Friday, 14 December 2012


Highlights is a VHS tape of the first tour by Pet Shop Boys, the 1989 tour. Originally, the intention of Pet Shop Boys and Derek Jarman was to release a full length recording of one of the Wembley Arena concerts. However when they saw the film in full, they felt disappointed with the way the show came across on video. So much so they decided to only release a partial recording of the concert, entitled Highlights. The full length film of the Wembley concert that was recorded was called On Tour and to this day remains unreleased, with Highlights also remaining only on VHS. The full track listing for the VHS is as follows:
  • The Sound of the Atom Splitting
  • It's a Sin
  • Shopping
  • Love Comes Quickly
  • Domino Dancing
  • Rent
  • King's Cross
  • It's Alright
As you can see, its an incredibly brief VHS - it only equates to roughly 33 minutes in length. It only has eight songs out of the eighteen that were performed on the tour and omits some of their biggest hits like West End Girls and Always On My Mind. Some of my personal favourite performances from the tour were omitted too, like Heart, One More Chance and Nothing Has Been Proved. I can't fault the actual performances here - the 1989 tour is one of my favourite tours - but I actually feel that a partial recording of a concert does an even bigger injustice to their live talent. I do wonder just what they felt was so poor about the original On Tour film.

Japanese Laserdisc release
Also, it may be worth of note (or it could be just splitting hairs on my part) to remember that the tracks on the VHS are jumbled up, in the actual concert Love Comes Quickly was performed before The Sound of The Atom Splitting and Its A Sin for just one example. I don't know about you, but I am a real stickler for watching things the way they were originally planned to be seen, so the idea of watching the performances in non-chronolgical order is a big no-no for me. Thank goodness the overall concert didn't have a narrative structure originally though (like Performance did) otherwise the lack of chronological order would have been a massive hindrance!

All in all - despite the performances being excellent in their own right - I find it hard to recommend this, even if you are a die-hard fan. It is relatively easy to find a secondhand copy, at least it is here in the UK but I just don't think its worth it. Not only is it an archaic format it omits just over half of the eighteen songs performed. When you consider that the full tour can be viewed on Youtube in very good quality it renders this more or less obsolete. My advice? Pass on this VHS and lets just hope that one day Pet Shop Boys will see fit to release this (and Discovery too)

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