AS 2014 broke, it was second time lucky for seminal electro-pop duo the Pet Shop Boys, seven years on from their last aborted attempt to headline Edinburgh’s Hogmanay.
Pet Shop Boys
Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh
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Whatever they had planned and had to put in the box last time, it couldn’t have been any more spectacular than their current live show, a riot of visual tableaux and sublime sonic thrills which went beyond even their commendable recorded history.
Announced onstage by a pounding club bass and a blaze of strobing blue lasers, Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe opened on It’s a Sin, their voluminous black rubber porcupine suit jackets drawing gasps and complicit laughter from the crowd.
For an event which is all about precise, expensively-wrought spectacle for a crowd of all ages and backgrounds, it was the perfect set.
Further highlights included a quartet of suited dancers wearing primary coloured boxes on their heads amidst Rent, a pair of dancing Minotaur skeletons throughout the sublime Suburbia and the thundering samba intro to their dancefloor-ready fusion of Coldplay’s Viva La Vida and their own Domino Dancing.
That Tennant was dressed as a monarch at this point was appropriate – the Bells hadn’t even rung and we’d already seen and heard more invention than most gigs manage by the time they’re finished.
It was easy to feel sorry for Edinburgh singer Nina Nesbitt and Mancunian indie-pop group the 1975, whose job had been to warm up for them.