Music review: The Pet Shop Boys

Despite being a categorical statement of fact, it's hard to believe that Neil Tennant is 62. Think about that for too long and your mind may explode.

The Pet Shop Boys' stage show is dazzling
The Pet Shop Boys' stage show is dazzling

SEC Armadillo, Glasgow ****

Prosaic human activities such as ageing don’t seem to fit within the carefully constructed, hyperreal image of The Pet Shop Boys, an aesthetic so indelibly forged over their 36-year career you’d be forgiven for always picturing them as the young, deadpan urbanites from the West End Girls video.

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And yet, as evinced by this glorious live performance, age hasn’t dimmed Tennant and musical partner Chris Lowe’s spirit in the slightest. Indeed, it actually adds another touching layer of melancholy to their unique brand of triumphantly wistful electro-pop.

With so many classics to their name, they could easily coast along as a nostalgia act. But PSB have more dignity than that. What’s more, they haven’t lost their gift for writing instantly memorable pop songs. The current set is primarily focused on material from their post-1990s hit-making phase, but doesn’t suffer as a result.

Backed by two percussionists and a violinist/keyboardist, they began in relatively subdued fashion. But just when you thought they’d mellowed, their theatrical flair gradually revealed itself in highly entertaining style.

Strobing disco lights and lasers jostled with euphoric house beats, elegant video imagery and a fine array of silly hats. The cumulative effect was utterly charming.

Tennant’s smile following a singalong climax of Domino Dancing and Always on My Mind spoke volumes. PSB are still a beloved, vital treasure.