or the show, the duo dusted off the older material giving it a much
needed updating. While the songs didn’t stray too far from their original
form, some tracks took on a life of their own.
Being boring, a song that was overlooked in 1991, was rightly placed back into the set list, this time as a minimalist ambient mix, which segued into hard edged techno blasts during the breaks.
Richard John, JAM! Showbiz, November 1999.
hile everyone will have their own favourites [on Montage],
highlights of the performance for me were an excellent re-arrangement
of Being boring—an atmospheric song that wouldn’t normally
work terribly well live, but has been given a minimalistic arrangement,
an incongruous techno mid-section and is beefed-up with a powerful beat
and a change of key towards the end of the song. This is the Pet Shop Boys
at their best, showing an inventiveness and a tendency to re-work
and update their material.
DVD Times, November 2001.
he set [of the Bristol concert on 8th February, 2002] is informed by a
spirit of experimentation. Tennant straps on an acoustic guitar for
several well-received tracks from their forthcoming eighth album, Release,
notably I get along, which reflects on the fall of Peter
Mandelson by way of a magnificent terrace-chant chorus. Better still,
the band apply the six-string approach to older material. You only tell me
you love me when you’re drunk assumes a singer-songerwriterly
intimacy; Was it worth it?, stripped of its original Eurodisco
brashness, becomes unexpectedly touching. Even the heavily synthesized
tracks (Being boring, West End girls) tend to be plucked
from the more hushed, melancholy end of their back catalogue, although
a thumping, bongo-driven New York City boy and an ecstatic encore
of Go West ensure that the dancefloor is not entirely neglected.
The Guardian, February 2002.
t is, therefore, typical of their perversity that this show
[the concert at Norwich UEA in UK, on 10th February, 2002]
features two guitarists and a minimalist set of scaffolding and venetian blinds,
and is touring university campuses.
This, though, is no easy option, no simple excuse for crowd-pleasing populism. The old favourites are revised rather than reprised. The beautiful, string-drenched Being boring is re-invented as Sinatra-esque reminiscence set to a bossa nova beat. Was it worth it? becomes a folk song, with acoustic guitar and tinkling chimes. You only tell me you love me when you’re drunk retains its aching melody but gains a shuffling beat. New York City boy has been crossbred with Isaac Hayes’ Theme from Shaft. Love comes quickly acquires a dark, brooding pulse.
The Times, February 2002.
he Pet Shop Boys are, to borrow a phrase from the world of TV advertising,
at their best when they do “exactly what it says on the tin”—Chris Lowe’s
wonderful waves of high-energy synth sounds coupled with Neil Tennant’s
nonchalant and captivatingly nasal lyrics. So why did they have to go
all Beatles and Blur on us? What was all that acoustic guitar strumming
supposed to be about? And where were those classic hits?
Conspicuous by their absence [on the same show] were It’s a sin, Domino dancing, Left to my own devices, Always on my mind, What have I done to deserve this?, Suburbia and Where the streets have no name. They even missed Opportunities—indeed, there were so many missed opportunities. They did, however, perform Being boring.
“We were never being boring,” whined Neil in one of the most ironic moments of the concert. Sorry, boys, but you were—in Norwich on Sunday night. And I’ve got witnesses.
EDP24, February 2002.
tripped bare of backing singers, dancers, massive and operatic sets,
they have finally proved they can cut it live.
This [the concert in Leicester, UK, on 13th February, 2002] was not a greatest-hits set, this was not to showcase new material from their forthcoming Release release. This was simply to show that they are credible artists.
Being boring is torn free of its production to become the nostalgic classic of a lost and yearned-for youth.
Leicester Mercury, February 2002.
he opening [of the London Astoria concert on 14th February, 2002],
Disco potential, throbbed away like a
dance-floor filler for those whose clubbing days are otherwise
a dim and distant memory. Being boring, that sharp glance
at post-Aids society, evoked the appropriate mixture of sombre
reflection and survival guide.
