Gig review: Pet Shop Boys, Glasgow

Neil Tennant, above, and Chris Lowe make judicious use of simple but flexible set and lighting designs. Picture: Jane Barlow

Neil Tennant, above, and Chris Lowe make judicious use of simple but flexible set and lighting designs. Picture: Jane Barlow

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Art, pop and theatre came together once again with seamless economy on the Pet Shop Boys latest high concept tour.

Pet Shop Boys - Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow

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While other arena pop acts choose to throw everything – within budget reason – at the stage, creating maximalist extravaganzas and spectacular set-pieces, the unassuming yet ambitious Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe make judicious, classy, humorous, immersive and focused use of filmed backdrops, simple but flexible set and lighting design, eccentric costumes and innovative choreography to complement their much-loved synth pop back catalogue.

The Electric Tour colour palette ranged from muted browns to fluorescent orange, punctuated at points by gorgeous fronds of green and red lasers which caressed the crowd. The costumes were sculptural and faintly ridiculous, with Tennant and Lowe sporting a range of outlandish headgear and their two terrific dancers prancing around as pagan deities with horse skulls and feather cuts finger-popping to Suburbia.

Yet the songs remained the star attractions, with Tennant’s reedy tenor again an unexpected strength, particularly on the more yearning likes of Rent and the precise pop perfection of I’m Not Scared. Elsewhere, the serious early 80s-influenced bass music of Fluorescent and euphoric house finale of Vocal flaunted their dancefloor credentials, while the confidently camp Go West, It’s A Sin and a hi-energy version of Somewhere from West Side Story were pure playful entertainment.

Seen on 05.09.14

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