Pet Shop Boys
November 10th 2016
The Pet Shop Boys are no strangers to playing famous opera houses and amphitheaters. You can now add to that list of venues, with the Boys bringing their current “Super Tour” to one of Hollywood’s original Golden Age movie theaters, The Mayo Arts Center in Morristown New Jersey. Originally built in 1937 as a movie theater during the Great Depression, its elaborate décor perfectly complimented Neil Tennant’s black tie attire. As only the Pet Shop Boys could do, they transformed the historic theater into a grand discotheque with their state of the art light show and Electric Pop beats.
What has given Neil and Chris Lowe the success of over 40 Top 30 singles and highly acclaimed concert tours has been their passion and love for their music and fashion. Always one step ahead of the day’s cutting-edge styles, and always remaining musically groundbreaking has kept their fan base growing, filling concert halls tour after tour.
The duo was introduced to the audience appearing in front of 8-foot white discs, contrasting their black suits and nest-like domed headgear. The introduction sounded to the beat of “Inner Sanctum”, from their latest release Super, and then followed by the sound that introduced them to the world, “West End Girls”. Having been to multiple Pet Shop Boys tours, there is always that special feeling when you begin to hear the opening of the universal anthem. Having this song appear between the two newest “Inner Sanctum”, and “The Pop Kids“, you get a good sense of how they have continued to compose revolutionary music.
After the first few opening songs, they were joined on stage by three very talented supporting musicians, Afrika Green (percussion and vocals), Christina Hizon (keyboards, violin, and vocals) and Simon Tellier(percussion, keyboards and vocals). Playing the role of Concertmaster, as first violist Christina lit up in solo the opening of another astounding fresh tune “Burn”. This song with its progressive percussions and ripping violin did just as the lyrics state, “We are going to burn this disco down before the morning comes” and “it feels so good”.
Like no movie screened before in this theater, the Pet Shop Boys projected a two-story dancer and disco ball as the backdrop to a song absent from their last tour, “New York City Boy”, the hit that is impossible not to dance to and succeeded in elevating the crowd to their feet.
The Pet Shop Boys catalog of songs are enough for an incredible performance, but they still choose to compliment the fan favorites with astonishing, mind-altering visual displays. Whether it is the blue beams that rained down into the hall during a moving recital of “Home and Dry” while Christina, Simon, and Afrika sang in harmony, following Neil around the stage with their heads engulfed by silver domes, or as the multi-colored beams of light ricocheted off the ornate walls and ceiling at a lightning pace during “Vocal”–the production of this show proved to be out of this world.
The stage then turned to a more sinister color scheme as the beat began to play “It’s A Sin”, with red and white lights flashing and painting the walls as the audience felt the consent to be uninhibited in dance and screams. The energy of the fire-colored lit music hall fueled the pandemonium of the crowd. The monster hit was followed by “Left to My Own Devices”, which had a new updated spin to the song, making abundant use of the extraordinary percussion of Tellier and Green, as well keyboards injected by Hizon.
Closing out the set was The Pet Shops’ smash hit version of The Village People’s “Go West”. The upbeat feeling that “Go West” left us craving for more was quickly satisfied as the encore gave us reason to leave our dancing shoes on. “Domino Dancing” and Brenda Lee’s cover of “Always on My Mind”, both from the 1988 release Introspective, allowing the party to continue as colorful balloons showered down from the balcony.
Like the Oscar-winning movies of the Golden Age shown in this theater from the past, The Super Tour show clearly also warrants such acknowledgment in achievement in entertainment and musical magic. Anxiously awaiting their next performance here in New York!