||October 22nd, 1993
rehearsal studio, where the Pet Shop Boys are rehearsing
for their part of The Equality Show at tile London
Palladium, It's just after seven o'clock when some of the
London Gay Men's Choir, who will back the Pet Shop Boys on
the finale, "Go West", trickle in, "I won't try to
remember everyone's names," Neil tells them.At the actual
performance - in two days tine - there will be about 40 of
then, but only half cal) make it here tonight. Chris isn't
here, either, though he has been here rehearsing the other
songs the Pet Shop Boys plan to Perform -"Can You Forgive
Her?", "To Speak Is A Sin" and "One in A Million" -
earlier in the day. Nor is guitarist J.J. Belle, as every
Evening bar Sundays, he is currently playing guitar in the
new production of the musical flair. But Neil is here, as
are singer Sylvia Masoniames, programmer Pete Gleadall and
arranger Richard Niles,
While the choir from a circle
make spooky warm-up noises and body undulations, Neil
talks about the tribute the Pet Shop Boys recorded for
Simon Bates' final show on Radio One earlier in the day: a
raga version of "So Long, Farewell" from Tire Sound Of
Music with Chris saying in the middle: "We'll really miss
It is time for the run-through. The first
time it sounds distinctly weak and ropey.
"Can I just
say," says Neil, "that I know
you've rehearsed this
carefully, but we've dumped the 'hmmnm's at the
beginning?" He also wants them to sit)g with more
conviction, "It needs tons of attitude. The attitude
is...camp! Big'. It can't be too big." There is some
laughter at this, "Art imitating life," says Neil,
They try again, on their own.
"Without meaning to be
rude," Richard Niles tells them, "it's sounding wimpish."
They look suitably chastened. "Now we'll try with the
tape," he suggests.
"Nothing is on rape," Neil points
out. As with all Pet Shop Boys live performances, the
samples and sequences are being triggered afresh from a
bank of computers.
"The band," says Richard Niles.
They try it some more, "Yes, it's getting
funky," Richard Niles says approving, though he has a new
simplification between two of the choruses. "Let's forget
those 'aaah's, Those 'aaah's am history. Those 'aaah's are
Elvis, Those 'aaah's are, indeed, Louis ,"
departs to the recording studio where the Beatmasters are
finishing off"! Wouldn't Normally Do This Kind Of Thing".
"It's gone from being a very simple pop record to being
totally over-the-top. They've made it like they imagine a
Pet Shop Boys record sounds."
Chris is waiting there,
"Are the choir no good?" he asks, expectantly, before he
has been told anything. The Beatmasters final mix is
played and meets with their approval. "Yes," nodes Neil,
We've had four singles in a row with string rims."
"When we were rehearsing this afternoon,"
"I released that 'To Speak Is A Sin' had the same
descending chords, in the same key, as 'One In A
Million'." He laughs. 'You can't heat those classical
chords - lie difficult hit is writing a new song over the
Sunday, October 24th. The London Palladium.
The Pet Shop Boys are in their dressing room,
disappointed to discover that it isn't Jason Donovan's.
(For the rest of the week the Palladium is the borne of
Joseph And His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat ) Neil tries
to telephone Boy George.' they want Boy George to
introduce them with Janet Street-Porter, "No doubt," says
Chris, "he will mention the review you gave him I years
Neil tries on his wig. They will premiere
their new hairpieces tonight.
"Very Trevor arid
Simon," says Chris.
"It's got to look beatnik," frets
Neil. "Am I really going to go on-stage wearing dark
glasses?" He asks for opinions. "OK!" he resolves. "It's a
definite possible.." He also decides to remove the wig at
the end of the preference. "I'm going to whip it off in a
pathetic Bowie-Sequa gesture."
"I look a bit Kurt
Cobain," Chris insists. "A bit Nirvana-ish. That's my
perception. Other people will think I look like Carol
Sir Ian MacKelen strides in, wearing a
promotional Last Acijo,; Hero jacket and spraying kisses
They run through their songs. In the
middle of "One In A Million" they have added, rather
thrillingly, a portion of Culture Beat's "Mr Vain". The
choir march on for "Go West" but it still doesn't sound
very good. They're too quiet. 'Their microphones are
adjusted, and eventually they improve a little. Now
worries about their entrance and exit.
you want us to walk in any particular way," one choir
member asks Neil.
Neil seems a little stumped by this.
"What options do you have?"
The show begins at 8pm.
There is a wry,
funny introduction from Stephen Fry,
some synchronized leg-kicking from the Tiller Girls,
old-fashioned paper-tearing from Terri Carol, a brief
appearance from Joanna Lumley and Jane Horrocks of
Absolutely Fabulous (afterwards Neil and Chris are
thrilled that Joanna Lumley asked to meet them), comedian
Lea Dc Lana, a celebrity sticky moments from Julian Clary
(featuring varies EastEnders, Claire Rayner and Victor
Meidrew), the cast of Hair, drag queen Lily Savage, and an
award presentation to Richard Norris, the mat) partly
responsible for repealing anti-gay laws in the Republic Of
Ireland. 'Then Boy George and Janet Street-Porter appear.
"How many people in this audience waited until they
were 212" he says, and there is no response. "I was IS."
"I was 14," says Janet.
"I've worked out this
introduction," Boy George says. "Give us an '0'. Give is
another '0'. Give us another 'o'. What have you got?"
There is a rather confused "Ooo!" and the curtain opens to
reveal the Pet Shop Boys. As the Pet Shop Boys are in
wigs, and no one seems entirely sure that this actually is
the Pet Shop Boys, the confusion continuities for a while.
As Neil begins "Can You Forgive Her?" the lyrics are
translated into sign language by a woman at the side of
the stage who has been profaning. This service all night.
After "To Speak Is A Sin" Neil introduces everyone,
including "the blond bombshell Chris Lowe". Chris spreads
"Go West" works magnificently after all, the
whole audience on their feet. At the end Neil whips his
wig off and walks away, whilst Chris stays on-stage,
playing along to the song's ravey final section. When it
finishes, he also saunters off. The applause is quite
Copyright Areagraphy Ltd 1993: All Articles
Taken From Literally 1993 Issue 11