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Pet Shop Boys at The Warfield, San Francisco

Wednesday evening I continued my ten year concert reunion with the Pet Shop Boys . Currently performing on their Pandemonium Tour (supporting Yes ), James and I (along with several other friends) caught their second night at The Warfield in downtown San Francisco.

Pet Shop Boys (flickr)

Wednesday’s show exceeded my expectations. They opened with “Heart” and and barely paused for just over 90 minutes, touching on nearly every part of their catalog. Their performance of “Heart”, in particular, was really exciting and energetic. The set included several medleys; I tried to keep a set list as the night went on and ended up with the following (titles in square brackets indicate they just played snippets or a few lines of the song as a transition between numbers).

  • Heart
  • Did You See Me Coming
  • Pandemonium/Can You Forgive Her
  • Love, etc
  • [Integral, Building a Wall]
  • Go West
  • Two Divided by Zero
  • Why Don’t We Live Together? / Always On My Mind
  • New York City Boy
  • [Closer to Heaven]
  • Left to my Own Devices
  • Do I Have To?
  • King’s Cross
  • The way It Used To Be
  • Jealousy
  • Suburbia
  • All Around the World
  • Se A Vida É / Discoteca
  • Viva la Vida (Coldplay cover)
  • It’s a Sin


  • Being Boring
  • West End Girls

I really enjoyed hearing songs that I didn’t at all expect to be played, but which feel like iconic PSB songs to me: “Two Divided by Zero”, “Suburbia”, “King’s Cross”. And of course, “It’s a Sin” and “Being Boring”, which we completely expected and yet still felt relevant and poignant; PSB is without question the band that marks time in my coming out story.

I last saw PSB on their Nightlife tour in 1999. That day, John and I drove three and a half hours from Fort Wayne to the Fox Theater in Detroit, watched the show from the balcony, and drove back the same night, arriving home at nearly four in the morning. My car was hit by a deer on the drive back that morning when we were less than fifteen minutes from home1_. In contrast, Wednesday night I carpooled ten minutes with friends from our pre-show pizza and could have walked home in under half an hour.

I somehow see the change in distance as metaphorical for how I’ve moved in my own life, as well. I remember thinking that night that there was no way I could live in Detroit; it seemed overwhelming and foreign. I suppose in the same way if I had been able to look forward ten years, my life today would have been similarly unrecognizable. As I think about it now, I guess I’m lucky; I was happy2 with where I was then, and I’m happy to be where I am today. There are still things I’d like to do and improve but the present is pretty damn good.