Electric Pet Shop Boys Poster in Hong Kong
On a recent trip to Hong Kong, I had the pleasure of seeing the Pet Shop Boys live. I had never seen them live. Now that I have I feel that it is only when one sees them live that one can appreciate the full spectrum of the experience that is the Pet Shop Boys. For to listen to their music without the visuals that accompany it is akin to watching an opera with one’s eyes closed. Of course it is possible to enjoy it, but the full story only unfolds when one’s eyes are open.
Zaha Hadid’s Design for the Pet Shop Boys, 1999
I was told by my trusty companion (my husband) that this particular concert had a lower budget than past concerts, so I can only imagine how visually spectacular those were. Of course, I was always curious about Zaha’s work for the Pet Shop Boys. And it has always been obvious to me that graphics are important to the PSB. Any album cover shows that. But what really intrigued me most about this concert were the extremely high quality motion graphics and the way they were all perfectly synchronised and choreographed with all other aspects of the performance. The show revealed the intense ambition of the PSB, not to be ‘popular’ necessarily, but to be true to their aesthetic in everything they do. (Any hardcore Pet Shop Boys fan would know more about this than I do.) Their aesthetic was everywhere; in the lighting, the dancers, the voices, the keyboards, and the aforementioned motion graphics. Never before had I seen such a commitment to an aesthetic and it was truly inspiring.
Pet Shop Boys – Electric Concert
I have seen motion graphics accompany theatre and dance in recent times and I have never been convinced by them. But these graphics were different. They revealed more about the music and the makers of the music. They weren’t there to make the PSB ‘seem current’ for they have been doing this for a very long time. And it all makes me want to be truer to my aesthetic as well as revisit experiments with motion graphics.
It’s always great to see great collaborations between creative people and the creative minds of Es Devlin, Rob Sinclair and Treatment Studios working with the Pet Shop Boys and their dancers achieved creative perfection or at least something very close to it.
Electric – Pet Shop Boys Album Cover