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'.
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.
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.
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.
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'.
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.
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.
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".
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."
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.
For their Fan Club, the Pet Shop Boys record a Christmas song, "It doesn't often snow at Christmas" and send it in silver bubble-wrap casing as their Christmas card. "Originally I was trying to do this pretentious Christmas-y music thing," Neil says, "but then I said, 'maybe we should do something really corny…" Though not released commercially it is played several times on Radio One before Christmas.
On This Day
A U.S.-led international coalition launches Operation Desert Storm against Iraq, which had invaded Kuwait several months before. These events will inspire the PSB song 'DJ Culture.'
Neil and Chris begin work on a new song, 'I'm with Stupid.'
Neil is interviewed this evening on BBC2's Newsnight concerning the recent Tim Burton film of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd. (Neil has clearly become one of the British mass media's 'go-to guys' for articulate commentary on popular culture, particularly regarding music.)
Chris and Neil take part in a 'meet and greet' for the cast of their ballet The Most Incredible Thing at Sadler's Wells in London.
The Boys film an interview for EMI talking about their upcoming b-sides compilation Format.