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Review: Pet Shop Boys @ Terminal 5 4.26.14

Pet Shop Boys 2014

"Tonight, I've been walking in the rain," sings Pet Shop Boys frontman Neil Tennant during the track "One More Chance", and the sold out crowd at Terminal 5 could easily relate to that statement. A week before their NYC gig, the UK synthpop duo were basking in the warm sun during their second weekend at the Coachella Music Festival. The damp weather didn't put a damper on anyone's spirits, though. The crowd, which consisted of mostly older folks, made their way inside the venue with a hefty amount of house music playing in the monitors. Pet Shop Boys' last appearance in New York City featured two sold out gigs at the legendary Beacon Theater last September. Obviously, tickets for the Terminal 5 show went very fast.

Pet Shop Boys have done it all in their career: awards from all over the world, numerous albums debuting in the top of the U.K. charts, sold out shows at every turn, and the distinct title of "most successful duo in U.K. music history" from Guinness World Records. With their latest album Electric, the duo managed to create something that can attract the younger generation of electronic music completely enamored with current electronic acts like Avicii and Deadmau5 while still giving their older fans something to cherish.

Unlike their last U.S. trek, Pet Shop Boys didn't bring any opening acts with them. That probably sat well with a lot of their fans that just wanted to get things rolling. This obviously equated to a lengthy line to get inside. While the flier stated that the U.K. act would arrive on stage at 9pm, Neil and keyboardist Chris Lowe came on stage fashionably late at 9:10pm wearing pointy black hats and bristled black jackets during the opening track "Axis" from their aformentioned latest release. The duo stayed behind the somewhat transparent curtain until "Opportunities (Let's Make Lots Of Money)". As the curtain fell to the stage, the roar from the crowd almost drowned out the music. Neil's demeanor on stage was very suave and genuine. As most Pet Shop Boys fans can vouch, Lowe's presence wasn't as enthusiastic as Neil's, especially with his robotic head turns during the track "Love Etc.", but the man let his fingers do the talking that night.

The duo visited their 2006 album Fundamental for a bit with a back to back combo of "Fugitive" and "Integral". With 12 albums under their belt, it can become a pain to curate a setlist to cover a vast spectrum of material.  Fans who wanted to dance to songs from 1990's Behaviour, 1996's Bilingual, 1999's Nightlife, and 2002's Release were sadly disappointed, but there were probably a scarce amount of those who even cared to notice.

"That one's for you, New York," stated Neil after fan favorite "West End Girls", a track which was originally recorded at NYC's legendary Unique Studios back in 1984 and inspired by legendary NYC rapper Grandmaster Flash's song "The Message". Even though the track was created by two gentlemen from the UK, it will forever be considered a part of the Big Apple's soundtrack; you can't help but hear it in your head every time you casually stroll through the city late at night.

While U.K. rapper/singer-songwriter Example wasn't present to drop his lines in the track "Thursday", he showed up via video to run through his section without fail mainly because it was, you know, recorded.

Pet Shop Boys' music has been the soundtrack to several parties as well as personal trials and tribulations for over 30 years, and it's not hard to see why they have such a dedicated fanbase. With every song, fans in attendance reminisced about particular moments that will forever be intertwined with the music; during "Miracles", one excited male fan screamed, "This song means everything."

Even though Pet Shop Boys clearly had enough energy between the two of them, it didn't stop them from inviting some dancers to help shake things up a bit. Whether they were emulating Beyonce with cow skulls on their heads or displaying eloquent ballroom dancing during the cover of Leonard Bernstein's "Somewhere" , the duo overshadowed the electronic act on a few occasions. The highlight of the night was their choreography for the Brenda Lee cover "Always On My Mind". The dancers gave life to every word sung with a grand visual presentation capped off with a massive confetti shower.

If there is any sort of bar that strictly plays electronic music, Pet Shop Boys' cover of The Village People's "Go West" would be the absolute go-to song for drunken sing alongs. 3,000 people packed inside the venue agreed wholeheartedly as they barked out "together" and "go west" with the strongest effort.  Halfway through their final song "Vocal", Neil and Chris, along with the dancers, exited the stage after a 95 minute set with the rest of the track still blaring on the monitors. It didn't halt the crowd and their steadily moving feet. It was just another day in the office for Pet Shop Boys. (Terrance Pryor)