Edinburgh's Hogmanay review: Concert in the Gardens: Pet Shop Boys, Princes Street Gardens

From sublime pop opening to clubby crescendo, the Pet Shop Boys delivered the perfect performance for Hogmanay, writes David Pollock

Concert in the Gardens: Pet Shop Boys, Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh *****

At last, three years after Edinburgh’s last Street Party and Concert in the Gardens were held, they returned with the perfect headliner. The Pet Shop Boys feel like they’ve been elevated from national music treasure to true international pop royalty status in 2022, touring the US with New Order and beginning their own Dreamworld greatest hits tour, of which this was 2022’s final performance and 2023’s first.

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The Pet Shops were something for everyone. At first, playing Suburbia under streetlamps while dressed in insect-like silver facemasks, Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe produced arena art-pop; Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, scripted by John Osborne with Beyonce or Rihanna production values. When the masks came off after Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money), the pre-Bells segment of their set toured their sublime pop archive, including Rent, Left to My Own Devices, Domino Dancing and the understated Love Comes Quickly.

The Pet Shop Boys headlined Edinburgh's Hogmanay as it returned for the first time since 2019

They were joined by a full band and increasingly elaborate visuals, giving Lowe’s electronic arrangements added analogue drive, especially during the clubby crescendo of the post-midnight half; Heart, It’s Alright, It’s a Sin and West End Girls, ending on the anthemic Being Boring.

“A night of music and memory” Tennant promised as the show began – it was the right occasion, and it did the job perfectly.