Review: Pet Shop Boys concert [22 May 2022] O2 London gig

The 2 year pandemic delayed Dreamworld greatest hits tour was an interesting 1 hour 50 minute visual spectacle to a packed and colourful O2 arena audience.  I’d forgotten just how many hits these chaps have had, some much greater than others.  The audience was predominantly 50+ an eclectic mix of the overtly camp, housewives, old couples, gangs of girls dressed up for the occasion.  The majority of the all seated crowd spent the shows entirety on their feet dancing away merrily – I witnessed some great moves in front of me from a couple of elderly ladies who looked quite frumpy but were totally away with the music.

Neil started by saying “In Dreamworld being boring is a sin” – very cute! – and they proceeded to ensure that we all had a damn good time – whether dancing to the disco beat, raving or simply singing along clapping and waving arms in the air.

The first few songs were set to a sparse monochrome video screen backdrop with Tennant and Lowe performing under two streetlights.  A bare stage bar Chris behind a computer screen and synth.  Both dressed in white coats wearing strange elongated headwear (see the pics).  The backdrop lighting was also sparse with lots of white lines meandering across the stage and morphing regularly.  I though to myself, blimey they can surely do better than this, and right enough the streetlight props were moved and the curtain went up to reveal a much deeper stage with the bands supporting musicians and an array of multi-directional light panels, spots, caging and digital backdrops. 

Setlist (click on links to view videos)

  1. Suburbia
  2. Can You Forgive Her?
  3. Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money)
  4. Where the Streets Have No Name (Can’t Take My Eyes Off You)
  5. Rent
  6. I Don’t Know What You Want but I Can’t Give It Any More
  7. So Hard
  8. Left to My Own Devices
  9. Single-Bilingual / Se a vida é (That’s the Way Life Is)
  10. Domino Dancing
  11. Monkey Business
  12. New York City Boy
  13. You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You’re Drunk
  14. Jealousy
  15. Love Comes Quickly
  16. Losing My Mind
  17. Always on My Mind
  18. Dreamland
  19. Heart
  20. What Have I Done to Deserve This?
  21. It’s Alright
  22. Vocal
  23. Go West
  24. It’s a Sin

Encore:

  1. West End Girls
  2. Being Boring

Chris Lowe, in his customary Boy baseball cap, sunglasses and hoody after the initial few songs, was permanently hidden behind his computer screen/synth and was rather economical in both his keyboard playing and general movement.  He keep a low profile for the flamboyant Neil to take centre stage with his rather splendid and elegant costume changes – mind you he could have fitted into his silver trench coat at twice over it was that large.  Neil’s voice is remarkably intact at the age of  67.  He spoke little apart from a ditty about how ‘Domino Dancing’ got its name – they had little to do in St. Lucia in the evening and they played dominos every night being constantly beaten by a friend who would do a jolly little dance every time he won.

A lot has happened since the original tour dates so after a good old Cockney knees-up Neil changed the lyrics during ‘West End Girls’ encore singing “every city in every nation, from Mariupol to Kyiv Station” and dedicated ‘Being Boring’ to all those we lost in the pandemic. It was a poignant end to a wonderful nights entertainment.

In the end it was anything but boring.

Marko 23 May 2022

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