You Missed It: Pet Shop Boys electrify Portland

Only the soulless are incapable of appreciating the Pet Shop Boys. Even my most macho friends have admitted to liking the Pet Shop Boys’ heart-wrenching and sometimes satirical lyrics and stellar programming. If you’ve ever had a human experience, you can relate to their songs.

After 32 years, the Pet Shop Boys finally played in Portland for their Electric tour. Before the end of the show, vocalist Neil Tennatt promised the Pet Shop Boys would return. We can only hope.

I saw the Pet Shop Boys in Miami during the Fundamental tour in 2006. I’ve always loved them, but after seeing them live I’ve decided they are not just one of my favorite bands of all time, but my favorite band of all time, period. Seeing them play again, this time in Portland, reinforced their number-one spot in my heart.

What I noticed the most this time around was how the Pet Shop Boys updated all of their classic hits. They upgraded the backbeats with modern electronic drum sounds, which added a futuristic feel that, surprisingly, worked. I’ve heard other bands attempt this technique, and it usually fails. But not with the Pet Shop Boys, thanks to arranger and programmer Chris Lowe.

When they return, buy your ticket as soon as they go on sale. Get up close so as not to miss the intricate costume design and theatrics. To give you a slight idea, this time around some of the aesthetics resembled a cross between Dadaism and black metal—they emerged with towering black cone hats and gratuitously spiked jackets. Their dancers wore the same bull skull featured in the music video for “Axis,” which I theorize has something to do with the Babylonian goddess of love and war, Ishtar.

Petheads Karen Bogdonavich and Andrew Bogdonavich traveled from Corvallis to see the show. Check out this spontaneous interview with them after the performance at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall on Oct. 4:

For more Pet Shop Boys Online Visit:

The fan video of one of the first songs they played at the recent Portland show, “Fugitive”:

or the fan video for “Integral”: