ABBA Voyage and Pet Shop Boys' Dreamworld had the tears flowing but what songs make you cry?
In 1980, if anyone had told me I’d be watching Pet Shop Boys and ABBA in concert on consecutive nights in 2022, well, I would have been sceptical. Yet last week, there we were, super troopers one and all, never being boring.
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I never saw ABBA live first time around, to be honest, I still haven't - ABBAtars don't really count. But they are the next best thing, especially as for the best part of 100 minutes the technology that brings the virtual Agnetha, Benny, Bjorn and Anni-Frid to life in ABBA Voyage effortlessly tricks the senses into believing these digital creations are indeed real.
Pet Shop Boys, on the other hand, are still very real. I've lost track of the number of times I've seen them in action or enjoyed one of their many side-projects. At Glasgow on Sunday, a crowd of around 12,000 arrived to join them in their Dreamworld, a greatest hits tour, but how do you choose what to perform from a 40 year back catalogue when you have just 100 minutes to do so - 100 minutes seem to be a popular set length these days and, without an interval, is perfect whether standing or sitting.
Choosing to close their show with Being Boring brought a nostalgia and memory fuelled night to an emotional end, the lyrics taking on particular poignancy as footage of a youthful Tennant and Lowe appeared on screens behind them.
If music has the power to move and nostalgia to inspire by encouraging a sense of meaningfulness and optimism, combined there is no doubt they lift the spirits in a way very little else can.
Consequently, it is not unusual to witness tears at gig, especially those by acts with a long legacy. Not the frenzied tears of hysteria that met the likes of the Bay City Rollers and Beatles back in the day, but tears often accompanied by a wistful smile. Such were evident at both ABBA Voyage and Dreamworld, although perhaps not quite as much as they were recently, when Gary Barlow brought A Different Stage to the Royal Lyceum.
Just one sung note from the Take That star was all it took to reduce many women of a certain age in the audience to nothing more than blubbering messes.
It's strange too that it's not always the song you expect to leave you in bits that does the damage, some just connect on the night, sneaking up in stealth mode to take you by surprise.
ABBA Voyage particularly had moments of sensory overload, when the memories evoked by the lyrics and music just unlocked the floodgates, Pet Shop Boys' Being Boring likewise has always been a melancholy that can easily triggers the tears.
I remember watching the audiences that attended I Ran With the Gang, my musical telling the life story of Alan Longmuir, the original Bay City Roller, and seeing fifty and sixty-somethings revert to the teenagers they had been when they first heard the likes of Summerlove Sensation or Saturday Night - they were transported to a more carefree time when life was more simple, that is the power of any music you grow up with, whether Beethoven, Beatles or Bananarama.It's hard not to become emotional when you're listening to the soundtrack of your life.
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