The Pet Shop Boys’ first American tour is an occasion for much anticipation and no little trepidation. Ned Tennant and Chris Lowe are a pair of extremely affected Britons (Tennant used to be the editor of England’s Smash Hits) who create a shimmering, distinctive breed of Eurodisco; part of their shtick is avoiding stages as much as possible, venturing out only for outlandishly tacky TV shows or extremely inappropriate one-offs (their one previous American gig was opening a Depeche Mode show at the LA Coliseum). The anticipation is natural: The pair’s five albums are extended essays on sex as commerce, politics as commerce, love as commerce, and shopping. Particularly on their second album, the brilliant Actually, they commit both the fecklessness and the intoxicating charm of decadence to vinyl (aluminum plating, I guess I should say) like no one else–Neil Tennant makes Bryan Ferry look like a country mouse. The trepidation? The reason for it is right there in the ads: “A multimedia concert extravaganza with spectacular dancers and exotic costumes.” You don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Not to be missed. Thursday, 7:30 PM, Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State; 443-1130.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/George Hurrell.