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History

March 1997

On March 17th, ‘A Red Letter Day’ is released as a single. It was a song which began when the Pet Shop Boys were experimenting with taking the chord changes from famous pieces of classical music (in this case Beethoven’s Song Of Joy) and putting them to a 4/4 beat, and it features the choir of the Choral Academy of Moscow. “It’s about waiting for someone to tell you they love you”, says Neil. The seven-inch version is a new mix, using elements from a Motiv 8 remix of the song, and the Pet Shop Boys are also particularly taken with the hypnotic ‘Trouser Enthusiasts Autoerotic Decapitation mix’.

1997 March

June 1997

On June 4th, the Pet Shop Boys begin a residency, ‘Somewhere’, at London’s Savoy Theatre, staged in collaboration with the artist Sam Taylor-Wood.

1997 June

On June 23 the Pet Shop Boys release a new single, a version of “Somewhere” from West Side Story. “Because we like it,” Neil explains.

1997 June

On June 27 the Pet Shop Boys play their first ever festival show, headlining the Roskilde festival in Denmark. “We’re playing fifteen hit singles and one obscure song.” Neil tells the press beforehand. “We’re not taking any chances,” Chris explains. After a fairly triumphant reception, Chris says, “We didn’t look too keen, did we? It’s easy to get carried away at moments like that and do things you regret later.” Two days later they play at another festival in Turku, Finland. During “Go West” a preposterously large ship comes up the river, alongside the stage, as though choreographed.

July 1997

A new version of ‘Bilingual’ is released on July 7th titled ‘Bilingual Special Edition’. It features a bonus CD containing 7 remixed tracks, including the extended version of ‘Somewhere’ and a previously unavailable mix of ‘The boy who couldn’t keep his clothes on’.

1997 July

The Pet Shop Boys agree to headline Gay Pride, an all-day celebration on Clapham Common in London on July 5th. They perform ‘Somewhere’, ‘It’s a sin’, and ‘Go West’ to a sea of people, as far as you can see, their arms in the air.

August 1997

On August 16 the Pet Shop Boys headline the final night of the Stockholm Water Festival in Sweden. The stage is on a man-made island floating on water, which sways noticeable as they perform.

September 1997

On September 14 the Pet Shop Boys appear on the TV programme ‘An Audience With Elton John’ performing with Elton John an arrangement of theirs which melds together two of his songs, “Believe” and “Song For Guy”.

October 1997

On October 26 the Pet Shop Boys headline Stonewall’s Equality Show at London’s Royal Albert Hall, having agreed to do so at the last minute. Before finishing with a hastily arranged version of Tom Jones’ “It’s Not Unusual”, they played a medley which included “Sixteen Going On Seventeen” (from The Sound Of Music), “Being boring”, “Climb Every Mountain” (also from The Sound Of Music) and “Go West”, “It was our greatest moment,” Chris declares. “Our finest hour.”

November 1997

On November 24 a longform video, Somewhere: Pet Shop Boys in Concert, is released. Directed by Annie Griffin, it comprises of a half-hour documentary about the staging of the Somewhere show followed by a film of most of the show itself.

1997 November

On this day

1987

‘It’s a Sin’ is released as a single.

1994

The Boys perform on an Italian TV show, images from which later appear on the Disco 2 cover.

2002

They perform in Zurich, Switzerland.

2005

Chris and Neil are in London’s Angel Studios with Trevor Horn supervising the recording of orchestral parts for several songs on their next album: ‘Integral,’ ‘Luna Park,’ and ‘Casanova in Hell.’

2006

The Boys kick off their summer European tour with a concert in Skien, Norway.

2009

The Pandemonium Tour comes to Zurich.

2011

Still in Cardiff for the second of their two shows there with Take That, Neil and Chris post on their official website that they’ve been taking time during the tour to write songs in their hotel rooms on a ‘portable studio…. using Pete Gleadall’s iPad to control the mix.’

2012

They work on two portions of A Man from the Future: ‘Other Ranks’ and ‘The Memory and the Control.’ In the evening they watch the England vs. Sweden ‘Euro 12’ soccer match, which England wins (and which Neil describes as ‘pretty amazing’).

2013

The Pet Shop Boys perform at the Sónar Festival in Barcelona.

2014

They bring their Electric Tour show to the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, U.K.

2020

The Boys’ 1988 film It Couldn’t Happen Here, directed by Jack Bond, is re-released today in the U.K. by the British Film Institute in a Region 2 dual-format (DVD and Blu-ray) package, including assorted special features. On this same day, Neil re-records vocals for ‘Love Is the Law’ at a lower key.

2022

The Dreamworld Tour comes to Stockholm, Sweden.

2023

The Boys perform at L’Olympia in Paris.