The Pet Shop Boys at Glastonbury 2022

June 26, 2022

For a large part of their career, The Pet Shop Boys have been about as much visual art as aural, so pity your poor scribe who rocks up in a field wondering how the fuck he’s going to describe all this… and yes, the music starts and Neil comes on stage in a white raincost and a mash which bears no relation to anything I can tell you, except he looks like a very angry tuning fork.

However, as they crack through their first few hits, we notice something… there’s just Neil. There’s a synth to his right with no one behind it, and just Neil… who announces all will become clear, and he’s going to take us into a dream world. From the Pet Shop Boys this is a cast iron guarantee.

The first step into the dream is a seamless mash up of cross era covers which have all had the Pet Shop Boys treatment so when we get into Rent everything is the same tonally, perfect match. There’s a few more tunes in this vein before a load of work’men’ in hi vis jackets and hard hats come on to move things. A screen rises… and there’s a band playing on hi tech equipment, including our missing half of the group. It’s fun… but random. Neil dashes offstage and returns in a suit jacket and white fluffy hat.

Neil confesses that this is all due to a technical hitch and we’d never have known… and he’s right, this is the Pet Shop Boys, we’d all have just assumed this was the show. Refreshingly, Domino Dancing has the sweetest, least rock star introduction ever (literally dancing about dominoes), but a bit later he’s in a tin foil raincoat, and the angry tuning fork reappears as dancing angels just as Olly Alexander comes on the stage for a welcome, but in no way surprising, guest appearance. Bizarrely, Olly seems positively normally dressed by comparison. We presume It’s A Sin is coming in minutes… but Olly disappears again. The angels strip down to Cyberpeople, another song and they’re down to sparkly figure hugging tops. It’s a relief from a health and safety perspective if nothing else.

As we near the end we Go West, then It’s A Sin which goes off spectacularly despite no Olly, before the builders are back putting the entire set back, leaving us with… questions. Neil’s soon back again in a smart, normal suit style full length jacket and we enjoy West End Girls. They finish by dedicating their last song to the victims of the hate crime at Oslo Pride and thanks us for joining them in their dreams and memories. It’s our pleasure, but a sad moment to end on.

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