ConcreteConcrete

Released - 2006
Chart peak - UK #61 (not released in US)

The Pet Shop Boys recorded their first live album at a special one-off concert at the Mermaid Theatre in London on May 8, 2006 to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of their first big hit, "West End Girls." They were supported by the BBC Concert Orchestra and a slew of renowned guest stars—including Trevor Horn, Anne Dudley, Lol Creme, Steve Lipson, Rufus Wainwright, Frances Barber, and Robbie Williams—on both instruments and vocals. (If you don't count their Battleship Potemkin dates, this was their first full-length live show with orchestral accompaniment.) Trevor Horn also served as musical director for the evening. The recording was broadcast on BBC Radio 2 later that same month. Its very positive reception and superb quality helped ensure its subsequent release on CD.

The title of the album was originally announced as the extremely straightforward Concert, but only five or six weeks before release came the announcement that its title had been changed to Concrete—as puzzling a choice as the first title was unimaginative. Neil and Chris had reportedly preferred Concrete from the start, anyway. No explanation has been offered at this time, although there are a number of possibilities:

It may be any or all of these things, a pun working at multiple levels. Whatever the case, fans greatly appreciated this special recording of the Pet Shop Boys at the top of their game as live performers. It's unfortunate, however, that Neil and Chris didn't see fit to record this show on video for DVD release, which surely have made it an even greater testament to their talents.

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