So yesterday I watched the live stream of Pet Shop Boys Afisha Picnic festival which they were headlining. I hate to be so negative, I honestly do, especially when it involves one of my favourite bands, but their performance tonight is just the latest in a string of disappointments in the whole way they have handled the start to their new album era. They just seem like they're lacking in drive or something, I mean we've not actually seen them much at all, and when they do actually perform a concert they perform one from their last tour, which was supposed to be over when they played in Sydney for New Years Eve 2011. The actual show itself is one of the strongest tours they've ever done, and they sounded good today. My gripe though? The fact that there was utterly no change to the set list. At all. The stream quality (for me at least) was utterly poor, it didn't actually start for me when it was the start of their set and as such, I entirely missed Heart and most of Did You See Me Coming. I spent the remainder of the show about three quarters of a song behind my friend who was streaming it as well. Going back to the lack of innovations, It just seems like such a weird thing to do considering the new album is out in just under two months, I mean they didn't even perform Winner live or anything. Basically, I spent an hour and a half watching a low quality stream of a concert that I already own (and it didn't even look so good either because despite them being the last act it was still pretty light, so their elaborate light shows and screens didn't even stand out). The only new part for me (although they did perform it at Sydney) was Together. Considering that is one of my least favourite Pet Shop Boys songs though that offers little in the way of consolation. They didn't have to do anything particularly over the top, but it wouldn't have hurt to have made some change at least. I can't help but feel they've made some very questionable decisions with this era. Personally, I think it feels like they've been very quiet or something and their lead single, Winner was an utter letdown. Its not even a patch on some of their weaker album tracks, let alone their best work (and there really isn't any comparison to their B-sides, most of which surpass the tracks released on their studio albums). Their video premieres tomorrow, yet this hasn't even been mentioned on their official site. Compared with The Killers Battle Born era which is just getting underway at the moment, and it really is a sad state of affairs. With The Killers recent comeback show after their hiatus, you could clearly see a band who were passionate and ready to make their comeback. With Pet Shop Boys in the last few months they seem to be acting like releasing a new album is very matter of fact for them. Which in a way is understandable, they met almost 31 years ago, and in their career together they have built up an impressive and incredibly consistent body of work by anyone's standards. What I find sad though is that unfortunately they do not have that many albums left in them (they both are fast approaching 60 after all). The best they can do is at least put a bit of extra effort in, I mean I know they've been quick to criticise their disregard for promotion in the press, but Winner is completely devoid of just about any creativity and see's them at their most conformist, and coming from two of the most overlooked and creative minds in pop music of the last 30 years (if not of all time), then that's very sad to see indeed. Having finished Literally last night, were I discovered that their record company at the time didn't actually want to release It's Alright (which was released in the end), it struck me that Pet Shop Boys of old would never have been satisfied with Winner. They strike me at the moment as a band who have lost their drive to be different and stand out, the very same drive that resulted in their most accomplished work, and what attracted me to them in the first place.