With wardrobe changes, lasers, dances and video backdrops, Pet Shop Boys played a well-paced and smartly executed show at the Paramount on October 2nd. The London duo reached deep into its gigantic catalog, still skipping some albums entirely, and bookending with songs off 2013’s Electric. A surprise for me was, along with the dancers (I’ll get to them in a minute), the inclusion of so many older Pet Shop Boys songs. They chose wisely with the mega-hits “West End Girls,” “Domino Dancing,” (where every single person sang along) ” Rent” and “I Get Excited (You Get Excited Too). The latter song is one I didn’t think to hear live – it’s a fantastic piece I was thrilled to hear. That Pet Shop Boys’ “earlier” material stands up so well, and from a band who has a song called “Your Early Stuff,” is all about the songwriting. The songwriting was sharp, and has remained so. Their music is always so accessible.
As a live act, they know how to put on a show. Whether that spectacle detracts from an audience member’s attention to the music depends on the individual. Singer Neil Tennant and keyboardist Chris Lowe appeared in conical hats, then changed into tops that seemed to be made of licorice strings. Then came the two awesome dancers, who wore antlers and masks. The dancers continued to appear for songs, in different outfits; one number had them on stilts and dressed in long black clothes.
Pet Shop Boys have written some of my favorite songs, such as “Rent,” another one that was nicely chosen for the Seattle show. Tennant’s vocals were on-target, and the show went by so fast. That means it was excellent.