Saturday Night Weaver

Pet Shop Boys, Me and 2 Fairlights do “The Old Grey Whistle Test”

by on Feb.17, 2009, under Other Groups/Artists, Trivia

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Updated video….

The Pet Shop Boys first live gig was at the ICA in London (can’t remember date in’80’s.. just saw ’86 on video) starring in “The Max Headroom Show”

I programmed 2 Fairlights for the backing and myself and Chris also played keyboards it was most probably the one and only time Chris played Trombone on stage and they/we sounded great. I also did the same for them on “The Old Grey Whistle Test” Wow! don’t believe this just found it on YouTube.I was behind the bank of screens with a mixing desk sending my mix to the control room. Big panic just before the show went out live as someone tripped over one of the mains cables to the Fairlights and I had to do a panic soldering iron repair.

My Yamaha DX1 and Technics PX1 as well as my Fairlights being used also.

Also this same night

17 comments for this entry:
  1. Giles

    Hi Blue,

    I’m just listening to the PSB’s “I get excited”, one of my favourite B-sides and was wondering what was doing the chunk analogue bass? I can hear a D50 twinkling away and the TR727 percussion – excellent stuff!


  2. blue

    I’ll have to take a listen but a lot of the sounds were samples in my Fairlight. A lot of the Fairlight sounds came from various sources and usually the bass sounds were combinations. I do remember using an ‘Oscar’ synth for some part on that track, maybe that was the bass???.


  3. Giles

    Oscar eh, I’ve just had a listen to an mp3 demo of one, sounds fantastic.

    I grew up reading the credits on these late 80s records and always wanted a Fairlight. My dad and I built my mum a 6 grand Wersi organ so that was a start. The money side of it makes me shudder even now. I was reading this thead the other day, lots of Fairlight anecdotes:

    This tickled me:

    “I began my career in Los Angeles 25 years ago programming my friend’s quarter of a million dollar Synclavier to get monophonic cello lines with no expressive control. Today I’m playing Ocarina on my iPhone using a 99 cent application–it has expressive breath control, and fade-in vibrato when you tilt it.”

  4. blue

    Wow! I’ll have to get rid of my Blackberry and get an iPhone sounds a lot of fun.
    I also had a synclavier along with the Fairlight and stayed with the Fairlight because I thought sampling sounds was the way to go.
    I had never used a computer before and quickly had to learn OS9 and Assembler as the first Series 1, 11X, and following, had many bugs. I would be in a big session and find that the F***light had crashed but I had to keep smilling and quickly try to fix without the client knowing but I really enjoyed those days and made some great tracks. PSB’s Opportunities was all Fairlight and Paninero also started life on the Fairlight as did many following.
    Will try and remember other ‘interesting’ Fairlight moments and post


  5. blue

    I’ve just put some mp3’s onsite under songs there’s 1 track ‘In A Dream’ with my old Matrix 1000 and Memory Moog played live with aftertouch opening the filter on the Matrix there was 1 arpeggio in Logic that changes depending on the chord I held.


  6. Giles

    Computers do seem a lot more reliable these days. Having said that, I can’t get the Flash music player working on my PC!

  7. blue

    Yes computers are! now all they have to do is make the software programmers more reliable also and Microsoft comply with web standards.
    Have tried different PC’s and I have 3 Macs and the player works in all. It was compiled as Flash 5 movie but works in all Flash 10 players I’ve tried.
    Will check a little more when I have time. The player is also on my Flash site try that.

  8. Carlos

    Hello Blue,
    I´ve been watching on youtube “PSB-Opportunities”. Can you tell me how did you synch. both Fairlights at that time?.

    Best luck for you.

  9. blue

    I used a timecode/clock generator, I’m trying to remember the name anyway I would put the Fairlights in external clock (I don’t think they could read smpte clock at that time) and then in play and start the generator and Voila hopefully the 2 would play together. On the PSB’s video we were playing along live also and I was mixing all behind the bank of tv’s. Sorry I can’t be of more help. I’ll post again if I remember the name of the box. Thanks Blue

  10. blue

    SRC – Friendchip was the sync box I used then and I also had an SBX-80

  11. stephen

    blue… i found a video of the same performance that’s a minute longer:

  12. blue

    Wow that’s great. Thanks Stephen

  13. Al

    Looks like someone might have got their hands on a fairlight with the Opportunities sequences on it.

  14. vitaminman


    I was wondering if you knew what synth was used to create the whirring 10-second intro to PSBs cover of ‘Where The Streets Have No Name’?

    Thank you,


  15. blue

    Sorry Nick can’t help you there but I’ll take a listen sometime…

  16. Kevin


    I did the monitors behind the band for the OGWT – I seem to recall scaring the crap out of you by waving a magnetic degaussing tool around. I also remember one of the lights exploding seconds before going to air!

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