Although I wouldn't put myself up there with the real fans I am aware that over the last twenty-five years the Pet Shop Boys have been the soundtrack, to some extent, of my life as a Dad. In the 80s, as West End Girls caught my attention (they played it last night in Cardiff as a second encore), they were the sort of band who were the guests on children's TV shows. I think their first album was the first album my oldest ever bought, or got as a present.
When the format of the band is a guy who sings (and if the truth be told, I find Neil Tennant's voice good for one or two tunes but begins to fade on me after half an hour) and Chris Lowe who plays simple keyboards and presses lots of buttons, a live show needs some work. Boy, do they work it.
Four outstandingly talented individuals, performing anonymously with coloured boxes on their heads for the first half of the show, dance, sing, mime, body-pop and re-arrange the set. The 'set' is a selection of white coloured boxes which are projected on, stood on and flung at each other. Stage hands in lab coats and hard hats add to the mix. Towards the end of the show a second wall of boxes, seemingly fixed up to that point, is animated by wires and the strobe-like projection onto a 3D wall creates an altogether remarkable effect.
They did have some new tunes to me but most of the time it was 'Oh I remember this one' time. Had some difficulty during 'Go West' deciding whether to sing 'Go West (Bromwich Albion)' or 'Stand up if you hate the Wolves.' Great tunes become football chants.
Earlier Sophie Ellis-Bextor had warmed us up. She is tall and elegant and chose the sort of black dress the lasses in River Dance wear. Not sure she quite had the moves or personality to fill an arena though. She trundled through a dance/pop set aided by a fantastic session band who didn't seem that excited. But it was perfectly acceptable support and it was good to re-encounter Murder on the Dance Floor and the old Spiller song Groovejet (If This ain't Love).