Pulp’s globally lauded reformation tour saw them band stop in Melbourne, Australia for the first time in thirteen years and thousands of fawning fans sprawled out across the venue even Jarvis himself referred to as “festering hole”, like a true local.
After a lengthy introduction in which lasers asked the audience to “clap your hands” and “make some noise”, Pulp took to the stage with one of their first major successes – ‘Do You Remember The First Time?‘ from ‘His ‘n‘ Hers‘ (1994).
As the song drew to a close the crowd had barely stopped cheering since the letters P-U-L-P started glowing in pink and blue neon – a phenomena that would continue throughout the night, conjuring images of black and white teenagers screaming out the sounds of The Beatles playing through a primitive PA. This, however, was in 2011 and the sound was flawless from the first signals reaching the speaker stacks.
The unconditional love the crowd poured over the band was warranted, however. As their amazing performance continued through a set predominantly focused on their three most loved albums, ‘His ‘n‘ Hers’, ‘Different Class‘ and ‘This Is Hardcore’.
After hovering around some of the slower songs early in the set, the band kicked into a new realm of glory with ‘Disco 2000’, which for the first time saw all 5,000 in attendance singing in unison and dancing as they (and I) had to that same song in their bedroom thousands of times before.
‘Sorted For E’s and Whizz‘ might not have been played to 20,000 people standing in a field, but the laser lights joined the dots between the indie gods standing on the stage and the raves that inspired this song. The feeling that song inspired was identified in song straight away. ‘F.E.E.L.I.N.G.C.A.L.L.E.D.L.O.V.E.‘ seemed appropriate.
The band, and fans, took a breather during ‘This Is Hardcore‘ which blended straight into ‘The Fear’, but the frenzy returned with what is possibly the band’s most underrated song, ‘Sunrise‘ off their 2001 album ‘We Love Life’.
‘Common People‘ had the predictable explosion of energy you would expect. While most bands‘ biggest song is generally the biggest because it’s the least offensive, most radio friendly or the safest from their repertoire, Pulp’s biggest hit is a genuine pop masterpiece.
After briefly walking off stage for a few minutes, Jarvis told the crowd that “we’ve been playing a bunch of festivals, so coming back on stage is still a novelty for us.”
The encore included ‘Like A Friend’ , ‘Party Hard‘ (played “for the first time in a very long time”) and finally the ultra-danceable ‘Mis-Shapes’.
A perfect concert, from the perfect band.
The complete set list was:
Do You Remember The First Time? (from ‘His ‘n’ Hers’, 1994)
Joyriders (from ‘His ‘n’ Hers’, 1994)
Bad Cover Version (from ‘We Love Life’, 2001)
Pencil Skirt (from ‘Different Class’, 1995)
Something Changed (from ‘Different Class’, 1995)
Disco 2000 (from ‘Different Class’, 1995)
Sorted For E’s and Whizz (from ‘Different Class’, 1995)
F.E.E.L.I.N.G.C.A.L.L.E.D.L.O.V.E. (from ‘Different Class’, 1995)
I Spy (from ‘Different Class’, 1995)
Babies (from ‘His ‘n’ Hers’, 1994)
Underwear (from ‘Different Class’, 1995)
This Is Hardcore (from ‘This Is Hardcore’, 1998)
The Fear (from ‘This Is Hardcore’, 1998)
Sunrise (from ‘We Love Life’, 2001)
Bar Italia (from ‘Different Class’, 1995)
Common People (from ‘Different Class’, 1995)
Like A Friend (from ‘Great Expectations (Soundtrack))’, 1998)
Party Hard (from ‘This Is Hardcore’, 1998)
Mis-Shapes (from ‘Different Class’, 1995)