Pet Shop Boys Come West

Date: October 5, 2013
City: Oakland, CA
Venue: Fox Theater
Artist: Pet Shop Boys
Opening Act(s): Jacques Lu Cont

Pet Shop Boys

The first song that immediately comes to mind when I think of Pet Shop Boys is “West End Girls”. This song came out when I was in junior high. Every time I hear the lyric “If, when, why, what? How much have you got?” I am immediately transported back to a friend’s suburban singing along.

Pet Shop Boys started the show with “Axis” behind a screen that projected their shadows from behind. The screen was still up when the second song started. This concerned me a little because I was worried that they might do the entire show behind the screen. Thankfully soon into the second song the screen came down and we could see Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe. The crowd went crazy.

Neil Tennant’s voice has not changed. He sounded just like their albums but it was obvious that he was singing live. They had great outfits too. The first outfit was a spiky black jacket. I would love to know what the material was. It looked like simple black garbage bags, but I’m sure it was something ridiculously expensive. They also wore metal animal horns covering their heads, bright orange suits and even a disco ball ‘helmet’.

They performed new songs and several of their classic hits including “West End Girls”, “It’s a Sin”, “Always on My Mind”, “Suburbia”, “Rent”, “I Wouldn’t Normally Do This Kind of Thing”, “Go West” and “Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money)”. The only classic they didn’t sing was “What Have I Done To Deserve This”, but I didn’t even notice until the next day. They also had dancers that performed most of the time with their heads covered by something whether it be bull heads or orange Koosh balls. Even though they were excellent dancers it looked like they were having more fun on stage than most back up dancers I’ve seen. Bottom line is this show was amazing.

Jacques Lu Cont, a DJ from the UK, opened up the show. He has worked with a lot of high profile artists including Pet Shop Boys. The hour he performed was a painful one. I could only see a couple of people on the floor dancing. My friend and I went into the Mezzanine lobby half way through his set to get a drink and saw several people hanging out waiting for the DJ set to be over. Not a good opening act choice. He should stick to performing for people that only want to see DJ sets. This crowd was looking forward to seeing Neil Tennant sing.

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