Pet Shop Boys | First Direct Arena | Leeds | 18 February 2017

Fresh from receiving their “Godlike Geniuses” award from Johnny Marr at last week’s NME awards, the kings of synth-pop Pet Shop Boys opened the UK leg of their “Super Tour” at Leeds Arena on Saturday. With a long and impressive catalogue of perfect pop hits combined with theatrical, often bizarre stage shows a great evening’s entertainment was promised and Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe duly delivered.

“Super” is an intelligent, reflective set of songs, and the duo started the evening with “Inner Sanctum”, emerging from two large white globes adorned with nutty headgear - Tennant’s face visible, Lowe’s hidden - to take their places at microphone and keyboards respectively.

“Opportunities” followed and led into “The Pop Kids”, one of the highlights from “Super”. This affectionate look back at university days by two old disco/clubbing friends who “loved the pop hits and quoted the best bits” comfortably matched any of the group’s past hits and belied any suggestion that the group are primarily a nostalgia act. Let’s face it, any group that can forego playing hits like “Rent”, “Being Boring”, “Suburbia” and “What I Have Done To Deserve This” cannot be accused of being over-reliant on past successes.

Throughout the show, oldies like “In The Night” took their place alongside new songs such as the vibrant “Burn” during which the duo dispensed with their helmets and were joined by three additional musicians on percussion, keyboards and backing vocals.

The set did include a couple of weak spots where the pace flagged a little, particularly during “Se A Vida É” and “The Dictator Decides”, but these minor grumbles aside it was a winning start to the tour.

Closing the set with a run of “It’s A Sin”, “Left To My Own Devices”, “Go West”, “Domino Dancing”, Always On My Mind” meant the crowd had the perfect excuse to dance themselves crazy before heading into the night. As you would expect, with a set and visuals designed by Es Devlin, the show was as visually enthralling as usual, with no shortage of lasers, whirling lights and videos of geometric shapes behind the band and the show benefited from not including as much choreography as I’ve seen them use on previous tours.

The UK tour continues throughout February with additional dates during June in Blackpool and Nottingham and the group will perform at Northumberland’s Festival On The Wall this August, a new “boutique” event which promises to be a welcome addition to the festival calendar.

Setlist: Inner Sanctum / Opportunities / The Pop Kids / In the Night / Burn / Love Is a Bourgeois Construct / New York City Boy / Se A Vida É (That's The Way Life Is) / Love Comes Quickly / Love Etc. / The Dictator Decides / Inside a Dream / West End Girls / Winner / Home and Dry / The Enigma / Vocal / The Sodom and Gomorrah Show / It's a Sin / Left to My Own Devices / Go West / Domino Dancing / Always on My Mind


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