Archive for the ‘Pet Shop Boys’ Category

The Battleship Potemkin, Pet Shop Boys , Swan Hunter’s shipyard, Wallsend, 1st May 2006

The Battleship Potemkin, Pet Shop Boys , Swan Hunter’s shipyard, Wallsend, 1st May 2006
Le cuirassŽ Potemkine 1925 real : Sergei Eisenstein COLLECTION CHRISTOPHELIn 2003 The Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London, asked Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe (Pet Shop Boys) to write a new score for the film The Battleship Potemkin, and perform it as a free concert in Trafalgar Square. They did so, and have performed the piece several times since, including this performance in the North East, which David and I attended in May 2006. The Battleship Potemkin is a propaganda film that tells the story of the 1905 mutiny of the Russian ship. The film is recognised as a silent classic, and is often cited as one of the greatest films of the period. I attended a film studies course at college; The Battleship Potemkin was one of the films we were shown, and I had to write an essay about it. “Battleship Potemkin is a 1925 silent film directed by Sergei Eisenstein and produced by Mosfilm. It presents a dramatized version of the mutiny that occurred in 1905 when the crew of the Russian battleship Potemkin rebelled against their officers of the Tsarist regime. Battleship Potemkin has been called one of the most influential propaganda films of all time, and was named the greatest film of all time at the Brussels World’s Fair in 1958.” (Wikipedia). potemflyerOn May 1st, 2006, Pet Shop Boys with the Northern Sinfonia performed the music with the film at a special event held at Swan Hunter’s shipyard, Wallsend, and presented by the Newcastle Gateshead Initiative. Tickets were distributed free through a ballot, and 14,000 people attended the event. The music reflected the sombre mood of the film, and used a mixture of electronica and orchestration to provide an appropriate accompaniment to the grainy images shown on the screen. It was a cold evening, and there was quite a wait before Pet Shop Boys and the film started. Then local actor Tim Healy appeared on a raised platform to the left of the stage to introduce the performance. The film’s credits rolled and the music started. This was a very different type of performance for most of the crowd, including me, and fans of Pet Shop Boys who were hoping to hear some of their many hits will have gone home disappointed; indeed we could hardly see the band, as they spent most of the evening hidden behind a screen on the dimly lit stage. potemtixThe music was mostly instrumental, although Pet Shop Boys had composed a few new songs as part of their score. It was very loud in parts, and fitted well with the film and its battle sequences. It was, as it should have been, the film which was the star of the evening. I went with David and we both agreed it was quite a strange, but ultimately fulfilling, experience. The walk down to the shipyard was marked by stickers (showing Pet Shop Boys) on the pavement; I managed to pull one up on the way home, and have pictured it here 🙂 I have also included a picture from the film The Battleship Potemkin, which is now public domain and available thanks to the Wikimedia Commons licence.
potemway NewcastleGateshead Chief Executive Andrew Dixon said when the performance was announced: “This event promises to be an amazing and unforgettable audience experience set against the striking backdrop of one of the region’s most historic and iconic symbols of its industrial roots. To use Swan Hunters as a stage set for one of the most exciting and innovative musical events of 2006 is very fitting.” Sage Gateshead performance director Simon Clugston: “To hear Northern Sinfonia perform the soundtrack to the classic film Battleship Potemkin with the Pet Shop Boys in the apt industrial setting of Swan Hunter’s shipyard will be a night to remember.”

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Take That Stadium of Light Sunderland 31 May 2011

Take That Stadium of Light Sunderland 31 May 2011
This was the second time that Marie and I have been to see Take That at the Stadium of Light, the last time being during the Circus tour of a few years ago. We were expecting a very spectacular show which would live up to their last performance here, and were also looking forward to the added extra Mr Williams having rejoined the band. As we entered the stadium we could hear special guest The Pet Shop Boys finishing their set with West End Girls. This time round we had tickets which allowed us to stand on the pitch or take a seat in the lower tier. Having arrived late, there were no seats to be had, so the pitch it was. This was OK for me, but Marie couldn’t make out much of the stage from within the vast crowd.
The set was divided into four: Four lads (no Robbie) singing reunion material; then Robbie, then stuff from the new album; and finally material from the old days. The show was pretty spectacular, and the crowd reaction as mad as ever. Robbie has an ego and confidence never seen before in a human being! and he delighted the crowd. But we both felt that overall it wasn’t quite as good as last time. Difficult to put a finger on why. Perhaps this was because we were on the pitch rather than in the seats where we had a better view. It has to be said that shows like this are great for Sunderland, and the four Take That shows will have done a lot for the local economy. Roll on Kings of Leon in a couple of weeks. Guess that will be a different sort of show with a very different crowd.
Setlist: Rule The World; Greatest Day; Hold Up A Light; Patience; Shine; Let Me Entertain You; Rock DJ; Come Undone; Feel; Angels; The Flood; SOS; Underground Machine; Kidz; Pretty Things; Million Love Songs/Babe; Everything Changes/Back For Good; Pray; Love Love; Never Forget; No Regrets; Relight My Fire; Eight Letters

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