The PSB Tour Programs

Here I provide brief descriptions of the program booklets created by the Pet Shop Boys organization for sale during most of their major tours. Please note that the paginations stated below are open to interpretation and variance depending on how one counts the pages. For instance, does a page that folds out to the size of two pages count as one page or two? Do covers count as pages? If the booklet has a dust cover (as some do), do the dust cover and "cover proper" count as separate pages, if at all? In my reckoning, I don't count covers (and that includes dust covers), and fold-outs count only as two pages (front and back) rather than four.

MCMLXXXIX Tour (1989) - 20 pages

The very first PSB tour program features—as most subsequent booklets would—an interview with the Boys conducted by Chris Heath, as well as a "PSB chronology," a page-long profile of show director Derek Jarman, tour credits, a reprint of an article by sociomusicologist Simon Frith that originally appeared in The Village Voice ("The Pet Shop Boys thought it was interesting, so decided to reprint it here"), and (most surprisingly) the lyrics for several songs performed during the concert. Photos are somewhat skimpy compared to later programs, although there's a large fold-out with Chris on one side and Neil on the other; anyone who might actually wish to pull it out for use as a wall poster would have to choose between them.

Performance Tour (1991) - 26 pages

One of only three PSB tour booklets I don't own a copy of myself. Therefore my information is second-hand and unverified, although I can glean some reliable details from the 2006 "PSB art history" book Catalogue. It includes another Chris Heath interview with the Boys, biographical info about the show cast and crew, commentary by director David Alden and set designer David Fielding, and rehearsal photographs.

DiscoVery Tour (1994) - 32 pages

This is the second tour booklet of which I don't own a copy. As described in the aforementioned Catalogue, it follows "the template set by those of the two previous tours," but naturally employing "various design elements that had featured on releases from the Very era."

Somewhere Savoy Residency (1997) - 26 pages

A "small" program in terms of its vertical and horizontal dimensions (roughly 8" x 7"), it includes several fold-out photos of the Boys. The textual content starts off with Chris Heath's short interview with Neil and Chris. Next come page-length profiles of two key figures regarding the show: performance poet Murray Lachlan Young and filmmaker Sam Taylor-Wood. Then there's an updated and highly detailed PSB chronology (delivered via teeny-tiny print). It concludes with an essay by writer Michael Bracewell. Show credits are divided onto two pages, one near the beginning and the other at the end. In all, one of the "artier" programs.

Nightlife Tour (1999-2000) - 20 pages

Probably the single "glossiest" tourbook, this one offers the usual Chris Heath interview with the Boys as well as one with set designer Zaha Hadid. There are also some especially delightful additional text features: "personal files" for Neil and Chris, listing such things as favorite drink, favorite food, favorite color, turn-ons, turn-offs, first single and first album bought, first kiss (!), and so on; and an "ABC of PSB" that lists each Pet Shop Boys song to date along with a one-line comment about each by either Chris or Neil. Of course, there are also the obligatory tour credits.

Release Tour (2002) - 56 pages

Like the Somewhere program, another small tourbook in its physical dimensions (only about 8" x 6"). But it's an extremely text-heavy booklet, that text provided by author/broadcaster Philip Hoare (who would go on to collaborate with Chris Heath on Catalogue). The photos consist entirely of shots taken outdoors in the rather bleak old coal-mining areas of northern England, most often including an informally dressed Chris and/or Neil. It's all very much in keeping with the dour, downbeat, and perhaps self-consciously "authentic" stance adopted by the Boys for this tour.

Fundamental Tour (2006-2007) - 48 pages

This tour program takes the unusual approach of being divided into two parts. The first 16 pages on lavender-colored stock consists of text by Chris Heath followed by tour credits. The remaining 32 pages consist entirely of large photos of tour preparations on glossy stock. I find it most intriguing that, despite the overall "dark look" and somber mood of the Fundamental era, this booklet swung radically in the opposite direction with its bright, bold, virtually fluorescent cover. It would have seemed more apt for a tour in support of Bilingual had there been one (although the "Somewhere Savoy Residence" essentially filled that slot).

Pandemonium Tour (2009-2010) - 80 pages

To employ the parlance of my Southern childhood, this one's a honker. That is, it's the single "largest" tour program, at least as determined by the number of pages. It consists almost entirely, however, of black-and-white photos of costuming, props, and preparations. Text appears on only the final six pages, and in a noteworthy departure from preceding booklets, it's provided in a very large font, quite easy to read. That text consists of Chris Heath reportage, complete with generous quotes from the Boys, plus a final page of tour credits.

Electric Tour (2013-2015) - 32 pages

Aside from a two-page introductory essay by music journalist Andrew Harrison (maybe Chris Heath was on holiday) and a single page of credits at the end, this tourbook consists entirely of full-page studio photos of costuming (lots of "minotaurs") and poses from show preparations and rehearsals. I have to say, however, that though it's clearly in synch with the Electric album packaging and tour theme, the cover makes me a little dizzy.

Inner Sanctum (2016) - 48 pages

I don't own a copy of this, the program for the Boys' sold-out four-night "Inner Sanctum" residency at London's Royal Opera House in July 2016. It's apparently of the same type and design as those provided by the Royal Opera for all of their productions. It features an introduction by Alex Beard CBE, Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House, as well as several somewhat academically inclined articles about PSB, their music, their art direction, and their videos. It also includes biographies, production credits for the show, and photographs both old and new.

Super Tour (2016) - 36 pages

The circular, somewhat target-like figures on the cover and throughout this program are drawn from similar graphics that recur throughout the stage show, themselves spun-off from the circles that appear in graphics assoicated with the Super album and its singles. The booklet features an interview with Chris and Neil, background information about key support personnel for the tour and stage show, a list of all the countries in which PSB has performed up to this point in their career (along with the dates and venues for each show), and credits for the tour and show personnel.