Blackpool was blitzed last night by the tidal wave of dazzling world-class theatrical pomp and musical power that is the Pet Shop Boys.
That a normal lad from Blackpool, Chris Lowe, came to be one half of the most era-defining bands of the past 30 years is a source of huge pride to many locally, and thousands of fans packed out The Empress Ballroom to welcome their musical hero home.
Just when you thought they were entering a quieter, more reflective phase with their relatively restrained 2012 album Elysium, back they come with Electric – packed full of monster pop tracks and dance beats that would not be out of place in any Ibizan superclub.
Emerging magnified and giant-like along a holographic tunnel to the thumping splendour that is Axis, a superb light display behind them, Neil Tennant and Chris cut striking figures in spiky coats and tall conical hats.
With such a glittering back catalogue to choose from, picking a setlist that pleases everyone would seem impossible. But the quality of their output remains so high that they flipped effortlessly between the new and the old, One More Chance sounding like it was written yesterday when mixed with 2012’s A Face Like That.
There was the signature eclectic mix of artistic creativity – a bizarre combination of backing dancers dressed as stags to accompany Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story love song and modern-day gay anthem, Somewhere, being a highlight. The crowd was jumping and saved its biggest cheer of the night for the 1985 debut hit West End Girls.
An electric circuit board covered the entire backdrop for the finale, a medley of some of their biggest hits which included the lyrical Rent, pumped up by a thudding bass behind it and a massive techno version of It’s a Sin, which turned the Ballroom into rave central for five minutes. Totally awesome. Throw in the pure disco energy of their cover of Always on my Mind and the masses were happy.