Pet Shop Boys and New Order began their co-headline tour called “The Unity Tour” in North America on Saturday, September 17th in Toronto, Canada. Their tour was originally scheduled to begin on September 5, 2020 but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The two UK acts initially announced a single NYC date at Madison Square Garden, but another concert at Barclays Center in Brooklyn was added to their itinerary for Friday, September 23rd, with the MSG performance happening the following week on Wednesday, September 28th. The Barclays show would have Pet Shop Boys going on first, while New Order would switch to the first set at the next show.
The evening began right at 7pm with a set by superstar record producer and DJ Paul Oakenfold, who would return before New Order’s performance. Oakenfold spent the evening playing familiar songs from the 70s, 80s and 90s such as Crystal Waters’ “Gypsy Woman (She’s Homeless)”, Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime,” Deee-Lite’s “Groove Is in the Heart,” Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love,” and a remix of “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” by Eurythmics to entertain audience members before New Order and Pet Shop Boys began their sets.
The duo known as Pet Shop Boys, singer Neil Tennant, and keyboardist Chris Lowe, arrived on stage thirty minutes after Oakenfold first started spinning. The duo began with an introduction and immediately launched into “Suburbia” from their 1986 album, Please. Singer Neil Tennant promised the audience that we would go on a musical journey before they performed “Where The Streets Have No Name (I Can’t Take My Eyes Off You),” “Rent,” and their cover of “Always on My Mind,” which happened to be the second time I heard that song performed live in a week as Willie Nelson played it on Tuesday, September 20th at Central Park SummerStage too. During “West End Boys,” Tennant changed a lyric slightly (“to the Finland station” became “to the Kiev Station”) and he shared that the song was recorded in New York City nearly forty years ago. “Being Boring,” a track from their 1990 album, Behaviour, closed their set before Oakenfold returned to DJ some more while the stage was prepared for New Order.
Pet Shop Boys at Barclays Center
New Order promptly began their set at 9:30pm with visuals from New York City from the past and present projected on the screens and playing “Regret” from their 1993 record, Republic. Fans were treated to older material such as “Age of Consent,” “Ceremony,” “Bizarre Love Triangle,” and of course, “Blue Monday.” In addition to the New Order classics, Bernard Sumner, Stephen Morris, Gillian Gilbert, Phil Cunningham, and Tom Chapman performed two Joy Division songs, “Transmission,” towards the beginning of the set while “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” was their one song encore before we all filed out of the arena.
New Order at Barclays Center
I attended the Barclays show with my husband, who is the biggest Pet Shop Boys fan I know; he saw them live before we began dating and has a section in his record collection of their albums and singles on vinyl. He described the PSB set as being full of “bangers” and I would have to strongly agree. Both PSB and New Order performed the songs I really wanted to hear live and after two years of waiting for this concert to take place, it was everything I had hoped for from these two legendary acts in a single night.
Scroll down for setlists, fan shot videos and pics of the show (photos by Edwina Hay)
Pet Shop Boys setlist: Intro, Suburbia, Can You Forgive Her?, Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money), Where The Streets Have No Name (I Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You), Rent, Don’t Know What You Want But I Can’t Give it Anymore, So Hard, Left to My Own Devices, Domino Dancing, Love Comes Quickly, Losing My Mind (Steven Sondheim Cover), You Were Always On My Mind (Gwen McRae cover), Dreamland, Heart, It’s Alright (Sterling Void cover), Vocal, It’s a Sin Encore: West End Girls, Being Boring
New Order setlist: Regret, Age of Consent, Ceremony, Transmission (Joy Division), Your Silent Face, The Perfect Kiss, Tutti Frutti, Guilt Is A Useless Emotion, Bizarre Love Triangle, Plastic, True Faith, Blue Monday, Temptation Encore: Love Will Tear Us Apart (Joy Division)
PET SHOP BOYS