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23rd Sep, 2021

Music: Pet Shop Boys’ spectacular Rio concert is a carnival of house music

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James Iles 25th Apr, 2021

Pet Shop Boys

Discovery – Live in Rio 1994

(DVD and CD package out April 30)

A WILDLY enthusiastic Brazilian crowd greeted Pet Shop Boys for their classic Rio concert when it was captured on film in December 1994.

Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe had played the show towards the end of the house-inspired tour that took in Singapore, Australia and Latin America following their globally successful ‘Very’ album, released in 1993.

‘Very’ had been Pet Shop Boys’ first (and only) No.1 album in the UK and, they were riding high on the back of hits like ‘Go West’ and ‘Can You Forgive Her?’ from the LP.

It was disappointing therefore the electronic duo decided not to capitalise on their latest hits with a major UK or global tour.

A VHS made do at the time for those unable to catch the boys at the peak of their powers in this massive show, which was filmed by Brazilian director Roberto Berliner with a local TV crew.

And this week (April 30) will be the first time that Petheads will be able to experience this classic concert following a long-awaited DVD release, while they can listen to the audio on CDs for the first time too.

And what a set list! Some of the belters include classic hits such as ‘West End Girls’, ‘Being Boring’, ‘Go West’ and ‘Always On My Mind’, as well as some brilliant juxtapositions of PSB songs and contemporary hits including ‘One In A Million’/‘Mr Vain’ and ‘Left To My Own Devices’/‘Rhythm Of The Night’.

A cover of Blur’s ‘Girls and Boys’, which PSB had at the time given the dance remix treatment to, is another spirited highlight of this spectacular performance.

It’s not all full throttle though, as there are breathers with Tennant’s ‘MTV Unplugged’ style performance of Rent with just an acoustic guitar, before a stripped back ensemble perform ‘Suburbia’.

Fans will enjoy deeper cuts too, like ‘To Speak Is A Sin’ and a rare outing for ‘So Hard’ on this 96-minute setlist.

Indeed, the DVD and CDs document a show very different in feel to the two ground-breaking and rather theatrical tours that preceded it on both 1989’s ‘MCMLXXXIX’ and 1991’s ‘Performance’ respective tours.

Following on from the release of ‘Very’ and remix album ‘Disco 2’, Pet Shop Boys decided to focus the two-hour set largely on uplifting songs with a party vibe, taking inspiration from visits to the New York underground house club, the Sound Factory Bar.

‘Discovery’ saw Pet Shop Boys with four dancers, backing singer Katie Kissoon and two Latin percussionists embrace spontaneity in a way they never had before.

Chris Lowe said at the time: “We’re more free-spirited on this tour. We party on down.

“It’s not a totally choreographed, staged and rehearsed show.

“I suppose it is more rock ‘n’ roll in its attitude.

“You get to express yourself. (Laughs). And to take your clothes off.”

Neil Tennant added: “In the past we were always removed from the audience by theatrical convention.

“This time we are us onstage.”

This epic show is nicely polished up for the DVD release, and a new booklet adds to the value of the package, featuring candid on-tour photographs, an interview by Chris Heath conducted during tour rehearsals and an exclusive on-tour diary by Neil Tennant.

A must for fans and lovers of great live music with a distinctly ‘dance to disco’ vibe to it.

James Iles


DVD Track listing

1   Tonight is forever (1.59)

2   I wouldn’t normally do this kind of thing (3.46)

3   Always on my mind (4.14)

4   Domino dancing (3.54)

5   To speak is a sin (4.59)

6   One in a million/Mr Vain (4.46)

7   Paninaro (4.27)

8   Rent (3.10)

9   Suburbia (3.11)

10  King’s cross (5.00)

11  So hard (4.03)

12  Left to my own devices/Rhythm of the night (5.59)

13  Absolutely Fabulous (3.51)

14  Liberation (4.09)

15  West End girls (4.38)

16  Can you forgive her? (3.56)

17  Girls and boys (4.55)

18  It’s a sin/I will survive (6.48)

19  Go West (5.11)

20  Go West (Reprise) (4.46)

21  Being boring (5.24)

CD1 Track Listing

1   Tonight is forever (1.59)

2   I wouldn’t normally do this kind of thing (3.46)

3   Always on my mind (4.14)

4   Domino dancing (3.54)

5   To speak is a sin (4.59)

6   One in a million/Mr Vain (4.46)

7   Paninaro (4.27)

8   Rent (3.10)

9   Suburbia (3.11)

10 King’s Cross (5.00)

11 So hard (4.03)

CD2 Track Listing

1   Left to my own devices/Rhythm of the night (5.59)

2   Absolutely Fabulous (3.51)

3   Liberation (4.09)

4   West End girls (4.38)

5   Can you forgive her? (3.56)

6   Girls and boys (4.55)

7   It’s a sin/I will survive (6.48)

8   Go West (5.11)

9   Go West (Reprise) (4.46)

10 Being boring (5.24)


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