Pet Shop Boys - Manchester Apollo 12.7.02

You've got to hand it to the Pet Shop Boys. Not only are they still having hit singles and albums after all this time, but they are reinventing themselves constantly. Their West End musical "Closer To Heaven" and movie "It Couldn't Happen Here" was a brave attempt at branching out in other directions, but it's the music and outrageous videos which they're appreciated for. Their new album "Release" features a less electronic sound with Johnny Marr prominent on guitar and the closest you could ever say the PSB's have come to being, dare we say it, an indie band. Previous tours have been lavish, theatrical affairs with dancing girls and outrageous sets, but tonight it's back to basics with the music taking centre stage for a change.

Kicking off with the excellent comeback "Home & Dry" to a rapturous applause, Neil ever the confident frontman, while Chris remains almost motionless behind his synth stack with his trademark deadpan expression. ""Being Boring" and "Red Letter Day" are musical excursions through nostalgia while the new single "I Get Along" proves that they display their goods with pride. Still camping it up for the more mature clientele they run through a high energy version of "Love Comes Quickly".

They delve into their back catalogue with glee. "New York City Boy", "Domino Dancing" and their covers of "Always On My Mind" and the Village People's classic "Go West" leaving "It's A Sin" for the much anticipated encore. The standout out moment for myself was hearing "West End Girls" again, the original this time wiping away any bad memories of the dreadful cover version by East 17. Without resorting to over elaborate measures the boys still know how to put on a good show and enjoy themselves as much as us in the process. Who could ask for more?

Nicholas Paul Godkin

Post your own Pet Shop Boys reviews / comments on our Message Board