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History

January 2022

In the opening minutes of the New Year, the Pet Shop Boys appear on British TV as special guests on the now traditional televised New Year’s Eve pop star performance, this year by Years and Years’ Olly Alexander at London’s Riverside Studios. They joined him for two songs, “It’s a sin” and “Dreamland”. (In a more normal year this would have been a live broadcast, but due to the pandemic it has been recorded several weeks earlier, on December 8.) 

March 2022

On March 22, “Purple Zone”, a single credited to Soft Cell and Pet Shop Boys, is released. The song had originally been recorded by Soft Cell alone for their forthcoming Happiness Not Included album but after the Pet Shop Boys expressed enthusiasm for the as-yet-unreleased song after hearing Soft Cell perform it at the Hammersmith Apollo in November 2021, an initial invitation to remix the song led to its reworking as a collaboration, and to a joint video shoot in a south London pub. “We’ve always acknowledged Soft Cell,” notes Chris. “It felt like a real moment,” says Neil. 

Purple zone

May 2022

On May 10, after two pandemic-related postponements, the Pet Shop Boys’ Dreamworld: the greatest hits tour – originally scheduled to begin in May 2020 – finally opens in Milan. 

June 2022

On June 26, the Pet Shop Boys perform for the third time at the Glastonbury festival. For the first seven songs, a technical glitch forces Chris to perform hidden behind a screen, but eventually he is revealed. “After that,” says Neil, “it was a real adrenaline rush.”

September 2022

On September 17 in Toronto the Pet Shop Boys play the first of 13 co-headlining shows with New Order across North America on the Unity tour. The idea that the two groups might tour together in this way was one that Chris has floated some years before: “I just thought it would be something I’d like to go and see.” (The tour’s eventual name, Unity, was Bernard Sumner’s counter-proposal to Chris’s initial suggestion, United.) The two acts alternated opening and closing the show, both performing, as New Order preferred, full ninety-minute sets; before, and in between, Paul Oakenfold DJ-ed. “It felt like,” says Neil, “to use our age-old word, an event. It felt like an event for us and for the audience.” 

December 2022

On December 31 the Pet Shop Boys perform at the Hogmanay celebrations in Edinburgh. Their set includes a new version of “Paninaro”, its first performance for thirteen years. 

On this day

2000

An article in Billboard reports that the Pet Shop Boys are working on several new tracks for a ‘best of’ collection, scheduled for release in the fall. They will later postpone plans for this album, putting it off until 2003.

2007

Back in the U.K. following a couple of shows on the continent, the Boys perform at the Eden Project in Cornwall.

2011

PSB and Take That perform this evening in Hamburg, Germany.

2013

Neil is one of more than a hundred internationally known musicians who have signed an open letter posted today by Amnesty International calling for the release from prison of the members of the band Pussy Riot, who had been found guilty and jailed a year earlier for an act of protest in a Russian cathedral.

2016

This evening: the third ‘Inner Sanctum’ show at the Royal Opera House.

2017

The Pet Shop Boys perform at the Tall Ships Races Music Festival in Turku, Finland.

2019

The first rehearsal for Musik.