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Live review: Pet Shop Boys & Johnny Marr – the Record Collector edit

The June 2017 edition of Record Collector – issue #467 – has hit the the news stands and apps, and features a truncated version of a show I recently caught in London.

I posted the full length copy on this very website at the time, but here’s the final edit as emailed to the magazine. Note how the RC sub-editors decided my summing up was little too harsh. Harsh, moi? Surely some mistake…

Pet Shop Boys & Johnny Marr, London Royal Albert Hall, April 2

Johnny Marr and Debussy to a disco beat.

Although PSB and Johnny Marr have an intermittent recording history that goes back over 25 years, this is, somewhat surprisingly, only the second time the godlike guitar man has guested for the dynamic duo in concert form.

The first time was for the BBC in 2012, and this Teenage Cancer Trust funding symphonic show, ably assisted by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, leant heavily on the set list for the former.

Unfortunately that means this one-off is strangely skewed in favour of that year’s dreary Elysium album and bizarrely ignored anything released since.

And of the 20 songs PSB and Johnny Marr have recorded together, precisely one was performed, although when it’s the mean and moody This Must Be The Place I Waited Years To Leave all is not lost. Other highlights included a coruscating It’s A Sin, a sublime Survivors and a magnificent Miracles. No greatest hits Pets set, thankfully, but lay off the five year old duds next time boys.

Steve Pafford

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