Sunday, 24 July 2016

What makes a concert so good..?

I've been to many concerts over the years.  In fact, before starting to write this I tried to work out how many I'd been to. I couldn't even count how many times I've seen the Pet Shop Boys previously...

I suppose that exposes me as a bit of a fan.  Which is true.  I've seen them doing small gigs - including doing the tour for the album "Release" when they went all guitar-y.  And I've seen them doing Arena things.  They've been camp.  There've been lots of lots.  And it's always been loud.

And then there was "Inner Sanctum".

Not quite a tour, "Inner Sanctum" is for four nights only at the Royal Opera House.  Es Devlin again coming up with the stage design and promise of something unique.  Something "special".

And so it was.

I don't know why it was so good.  It's entirely possible that a combination of my mood, and the level of expectation meant I was going to enjoy it.  But even once we got a few songs in, I knew this would be a gig it'd take me a long time to forget.

We were sitting in the front row of the balcony, directly facing onto the stage.  A clear view, no silhouette'd heads bobbing around in front of us.  And what a view.  I'd never been inside the Royal Opera House before, and it's certainly quite a venue.  So much gold and so many lights.  Fabulous, you may say.

Anyway, on with the show.  It was oomph-y in the way that the Pet Shop Boys should be.  Adding a few extra musicians lifting the percussion tracks from sequencers and placed some of the rhythm into the hands of two fantastic drummers.  The sound was crystal clear.  No muddy merging of bass and drums.  No fading of vocals into synth lines.  It was clear and sparkly but with a bass running understand which made your stomach throb.

And then there was the set list.  A song from almost every album.  And not the obvious choices at that.  For instance, "In The Night" which - I'm informed - had never been performed live before, despite being the best part of 30 years old.  And in this show, given a driving beat which lifted it from being an extended remix of the Clothes Show theme and into a driving anthem which could've been written yesterday.

And then there were the lights.  I've seen light shows before. I've seen impressive lightshows before.  But this was on a different level.  Photographs don't do justice the way the lasers were used and just how spectacular they looked.

I've been to many concerts.  But this was the best.  Genuinely.