Opener Belles Will Ring set a deceptively calm mood with their harmonious indie rock serving as an inviting opener to the night. Though it doesn’t matter who you are, it’d be tough opening for Britpop legends.
Equal parts style and substance, the stage was set with laser projected questions like ‘do you want to see a dolphin?’ before a green outline of the frolicking mammal danced across the curtain masking the stage, followed by the gradual lighting of those four letters: PULP. Then the familiar strains of Do You Remember The First Time? hit our ears and the crowd exploded with feverish dancing, a mass expression that would repeat itself with Babies and F.E.E.L.I.N.G.C.A.L.L.E.D.L.O.V.E.
Frontman Jarvis Cocker was a shapeshifting, witty and charismatic presence on stage, whether quoting Gertrude Stein or mocking audience members. The link between band and audience was so tight, that a single note caused masses to twitch and groove. Self-confessed first live rarities made an appearance with The Fear and Like A Friend. The setlist was bound to be contentious but hard to fault, as they played every song from Different Class, along with moodier songs like This Is Hardcore, the latter’s sensuality multiplied by Cocker’s thrusting and sighs.
But we had all come for the same thing. When Mark Webber played the opening riff of Common People, the audience imploded. Limbs flung themselves, voices screamed themselves hoarse as we all cried, ‘common people like you!’ repeatedly.
We marveled the lasers during Sorted For E’s And Whizz, crooned with a whisper to I Spy and caused an all out ruckus with Disco 2000. As the band ended with Misshapes and we put our hands in the air to sing, ‘we’re making a move, we’re making it now!’ it became clear – Pulp are more than nostalgia, these songs are timeless. And not every band can say that.