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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 4 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 40
Pet Shop Boys 'memorable experience' at Paramount
Arts & Entertainment
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Pet Shop Boys 'memorable experience' at Paramount

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

PET SHOP BOYS
PARAMOUNT THEATRE
October 2


At a Pet Shop Boys concert, your eyes get as much of a workout as your ears. Combining floor-to-ceiling screens with colorful graphics and radiant laser rays with pulsating electronic music, the British duo gave Seattle fans a memorable visual and audio experience Wednesday night at the Paramount Theatre.

The synth-pop legends performed the first two numbers, 'Axis' and a blending of 'One More Chance' and 'A Face Like That,' behind a sheer curtain that flashed images of tunnels, subways, and a pair of giant, faceless heads. As the opening notes of 'Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)' blared from the speakers, the curtain dropped dramatically and there stood vocalist Neil Tennant in a prickly dark jacket that made him look like a black porcupine. Chris Lowe, as usual, played keyboards off to the side and pretty much existed in his own little bubble.

During 'I Wouldn't Normally Do This Kind of Thing,' the Pet Shop Boys donned disco-ball-plated goat horns as a pair of dancers pranced around on stage with animal-head costumes. For 'West End Girls,' the venue was flooded with sapphire and baby-blue lasers, while many in the crowd clapped their hands or moved swiftly to the rejuvenated 1984 hit.

A cover of Leonard Bernstein's 'Somewhere' was thrown in before 'Leaving,' proceeded by a sensational version of 'Thursday,' which found the backup dancers inside open vault-shaped boxes. Pet Shop Boys brought a fun aspect to 'Love, Etc.,' sticking their faces through carnival-like cutouts that were attached to computer-animated bodies.

QUICK-CHANGE ARTISTS
Tennant changed into a metallic suit for a trio of oldies but goodies, 'I Get Excited (You Get Excited Too),' 'Rent,' and 'Miracles.' Impressive was the industrial-techno version of 'It's a Sin' that saw the stage bathed in cherry-red lighting with a wall panel of aluminum blinds. That was followed by an energetic, but very quick, run-through of 'Domino Dancing' as the audience chanted the chorus; meanwhile, the group was decked out in bright orange suits with matching dunce hats.

The main set concluded with a song that Tennant introduced by saying, 'You probably know this one, too.' It was the pair's electro spin on Brenda Lee's 'Always on My Mind,' later recorded by Willie Nelson, which became an international smash for the Pet Shop Boys. For an encore, they played another biggie from their 27-year catalog, 'Go West.' Again, fans sang the chorus loudly and danced furiously on the theater floor. 'Vocal,' off the Electric release, closed out the show, clocking in at an hour and 45 minutes.

Although the Pet Shop Boys mixed their set list with old and new songs, there were some notable omissions, such as 'What Have I Done to Deserve This,' 'Heart,' 'Being Boring,' and 'New York City Boy.' But overall, they delivered a concert that was nothing short of entertaining, if not exciting. They haven't gone soft on their electronic sound, either. There was a deep, penetrating, and club-like atmosphere quality to their music, as if they were playing to a packed, intimate Crowbar in New York City instead of a vintage theater in downtown Seattle.

Approaching a three-decade career milestone, Pet Shop Boys aren't just reinventing themselves, they're reinventing a genre they helped cultivate. And, as evidenced this week, they've still got plenty of star power left in the tank.

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