PSB Milwaukee Pre-Concert Shenanigans (Pet Shop Boys Appreciation Week)

Before the Pet Shop Boys took to the stage on September 15 at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee, we arrived at the venue with almost four hours to kill, so we got up to some pretty fun adventures.

Four hours? Oh, about that. Let me explain. It's not like we're some crazy fans who'd arrive hours before a show to stake out the joint, take hundreds of photos, sneak into sound check, get thrown out of sound check, attempt to make friends with the tour bus driver, and then get in line at 7:45 like the rest of the poor chumps who didn't have VIP passes. 

We totally had VIP passes, man.

And we didn't get thrown out of sound check, per se. We were just asked to "remain behind that line. Yes miss, that line right there."

The reason for our ultra-early arrival was the pre-show VIP Meet and Greet. All VIP pass holders were asked to arrive at 4:30PM to queue up for the Meet and Greet. We chatted with fellow fans while waiting until the 5:30PM start time. Our friends Jean and Dean arrived shortly before 5:30 (after a 3-hour drive from Dubuque!), and soon we were escorted into the Pabst to meet Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, the Pet Shop Boys.

To say that we were excited is an understatement. After all, if my first Pet Shop Boys concert experience was "the culmination of a life-long dream," what did it mean to me to meet them? And how did I prepare myself for the experience?

First, I spent the previous ten days grinning like an idiot and trying to narrow down the possible topics of conversation. I'd eliminated politics and religion, because that just isn't done - not on a first meeting, in any case. I also tossed out all variations of "OMG, do you have any idea what a big fan of yours I am?!" because (A) of course they wouldn't...they've never heard of me; (B) I'm guessing a few other people might lead with that one; and (C) as much as I hate to admit it, I think these ladies might qualify as bigger fans.

Next, hair and wardrobe. I booked an appointment with the inimitable Jody Fischer at Samson and Delilah Salon in Wauwatosa. She did my hair for my wedding, and she is FABULOUS! (And so are her mannequin heads, clearly!) I needed a haircut anyway, but the Pet Shop Boys concert was an excellent excuse to get my hair done by a professional.

As for wardrobe, I knew I'd be on my feet all evening (not to mention dancing my ass off for a few hours) so the shoes would need to be comfortable and the clothes breathable. Then again, Neil and Chris are style icons; I couldn't very well show up to meet them in yoga pants and tennies. For all they've given to me over the years, the least I could do for the Pet Shop Boys is wear fabulous yet non-breathable fabrics for the night. (The knee-high boots were surprisingly comfortable!)

Finally, coiffed and dressed and somewhat mentally prepared, I was escorted, along with Jean and Dean and the mister, into an alcove in the theater, where Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe were standing, waiting to greet us.

All of my thoughtful questions went out the window as we shook hands with my all-time favorite band. All my meditations on the nature of genius and musical talent, on the interplay between music and art and fashion and design (and, while we're at it, "passion, love, sex, money, violence, religion, justice, and death")...out the window.


While we chatted, Neil and Chris signed our VIP badges (at right) and the CDs we'd brought. We talked about this being their first-ever visit to Milwaukee (and their disappointment at not having time to visit the Milwaukee Art Museum), the best curry in London (The Red Fort), the reasons behind the preponderance of beer and sausage in Milwaukee, and a number of other topics which I'll detail in a future post.

In our brief time with Pet Shop Boys, I found them to be an absolute delight -- they were cordial, courteous, funny, and kind. They were utterly professional, but at the same time, warm.

And, apparently, hungry. For after our time with Neil and Chris was up and we ducked out of the Pabst for a quick dinner on the riverfront before the show, we saw Chris walk by with their tour manager (who also ran Pope John Paul II's tour, back in the day - seriously!). Here's a photo of them from behind (Chris is on the right); we weren't quick enough with our cameras to catch them walking towards us. So off they went, destination unknown.

We finished our dinner as dusk settled over Milwaukee. We walked back to the Pabst Theater as the pre-show DJ set was wrapping up. The place was packed! Soon the show started and the entire audience was on their feet, dancing and singing and cheering and generally having a crazy good time!

Stay tuned for concert pics and more details on what we talked to Neil and Chris about (and what I meant to ask about!) in a future post.

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