Pet Shop Boys Ballet Misses Opening Night… Shades of ‘Performance’ Opening Night In 1991

The bete noir of mechanical failure stalls PSB Ballet American premiere

Shades of 1991! I was looking into reviews of the opening night of “The Most Amazing Thing” and discovered that the opening night premiere last night as well as today’s matinee were cancelled due to mechanical failure. The exact same thing happened in 1991, when the first Pet Shop Boys world tour for “Performance” had to be cancelled on opening night in Miami, causing my friends and I to stay another night in Miami to see the show, which went off without a hitch the next night. The more things change…

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22 Responses to Pet Shop Boys Ballet Misses Opening Night… Shades of ‘Performance’ Opening Night In 1991

  1. Deja vu indeed! That opening night in Miami we attended — or rather would have but for the problems — was a very memorable trip both in the journey and in the next evening’s performance, which to my mind is certainly near the top of my list of best-ever concerts I’ve seen. As the pictures you post show, “Performance” was exactly that — a wildly money-losing Broadway prototype with a Madonna-sized troupe of dancers, new set pieces for nearly every song, and if I recall correctly the debut of “Where the Streets Have No Name/Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You,” whereupon the crowd lost their freakin’ minds!

    I believe the encore started off (iirc) with Neil on acoustic guitar doing “You Were Always On My Mind” as well, another mind-melting moment, but the entire show was just incredible — though as we noted at the time, it looked like every dollar the Boys had earned to date went into it, and sure enough — subsequent US tours were vastly scaled-down affairs.

    How remarkable that we (essentially) shrugged and got an unplanned hotel room to wait till the following evening to ensure that we got our ticket’s worth! Of the many memorable events I have been fortunate enough to attend with you, O Monk, that one was the clear winner in the “most ambitious/most lavish” category.

    A few years later I picked up the “Live Wires” bootleg from that tour (sadly not the show we saw, but a later one at Wembley Stadium — June 9, 1991 to be precise) just to remind me of the show.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      chasinvictoria – I always intended to get the “Performance” laserdisc, but it remains the missing piece of my PSB laserdisc collection. I had them all up through “Various.” As I recall, didn’t we crash at my friend Kelly’s place? I recall us all bunking down in the living room but that was probably the night when the show was supposed to happen. If we saw the show the next night, what did we do after the show? I know we didn’t come straight back to Orlando. Then didn’t you take us to that very red vinyl bar for brunch at one point? Hazy on the exact details and no drugs or liquor to blame there!

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      • Shelf says:

        While it is an interesting coincidence that both of those US premieres were canceled, the bigger story in this post is you two being among the fortunate few to experience “Performance” live! While the DVD admirably captures the spirit of the production, it can never be the same as being there in person. You are to be envied, gentlemen.

        Enjoy the show next Sunday, Monk!

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        • Taffy says:

          Ah yes, I too saw the Performance tour, from the 2nd row of the Orpheum Theatre here in Boston. That concert is burned into my memory as one of the very finest audio/visual experiences I had ever, well, experienced! And in a show full of peaks, perhaps the highest of all was that insane moment when their (already a surprise) U2 cover suddenly veered and segued into Frankie Valli. I wasn’t alone in absolutely losing my shit right then and there. Without meaning to sound absurdly hyperbolic, it was completely unforgettable.

          Liked by 1 person

          • postpunkmonk says:

            Taffy – If the shock of PSB covering U2 [especially from their still warm “Imperial Phase”] was iconoclastic, then the nimble steering of that vessel into Four Seasons waters was downright transgressive to the ponderous Hegemony of Rock®. We were right there with you, losing our, uh… composure right along side you. Oh for the days when such shocks could assail our senses unexpectedly.

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      • You are very likely right on the emergency accommodations, O Monk, now that I think about it. I remember the very dodgy neighbourhood the show was in quite clearly, though, and yes — having formerly lived in Miami I knew some “interesting” places. Knowing us, we probably went record shopping between brunch and showtime, but perhaps we got the hotel room I’m thinking of for the post-show night, or perhaps we drove opted to drive back in the wee hours.

        I’m so pleased that some of the other PPM regulars got to see this amazing show in person! To my mind, it was topped only by the religious experience of seeing the full 9-piece THeads tour (with Tom Tom Club opening!) at the fabulous Fox Theatre in Atlanta when it comes to concert shows, though there are as mentioned some other shows that are very firmly stuck in my mind for various other reasons.

