Thursday, November 9, 2006

"We are still... the Pet Shop Boys"

That's what Neil Tennant (on the left) said at the conclusion of their concert yesterday at the Wiltern Theater. Chris Lowe (on the right) was silent most of the night, marking his genius at the keyboard while wearing the exact same neon yellow hoodie and shades pictured above.

Not only are they still the Pet Shop Boys, but they are still very cool. The concert was amazing and they are awesome live. I swear, Neil's vocals sound just like they do on their cds! Thankfully, they played many of their old hits and we went crazy. It was really wonderful.

Lady Pun and I decided to go last minute. Thanks to Jane, we were fortunate to get discount tickets ($15 plus surcharges... original price was $65!). With the discount, it was even more worthwhile.

Yes, they are old. They don't look like this anymore, actually:

They can no longer prance around like they did back in the day, nor partake in any theatrics. And the audience was old, which made me think of my own fleeting youth...

But I actually think they are way cooler now... instead of prancing around themselves, they hired gorgeous gay men to prance on stage for them! Now that's hot. The dancers and back-up singers wore a multitude of lavish costumes that ranged from urban couture to head-to-toe white jumpers to sparkly golden cowboy outfits to flashy naval uniforms... there were at least 2 costume changes with each song.

Unfortunately, no one else in the theater (occupied only by gay white men and Asian people) dressed up for the ultimate new wave electro pop concert of the year except for the Pet Shop Boys, their dancers, and us:

Dude, we could pass for the Asian version of the West End Girls, a tribute band for the Pet Shop Boys. Perhaps we should call ourselves the East End Girls?

This young Swedish duo (only 17 years old!) sing only cover songs from Pet Shop Boys albums.

Although Joe introduced me to the West End Girls, the first time time I heard of tribute bands was when I read Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs. Author Chuck Klosterman, who was my hero for a minute (he did not have lasting power over me, unlike Gandhi), toured with Paradise City, a tribute band for Guns N' Roses. It wasn't until I read Chuck's book did I learn that most well-known singers and bands have a following of impersonators who make a pretty decent living singing the songs of the original performers.

Chuck describes these impersonators perfectly: These bands are mired in obsurity and engaged in a bizarrely postmodern zero sum game. If a tribute band were to completely succeed, its members would no longer have personalities. They would have no character whatsoever, beyond the qualities of whomever they tried to emulate. The goal is not to be somebody; the goal is to be somebody else.

Well-written, Chuck. That's why you were my hero for like two minutes. The Pet Shop Boys, on the other hand, have earned my loyalty. I am a fan for life.

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