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Pet Shop Boys play hit after hit tribute to Seattle fans
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Pet Shop Boys play hit after hit tribute to Seattle fans

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Staff Writer

Pet Shop Boys
September 20
Moore Theatre


I'm a total '80s nut; I love the clothes, the movies, and especially the music. I grew up in the decade that produced some of the best - and often weirdest - entertainers of our time. When I was a boy, the Pet Shop Boys, Michael Jackson, and the Culture Club were on an hourly MTV rotation. Fast-forward to 2009 and the King of Pop has died and Boy George is a bloated version of his once-beautiful self. The Pet Shop Boys, however, are alive and well. The English electronic dance music duo, Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, turned Seattle's Moore Theatre into a sweaty Sunday T-Dance on September 20 with a non-stop barrage of hit after fabulous hit.

The Pet Shop Boys are touring in support of their newest album, Yes. The "Pandemonium Tour" had me a little concerned. Prior to Sunday's show, I'd never seen the Boys live, and found myself wondering just how good a smart, moody synth-pop duo would be in a town where the music bar is set pretty high. Within minutes of taking the stage, my reservations were proven void, since the audience would remain on their feet and dancing for the duration of the show.

The show exuded a cool, postmodern atmosphere of video projection with Lowe acting as conductor behind a single computer bank. Tennant simply walked over to the microphone and sang. Behind the two stood a wall of white boxes of varying size. The boxes, which are used for everything from a video screen to a dance pedestal, were occasionally reconfigured by stagehands dressed in white trench coats and construction hats. Accompanying Tenant and Lowe onstage were four backup dancer-singers, each dressed in a different bright color and wearing colored boxes on their heads.

The show began with "Heart," a single from 1988. Throughout the show, the Pet Shop Boys performed many songs from Yes, including the current single "Did You See Me Coming" and the album's dance hit "Love, etc.," during which the audience happily sang the chorus.

Audience participation was in full swing. You could tell that Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe were enjoying the show and the audience's enthusiasm. At one point, after a larger-than-life version of "Go West," Lowe had the house lights turned up and took a photo of the audience cheering in appreciation.

The backup dancers were used for dramatic and comedic effect. When Neil Tennant sang "New York City Boy," the four dancers danced behind him dressed as different skyscrapers from the New York City skyline. Later in the show, during a beautiful rendition of "Jealousy," Tennant shared the stage with two dancers who danced an interpretation of a couple's fight and eventual break-up.

The show had many highlights that included, "It's a Sin," "Left To My Own Devices," "King's Cross" (in which Tennant dressed in a purple cape and king's crown), and "Always on my Mind." During the finale, the audience was showered with silver confetti shot from two glitter-guns on each side of the stage. The Pet Shop Boys soon returned to the stage for an encore that featured fan favorites "Being Boring" and "West End Girls."

Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe are the masters of their domain, and they know it. The two put on a show that was not only a tribute to their fans, but was a revisiting of the soundtrack to many of their lives. Dancing to the Pet Shop Boys is infectious, to say the least, and celebrating the duo's music with an appreciative Seattle audience was comparable to a foot-stomping church revival.

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