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  2. Tim says:

    Sadly the US video releases of the concert have an altered Where The Streets Have No Name/I Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You medley. I ditched my bootleg video of the concert that I bought from someone via Goldmine before I realized the alteration.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Tim – Arrgh! That was the killer number of their set as chasinvictoria mentioned. Back at that first 1991 US show, there was NO CLUE that this was waiting in the set list. It was a simpler, pre-Internet, spoiler-free life, back then.

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  3. Tim says:

    I bought the UK version of that the second it hit my local importer. I was working 3rd shift at the hotel I used to manage and about 3am someone came into the lobby and we were chatting and they caught the music. Is that……the Pet Shop Boys singing U2? Yeah. It’s pretty good . Yup, this is about my tenth listen. There’s a curveball coming, hold on a sec….

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Tim – I had the UK CD5, the Euro remix CD5, US CD5. I think I kept the UK edition even after the PSB singles purge. Due to my penchant as an errant youth for cutting down card sleeve CD5s and putting them into to proper jewel boxes with my own U-card art in the box. At the time I liked the durability of the JB and I didn’t imagine I’d ever want to sell off anything!

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  4. Tim says:

    The US version had the distinction for a while of being *the* place that one could acquire the excellent Marshall Jefferson mix of ”Being Boring.”

    By the Euromix CD do you mean the one with RedZone and Raga-gaga (can’t recall the precise name) mixes of Streets and Seriously? I looked for ages for that and finally settled on the vinyl 12” and was horribly disappointed with the mixes.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Tim – Yeah. That’s the one. The Morales mixes were nothing to write home about. The cover was nice.

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      • Tim says:

        He’s so hit and miss with PSB work. His So Hard mixes are alright, not earthshaking but at least he remixed the song while leaving it sounding like a song. Not absolutely fabulous mixes while not entirely disappointments.

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  5. Echorich says:

    10th row center at Radio City Music Hall for Performance and it remains one of the most spectacular concerts I have ever seen. Spectacular because it was meant to be a spectacle and it succeeded in that, well…spectacularly – ok that may have been taking things a bit to far. But there wasn’t a moment of that show that isn’t deep set in my memory.
    All this talk of Where The Streets Have No Name/Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You brings back such fond memories of feeling I got some sort of inside joke upon first hearing it, while in reality it made such a stunningly sensible pairing. When the Four Seasons classic crashes into the song with showgirl panache, you just know you are listening to a musical vision come to life.

    I can’t say I agree with the critique of David Morales’ remixes of WTSHNN. While I could live without the Ska Reprise, the Red Zone Mix is a classic remodel of the track into a late night floor filler. It’s a pretty complex House track that melds more rave-y elements with deep and tribal house rhythms that were building in the undercurrents of the NYC House scene at the time. Listening back to it recently I think I like it even more 27 years later.

    As for that Marshall Jefferson remix of Being Boring – I consider it one of MJ’s best pieces of remix work. The song seems to weave in and out of the beat MJ lays down and it is a beautiful fusion.

    Liked by 1 person

    • postpunkmonk says:

      Echorich – Truth be told, I can’t remember the Morales mixes and I’m taking that for what it’s worth. It was sold off to fund the 2013 Rocktober extravaganza when we finally met for Simple Minds. Which, given the Simple Minds activity in the US since that night, was an excellent tradeoff!

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    • I remember seeing (or hearing) an interview with Neil later on in the tour where he said that the purpose of that brilliant pairing was to show that all pop songs are the same really. The arch way he said it, though, gave me the distinct impression that what he actually meant was an “up yours you pretentious wankers” to U2 (though ironically it earned them a nice chunk of change, I’m sure).

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      • postpunkmonk says:

        chasinvictoria – Damn… he’s right!!

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      • Tim says:

        I have a NME or Melody Maker interview that is contemporary to the release of it and they state (or joke, you choose) that they wanted Bananarama to sing the “can’t take my eyes off of you” parts and that U2 drew the line for licensing at that.

        The glory that could have been…..look back in anger friends.

        Liked by 1 person

        • postpunkmonk says:

          Tim – If real, that was brilliant, though Bananarama were a shadow of their former selves by 1991.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Tim says:

            Agreed, on all counts.

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            • Echorich says:

              So I just took this to it’s imaginary next level…rather than B’rama, Shakespeare’s Sister and from that line of imagination, hell, just the incomparable Marcy Levy/Marcella Detroit. Oh how I would love to hear her paired with Neil on some PSB kitchen sink drama of a Pop Song!!!

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              • postpunkmonk says:

                Echorich – Point well made! The closest that PSB ever came to their equivalent of Soft Cell’s ” Torch” was maybe “What Have I Done To Deserve This.” A great song, but not quite in the caliber of ” Torch.” What they could have done with Levy as a foil…

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