We usually don’t write reviews for live albums, but sometimes we make exceptions if it’s worth listening to it. So we did for the new live album ‘Inner Sanctum (Live at the Royal Opera House, 2018)’ by ‘Pet Shop Boys’. First of all, I would like to say that this is not a regular track by track review. So, what can you expect? I will describe my overall impression, point out specific features of the songs, summarize the visual experience of the BluRay and list as a little extra my lyrical favourites of the album in a top 10.
It’s like having the perfect party
If you know the studio versions of the songs by heart, then it’s especially refreshing to hear them with slight variations in a live version. Pet Shop Boys go one step further with their live versions. Especially when Neil announce: “We play another old song, but in a new version!”.
Although the tracklist only shows 18 tracks, the creation of smaller medleys gives you a total of 24 PSB classics. This will skip longer non-vocal passages, which is good for the tempo and the Sing-A-long mood, and second because the stage is not really the comfort zone of Neil Tennant. But as soon as Neil sings, he does it in passion and a lot of joy that you can read in his face as well. And just this fact lets forgot you the obvious discomfort and makes this Briton just that incredibly sympathetic.
The song selection is really well done. Four songs from the current long-player ‘Super‘ are played, many classics are also in the party and tracks from almost four decades make the mix perfect. The only downer to an almost perfect live album for me personally is the song ‘Go West’. I know that the track is expected by the diehard fans as well as ‘Depeche Mode’ is cursed to play ‘Enjoy The Silence’ all their life. But personally, I don’t like this smash hit much. It’s a track that every Non-PSB-Fan is able to growl drunken in a usual pub.
A perfect show to entertain you
Wow! Watching the Blu-ray of this concert was an eye-opener to me. The Royal Opera House in London seems like an awesome location and the colourful pictures in Full-HD are brilliant. Although it is a pity that the Blu-ray doesn’t contain the video in 4k. Further, I have to confess that I’ve never seen the Pet Shop Boys live. But after watching the ‘Inner Sanctum (Live at the Royal Opera House, 2018)’ I have a new life goal! On the next tour I will be there and this is a promise.
The show was captured in fantastic pictures. No matter if it’s the video projections that are perfectly matched to the music, the breathtaking lasers and lighting effects, or the exciting camera perspectives, such as a bird’s eye view in fish-eye optics. You never have the feeling you miss something from the show. On the contrary, every concert visitor should buy and take a look at the Blu-ray at home, because there is a lot to discover here.
The quality of the sound is incredibly good and virtually spotless on the soundtrack. With the right volume, a little live atmosphere also comes directly into the living room. I enjoyed the crystal clear sound on the couch with Martini Bianco. But you can also push the coffee table away and dance for almost 2 hours on the basis of the vibes supplied by the audience.
A few impressions from one of the first live shows (July 2016)
My top 10 favourite lyric quotes from the Inner Sanctum live album
Sun, sex, sin, divine intervention, death and destruction / The Sodom and Gomorrah show is a once-in-a-lifetime production (The Sodom and Gomorrah show)
I thought I loved you but, I’m not sure now, / I hear the thunder crashing, The sky is dark, / And now a storm is breaking, Within my heart. (Domino Dancing)
We’re gonna burn this disco down before the morning comes (Burn)
They called us the pop kids / ‘Cause we loved the pop hits / And quoted the best bits / So we were the pop kids (The Pop Kids)
You can live your life lonely / Heavy as stone / Live your life learning / And working alone / Say this is all you want / But I don’t believe that it’s true (Love Comes Quickly)
believe that we can achieve the love that we need / I believe, call me naive / Love is for free (Love Etc.)
This is my kind of music / They play it all night long / I like the singer, he’s lonely and strange / Every track has a vocal, and that makes a change (Vocal)
So I look back upon my life / Forever with a sense of shame / I’ve always been the one to blame (It’s A Sin)
I was a lonely boy, no strength, no joy / In a world of my own at the back of the garden / I didn’t want to compete, or play out on the street / For in a secret life I was a Roundhead general (Left To My Own Devices)
Maybe I didn’t hold you / All those lonely, lonely times / I guess I never told you / That I am so happy that you’re mine / If I made you feel second best / Girl I’m sorry I was blind (Always On My Mind)
To buy or not to buy that is the question
Of course, a live recording will never really be able to convey the atmosphere and mood of the real show, but that’s not necessary in this case. Here many other perspectives and impressions in perfect quality are shown. You are close to the action as in the first row, but at the same time, you experience the visual work of art as one of the upper floors.
For each concert visitor this release is a wonderful memory and for all others, the chance to get carried away by a Pet Shop Boys live performance and to be convinced to buy tickets for the next tour of this great band. We recommend buying the gorgeous ‘Inner Sanctum (Live at the Royal Opera House, 2018)’ Blu-ray/DVD/2-CD-Set now.