Pet Shop Boys/Pandemonium [Live At The O2 Arena, London 21 December 2009


Pandemonium Live

Pandemonium (full title: Pandemonium Live, The O2 Arena, London, 21 December, 2009) is a live album recorded by British pop duo Pet Shop Boys, released on 15 February 2010 as a CD/DVD combo[1]. As indicated in its title, it is a recording of a live concert at the O2 Arena in London, on 21 December 2009, during the Pandemonium Tour.

The DVD includes the full Pandemonium show filmed by David Barnard. The sound has been mixed for DVD by Dave Woolley. The CD includes 17 songs from the show and has been mixed by Stuart Price.

More Than A Dream/Heart—-As usual, the Boys produce a grand entrance for the beginning of this mammoth show…the synths are gentle and the crowd is anxious. when you hear the gentle introduction of Neil’s voice and the beginning refrain of ‘Heart’, the crowd goes just a bit more mad. When the song finally produces the Boys live and in person the gratitude fills the arena. Seeing the Boys is something of a spectacle…much like the theatre…this seems like it was no exception. This is a wonderful taste of the past!

Did You See Me Coming?—-One of the best and my favorite tracks from the Yes release, this live rendition only further proves that this world-wide smash duo has this performance thing down to a science. Every note and every word is crystal…like listening to the song in your living room with 10,000 of your closet friends. This is so light and airy…I fall in love everytime I hear it…marvellous!!!

Pandemonium/Can You Forgive Her?—-There are not too many PSB songs that get on my nerves…this happens to be one of them. I kind of like this version though…pumped up and delivered with a nice thumping bass, the mix of Pandemonium and Can You Forgive Her was a brilliant idea…it is amazing how seamlessly the two songs merge with each other. If you have not heard Pandemonium…you must check it out…this is brilliant!!!

Love Etc.—-Just brilliant!!!! With no in-between song banter, the Boys move from song to song at an incredible pace. This plays live so damn well…I’m still not sure why or how I missed this tour. This is wonderful…the backup singers are just as important as the duo themselves…I’m surprised that I have not heard the familiar voice of Sylvia thus far? This plays so well live and it is easy to imagine Chris standing at his keyboard…unmoving and emotionless behind the huge synths that he produces…this is fabulous!!!

Go West—-Yet another huge seamless transition, it is surprising to me that Neil has been so quiet for this show. Giving huge amounts of royalties to The Village People, this song is brilliant live…I know I have been there and the feeling of this song…with it’s slight melancholy feel is wonderful live. The backdrop singers add so much to the song…Neil sounds incredibly comfortable..the song plays so well. The sadness that runs through the background is overwhelming. Remarkable!!!

Two Divided By Zero—-Travelling back to 1986 and the second release from the duo, the remarkable thing is that this still sounds amazingly fresh and new. The new technology allows Chris to add even more synth effects to the mix and the crowd goes literally nuts for this song. This is amazing…all of the vocoder effects give the track a huge new Millenium sound. This is triumphant!!!

Why Don’t We Live Together—-Again, delivering a lesser known track. this seems to be a show truly geared to The Petheads that flock to the London shows every time this duo performs. Appearing seamlessly from the previous track, the crowd barely has a moment to breathe between songs. This is another brilliant idea…the boys have a way with shows and live arrangements that have always made the live shows a treat…this is no exception. Combining subtle snippets from Opportunities and In The Night all in one song, people get a bit of everything from this huge conglomeration. Fantastic!!!

New York City Boy—-Delivering one of the duo’s biggest hits, this is the epitome of the Boy’s sound. Live this is a treat…the entire crowd knows every word and every note. Neil has a way of delivering his vocal that  makes even a straight man swoon. This is masterful…this is for every boy…those coming out…those who love music…those who are searching…those who need. Brilliant!!!

Always On My Mind—-If you have never had the joy of seeing the Boys live, this is always the centerpiece of their show and the one that draws the largest crowd response. This is a huge masterful rendition of the country classic set to synth pop that just makes you burst with joy. It is almost impossible to explain how the entire crowd turns into a huge sea of movement when the intro to this song is played. This is a spectacle, a joy and a marvel….bloody marvelous!!!

Closer To Heaven/Left To My Own Devices—-Remarkable merging two songs from two different eras, the duo manage with little problem. Closer To Heaven…a huge synth orchestration that allows Tennant to sound remarkably comfortable…Left To My Own Devices explores a bit more of the Acid House movement that was going on at the time. The two songs come together and create a huge mix of wonderful Synth Pop that will never be repeated by anyone anywhere. Genius!!!

Do I Have To?—-Traveling back in time to allow one of the bands more melancholy singles, this is always a nice cool down after a string of high powered synth hits. The crowd seems to welcome the breathing room and Tennant…who has been singing for the last 45 minutes non-stop seems to welcome the slower pace as well. The delivery is even better than the original…this is so mellow and full of emotion that you find magical tears in your eyes. This is a song every man/woman can relate to. Freakin’ wonderful.

King’s Cross—-Continuing in the same vein, the Boy’s pull out this classic that is barely played live. This is a treat. The mood is so somber and mellow…you wonder if this is just to give Neil a bit of a break. This is wonderful…that remarkable low hum that runs through these songs, that I have mentioned so often, is in full force her. This is magical.

Suburbia—-Going back to 1984, the boys pull out this classic that has never, ever grown old for me. This still has a magic about it that is amplified by updated synths and new technology. The Boys have never…ever….let me down. This show is no exception. This is incredible!!!

Se A Vida E/Discoteca/Domino Dancing/Viva La Vida—-Wow…..what a huge and satisfying conglomeration. This is truly remarkable….Delivering Se A Vida E alone is a triumph…never have I heard a song more empowering or laden with synths that makes me feel happier…Neil sounds incredible…transitioning to Discoteca…the Brazilian experimental period of the band is genius and mixing it with the HUGE Domino Dancing is brilliant….mixing in the Coldplay classic is like icing on the cake…..this is the best thing I have ever heard!!! OMG!!!

It’s A Sin—-The synths on this track are so huge and this live rendition finds Neil delivering a vocal that is almost better than the original version. This is masterful…singing without the benefit of lots of back up singers or granduer, Neil allows you to feel the pain and the confusion that was experienced at the time of the writing of this song. This is brilliant!!!

Being Boring—-Another truly emotional song fron the duo, this always reminds me of the continuing crises that we have in our world. People have taken on a pretty lacksadasical approach to the AIDS crisis….thinking new medicines and therapies have erased the emergency…the important thing to remember is that people in your small town and large sity are still dying every day from this illness…songs and repetitive playing remids us that this has not gone away…we live with an epidemic…..some of us more than others.

West End Girls—-Saving the largest classic for last, the Boys deliver a blistering and nicely updated version of the classic. The synths that Lowe delivers are incredible…the crowd reaction is almost one of relief. You must imagine that the duo are truly sick of preforming this track, but they do it none the less with just as much vigor and enthusiasm and vigor as if it were the first time. This is wonderful.

***** out of 5 [!!!!!]

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