Friday, July 12, 2002

Pet Shop Boys, Sheffield City Hall (11.07.02)

Would someone please pinch me? I'm still glowing from last night. It didn't start off well though - we got stuck in terrible traffic and spent the better part of an hour trying to get out of Manchester. Hunger also made us cranky as we'd forgotten to eat before we left, and we also got stuck behind a lorry for the last leg of the journey. Once we got to Sheffield, we found the city hall easily enough - but spent the next twenty minutes trying to find parking. Apparently Sheffield has something against multi-storey car parks.

But as soon as we approached the venue, I knew it would be good. I just had this feeling! Maybe it was the matronly ticket takers. Or maybe it was when I walked in and saw that they were selling Sexy Northerner t-shirts. (yes, I bought one - they had youth sizes!) Or maybe it was when I looked at my tickets more closely and realised "Shit! I have SECOND ROW SEATS!".

You have to understand something - I've been in love with the PSB since I was about 9 or 10. When I was growing up, my parents didn't really take the pleadings for concert tickets that seriously - after all, I had dozens of whims at any given time. I did get tickets to see them at the MEN arena here in Manchester on the Nightlife tour, but it was a bit of a letdown. Despite whole blocks of empty seats, our tickets weren't very good, and the half-full arena led to a deflated atmosphere although patches of people were doing their best to liven it up.

But for this tour, they've played their cards right - an intimate venue with a pared down presence - just Chris and Neil joined by a couple of guitarists, a programmer and a percussionist.

It kicked off with "home and dry" and a few more mellow numbers - but as soon as the first dance track came along, the crowd started to dance and rushed to the stage. We tried to go up as well, but a bouncer quashed our first attempt. I stayed put, pouting - but when "Sexy Northerner" came on, there was no holding me back! We went round the other way and snagged a spot right at the front. For the better part of an hour, I danced like an idiot. Name a PSB hit, and they probably played it. The final encore was "it's a sin", and with a parting "Sheffield, you've been *fabulous*!" from Neil, they were gone.

The journey home was great, too - a service station tea of jaffa cakes and crisps. Listening to Jello as we wound our way back via the Snake Pass, the pulsing electronica perfectly suiting the dramatic silhouette of the hills of Derbyshire.


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