On their comeback tour this summer, it seems Pulp have been playing every festival possible, so surely it would take an incredible performance for them to create a special moment in Reading history. If this is the case, then they certainly succeeded.
Before Pulp reach the stage, the big screen continuously ask whether the crowd was ready, teasingly so, before finally asking ‘Do You Remember The First Time?’ to a huge cheer, as Jarvis and co opened up behind a giant sheet, before dropping it for the chorus to yet another huge cheer. It was a perfect opener, alluding to their previous performances before splitting up, and the first time performing at Reading in 1994 ‘seventeen years ago to the day’ we were told. The band performed the song to perfection before a small joke from Jarvis about the rioters playing ‘Grand Theft Auto outdoors’ leading into “Joyriders”.
From here, and throughout the rest of their performance, Jarvis’ onstage banter was spot on and second to none. Commanding the stage, and controlling the crowd with every single word, this is reflected in their performance as well. From his awkward, jerky movements and dance moves to his little quips during songs, Cocker was on perfect form.
It seemed Pulp couldn’t put a foot wrong throughout the whole performance, going from ‘Disco 2000’ to ‘Sorted For E’s & Whizz’ to ‘F.E.E.L.I.N.G.C.A.L.L.E.D.L.O.V.E’, in a move that was the moment of the festival for me. The band have incredible stage presence, and an energy that transferred directly into the crowd, creating an undeniably enjoyable performance. ‘Disco 2000’ created the biggest sing-a-long of the day so far, but was still to be beaten in the same set.
The greatest sing-a-long came with the song that Cocker himself admitted he wouldn’t mind Pulp being remembered for as it’s just a great song, which of course was ‘Common People’. Ending the set on this song just summed up their whole show; it was fun, energetic, and just brilliant. This was the perfect way to end what I can only describe as a perfect set from Pulp.
If I had to pick a highlight it would probably go to ‘This Is Hardcore’, which was absolutely stunning, but I hate to infer that by having a highlight, there were parts that were worse. I’ve been trying to think of anything or any way I can pick holes in Pulp’s performance, but nothing is coming to me at all. I’ve watched the performance back a couple of times since and even then can’t find anything that I can describe as a fault. I was in no way intending for this review to be as one sided as it has become, but there really was nothing to complain about; the entire set was perfect.
Not long after Pulp had finished I found my friend who had also been watching the performance, but was not as avid a fan as myself, but even he could not fault what can only be described as an unforgettable show. There’s only been one moment of live music that I can compare this to in terms of brilliance, and that would be watching Arcade Fire headlining Reading last year. We can only hope for a band that will be as awe-inspiring next year.