Monday, August 06, 2007

DVD: Pet Shop Boys: Cubism in Concert

• PSB choke up more welcome product for the Petheads.

Genres: Concert, electronica
Director: David Barnard
DVD released: July 24, 2007
Verdict: &&&&

The things I enjoy most about PSB concert performances are the re-imagined and remixed arrangements — more or less the same fun kind of twist that a single mix can bring to a favorite album track. That said, Cubism, filmed on tour in Mexico City in support of their ninth studio album, Fundamental, falls short of Montage, the excellent DVD for the Nightlife tour. Montage's slice-of-synth-heaven "West End Girls" opener, the radically deconstructed "Being Boring" and the "It's a Sin/I Will Survive" medley (that ought to be a single) give it a convincing edge over the Cubism set list, but the DVD experience of the latter concert is nothing short of a love letter to fans (more on that below in the DVD notes). There's neither anything wrong nor anything to get particularly excited about in the stretch from "Psychological," the opener, to "Can You Forgive Her?," apart from the welcome inclusion of "Suburbia," which I continue to like more every time I hear it. The subsequent segue of spelling chants "Minimal" and "Shopping" isn't the tour de force they wanted — "Shopping" has always struck me as the weak link of Actually, and it pales beside a track as striking as "Minimal." But my interest perks up from "Rent" to the conclusion, and a surprisingly tender guitar-and-piano version of ballad "Home and Dry" from fan non-favorite Release proves to be a crowning moment in an evening of elegant electronic entertainment; it's also one of the few chances to catch your breath in a show filled with stompers. // DVD notes // How do they love thee? Let us count some ways: For home theater enthusiasts, the disc offers dts audio. Petheads will appreciate the booklet's lengthy behind-the-scenes article by Chris Heath, the regular PSB journalist, and the inclusion of a commentary track with Neil Tennant, Chris Lowe and director David Barnard. There's also a brief documentary on PSB in Mexico. Curiously, the North American DVD is mislabeled "Regions 2, 3, 4, 5."

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