Words: Simon Button; Images: Phil Fisk
As Pet Shop Boys shows go, Dreamworld is pretty low-key. There are no dancers in conical hats, no boxes being dismantled, no Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe in a faux bed, nothing much in fact beyond a few costume changes (Tennant does love a raincoat), some lighting panels and a lot of projections.
Instead this is a two-hour race through their greatest hits that highlights just how prolific the twosome have been since ‘West End Girls’ hit number one in 1985, with a 26-song setlist featuring one awesome tune after another.
It starts with a thumping ‘Suburbia’ and ends with a wistful ‘Being Boring’ (dedicated somewhat oddly to those we have lost to the pandemic). Bangers like ‘Left to My Own Devices’ and ‘It’s a Sin’ sit alongside more reflective tracks like ‘You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You’re Drunk’ with Tennant surprisingly strumming a guitar.
With his distinctive voice and deadpan humour, he’s a natural frontman to Lowe’s enigmatic keyboard player and computer whizkid. The latter keeps his strange two-pronged headgear on for the first batch of songs, under street lamps that seem more trouble than they’re worth since the crew have to keep shifting them around, then retreats to the back of the stage amidst a band of electro percussionists.
In the BOY cap he first wore in the 80s, he doesn’t crack a smile when ‘West End Girls’ brings the house down.
Tennant, on the other hand, revels in anecdotes about how songs like ‘Domino Dancing’ and ‘Monkey Business’ got their names and seems thrilled that the thousands of fans from every age group and demographic know all the words to practically every track, even lesser-known ones like ‘Jealousy’.
The euphoric ‘Vocal’ with its “This is my kind of music/They play it all night long” lyric sums up the show perfectly. They give so much and leave you wanting more, and with so many hits in their arsenal it’s no wonder they’re Britain’s most successful pop duo ever.
Pet Shop Boys are touring the UK until 31 May. For more information visit petshopboys.co.uk.