Tokyo International Forum

Still around to tell the youngsters how it's done...

With the current proliferation of ‘boys’ in pop – whether Beastie, Backstreet or Venga – there’s something delicious about the fact that these elder members of the gang are still around to show the youngsters how it’s done.

And here, for the first time in nine years, an elated mass of Japanese pet-heads are being given the chance to shake their normally inhibited arses to the most credible surviving act, bar Gary Numan, of the ’80s synth-pop wave. It also serves as a handy Glastonbury Festival warm-up too.

Looking more like an extra from a Studio 54 flick than an ageing pop-star, a charming Neil Tennant glides onto stage donning a cowboy hat and fitting black garb, still, after all these years, crooning his highly personal vignettes both old and new.

Boring old fart? Forget about it. Tennant changes gears faster than you can say Mario Andretti. After shifting into an even tighter, white suit, comfortably equipped with an undone bow tie, he grabs an acoustic guitar and is embraced, leading fans through the dysfunctionally gratifying ‘You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You’re Drunk’. If Morrissey‘s in the crowd, he’s probably taking notes.

It’s their ability to pour out melancholy on an upbeat techno backdrop that separates the Boys from the men. After all, ‘Nightlife’ is no misnomer for this tour. The club gem ‘New York City Boy’, the self-reflective ‘Being Boring’, accompanied by a humorous Bruce Weber film, and a new screamer titled ‘Positive Role-Model’ would have spun admirer Paul Van Dyk into euphoric whip-cream.

The wrath-of-God style boom boom booms didn’t fade from there. To avoid being upstaged by their back-up singers, two spherical men in Village People attire, Tennant and Chris Lowe deliver the goods, making it easy to forget they’re pushing 50. There’s life in the old boys yet.