themselves singing and Simon Cowell walked in and the rest is history:D Of course IDK :D But hey was able to her some of their hits on Youtube and it was indeed ELECTRIC :D

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have to admit that I never heard about them, but I like them! I like the atmosphere from their concerts, and I believe it's much deeper when you are really there in the front of stage, not in front of your computer screen watching and listening them from youtube.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Andreea. The laser light and video wall show was really mesmerizing live. The pulsating beat of the music adds to the total experience.

      Delete
  4. Never heard of them too. Maybe because I'm a 90's kid. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kris. Actually PSB was still very much active in the UK up the first decade of 2000, hit the top 10 of their charts. But in the US (which influences pop music here) their career declined in the 90s. But their latest singles "Leaving" (2012) and "Vocal" (2013) both made it to the upper half of the US Dance Charts.

      Delete
  5. I'm reading this review tonight together with my husband because I am not familiar with the band. Apparently, when I asked him if he knew the band because he likes New Wave/80s songs, he leaned over and read with me. Anyway, he wants you to know that he agrees with you that they should have sang "What Have I Done to Deserve This".

    ReplyDelete
  6. I knew Pet Shop Boys since the 80s and they had become a part of my college memories. This concert is indeed electrifying. Awesome and dazzling lasers, very entertaining dancers with various props, and of course Pet Shop Boys singing live those songs which became part of my life. I nearly cried when they sang songs like Rent and West End Girls. They remind me of the best times in college, listening to these songs in my walkman as we study and enjoy our youth.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I am not familiar with the Pet Shop Boys. But reading your posts gave me an idea that the people from the audience really had a blast. Not to mention, awesome songs and lazer lights. It must have been quite an impressive show worth writing about.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I can't remember the band but the moment I watched the video, Suburbia... wow, I remember and I know the song pala! I grew up listening to old songs even like Matt Monro etc.Sometimes it's just hard to remember the band or the title of the song. :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I think Im familiar with some of their songs and looks like this would be a hit for their followers.

    ReplyDelete