Following on from user-friendly sets by The Pretenders and Squeeze earlier in the evening, headliners Pet Shop Boys brought up the rear in Friday night’s poptastic triptych.

Following on from user-friendly sets by The Pretenders and Squeeze earlier in the evening, headliners Pet Shop Boys brought up the rear in Friday night’s poptastic triptych.



In front of an ever-changing stage set resembling something between Pink Floyd’s famed wall and a giant’s Rubik cube, Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe presented a savvy adaptation of their usual indoor theatrics that perfectly caught the festival spirit.

It was as much about hats as it was hits. The duo take their headgear as seriously as their songs, but with a healthy dose of self-mockery. Tennant’s first costume combined a stiff-brimmed bowler with a spangly blazer that made him look like the Elizabethan Blackadder’s foppish chauffer, the ideal threads for the arch words and melodies of “Can You Forgive Her?” or “Heart”.

“Go West” is the expected crowd-pleaser, fleshed out by a balletic troup of dancers, and there’s further visual splendour when Neil Tennant changes into Sinatra bow-tie and tux for the regretful ballad “Jealous” – all that’s missing is three fingers of bourbon and a battered matchbook.

A crown and cape come into play for King Neil’s deliriously funny high-octane disco version of Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida”, the duo revisiting the ironic twists they brought to U2’s “Where The Streets Have No Name” 20 years earlier. Their glorious wit hasn’t diminished in the ensuing years, and neither has their knack for fashioning attractively packaged and engaging pocket pop symphonies.

TERRY STAUNTON