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The Pet Shop Boys – The Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, Toronto – November 6, 2016



By Robyn Crosby


The Pet Shop Boys returned to Toronto this past Sunday evening, with The SUPER Tour at The Sony Centre for the Performing Arts.  The tour supports the album of the same name released in April this year; it’s the duo’s 13th studio album.

Time has not changed the 80’s duo signature sound.  Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe’s new music mixes in perfectly with their extensive library of electro-synth pop.  They played hits like “West End Girls”, “Go West”, “Domino Dancing” and “Always On My Mind”.  Absent from the hit list was “What Have I Done To Deserve This”, but the show was not about their hits.  The 23-song set was full of new music and songs from all their albums.  They played 6 songs from Super.  “Pop Kids” and “Burn” were two songs that stood out. Both had that high BPM infectious energy the group is known for.  The anthem-like song “Pop Kids” celebrates a young love of pop music.  And “Burn”, a new age disco tune, is about dancing all night long.

Tennant and Lowe had the crowd standing on their feet instantaneously. And for the most part, they never sat.  One small exception was during a slower song called “Winner”.   After the start of the show two percussionists and a keyboard player joined them on stage, adding vocals periodically.  With the songs sweeping from one to the other, the crowd never stopped clapping and served as extra percussionists, really.  During the encore and “Domino Dancing” you could hear the “All day All day” loudly.

It would be amiss to say that the lighting was its own star in the show, but it did play a big role, apart from the anticipated electro beats, the glitz of shimmering jackets and futuristic headgear flare.  The venue was quite literally transformed into what could be described as a nightclub on the Vegas strip, all by way of lighting and stunning visuals. It was actually hard to snap a good photo with all that was going on. Floodlights, beams, side lighting, strobes – the set up was incredible and bar none.   So much happened video wise – from a Rubik cube inspired backdrop to a beach setting complete with complementary lighting for “Home and Dry”.  Things went back to a major dance club vibes again with pulsating strobe lights for “Vocal”, which was likely the most visually intense portion of the show.  Later on, paper lanterns appeared but it was hard to tell if they were real versus projected since so much was portrayed so well via video screen.

The Sony Centre was “lit” as they say, both figuratively and quite literally.  With a few tickets sold at the door, the sold-out show was one for the record books.  If you like to have fun and dance at all, get yourself to a Pet Shop Boys show!  In the meantime, listen to Pet Shop Boy’s The SUPER Tour Playlist here.  Turn the strobe light on your smartphone on and clear some space in the living room, because you’re going to dance! (“The Enigma” is absent from the playlist, not found on Spotify)