This is London, February 2002.
uffice to say the highlights [of the same concert] are the meagre back catalogue
offerings. Being boring shows off its effortless charm,
Was it worth it? perversely works far better with a
skeletal backing, while a pounding Go west nearly brings
the roof off the place. However, West End girls and Love comes quickly
sadly sound tired and a little bit dated.
f this is the Pet Shop Boys’ idea of a sick Valentine’s Day
joke, it works extremely well. Forget for a moment that Neil Tennant and
Chris Lowe are responsible for some of the finest moments in modern music.
And forget that the pair’s trademark synthetic sound, deadpan
delivery, and perfectly contrived aesthetic directly influenced so many of
today’s more innovative artists. Because tonight, Matthew, the Pet Shop
Boys are David Gray and Jools Holland—and it’s enough to make
1800 grown men weep.
Assisted by four sessioneers, this group ensemble is the PSB’s latest incarnation, a reminder of their current material’s debt to the New Acoustic Movement. Perhaps after 15 years at the top they’re entering their experimental phase, last year scoring doomed musical Closer to heaven and now content to strum drab offerings as Home and dry and London before a crowd hungry for hits.
And they remain starving, mainly because Tennant leads the band through a succession of indifferent B-sides (Disco potential, Sexy Northerner) when they could’ve delivered 90 minutes of edgy synth brilliance and shown upstarts like Fischerspooner how disco-theatre should be done. Instead, Love comes quickly is mauled by feedback while Being boring and Drunk set the show’s pedestrian tone.
Piers Martin, NME, 2002.
his doesn’t mean that [during the performance in Boston on 19th May, 2002]
only songs with grandiose beats were successful. The swanky You only tell me
you love me when you’re drunk was crooned with dignified lounge act
savoir faire, while the checkered disco funk intro of encore Being boring
set up the seductive number nicely. Even better, The night I fell in love
displayed a cheeky wit, with lyrical allusions to a homosexual encounter with
Eminem, and Go West turned into a joyous sing-along.
Annie Zaleski, Billboard, 21st May, 2002.
t was telling that the Pet Shop Boys would bring their latest tour into
the traditional concert environment of Toronto’s Massey Hall [on 26th May, 2002].
The tightly seated venue is hardly a spot you’d associate with the Pet Shop
Boys of yesteryear, as it allows little room to stand up, let alone get up
Go West capped off the main portion of the show in spirited style, gearing people up for the three-song encore. It started with Being boring, which surprisingly didn’t resonate like the other old material. It’s a sin set things right, delivering a throbbing beat that had people hitting the aisles for more dancing space (much to the chagrin of Massey Hall’s ushers). As the song neared its end, the energy level of Massey Hall was peaking and preparing for... uh, You choose, Release’s quietest song. The Pet Shop Boys could’ve used a lesson from Seinfeld’s George Costanza about how to leave on a high note.
Darrin Keene, ChartAttack.com, 2002.
ore than twenty years after they first met and formed the Pet Shop Boys, Neil
Tennant and Chris Lowe still continue to develop their unique blend of
classic pop, hi energy disco and clever lyrics.
Since the release of their latest album Release, the duo have been on the road for their most extensive tour to date. It was no coincidence that the tour hit London on the day of the biggest European gay festival—Mardi Gras [6th July, 2002].
The connection with Behaviour was made perfectly clear with the next song, Being boring, returned to its former glory after the extravagant reworking heard on the last tour. A rather surprisingly tamed down version of Red letter day followed, once a blazing disco number, it was given a more subdued touch. And the forthcoming single, I get along was reminiscent of Oasis—although admittedly in their better years.
Virgin, July 2002.
fter an initially tetchy sound mix ruined Being boring, [the show
in London on 6th July, 2002] quickly became the perfect gig for both hardcore and casual PSB fans alike.
New songs, especially a grandiose Love is a catastrophe, flourishing when mixed wih an imperious history lesson of three decades of pop. Always on my mind was a reminder of the best way to make Elvis dance and Left to my own devices was just beautiful.
No costume changes, backdrops or unique set design. Nonetheless, the most dramatic tour of their lives.
Channel 4 Teletext, July 2002.
Information about live performances.
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