After a ten-year absence, the band Pulp returned to Sheffield Arena on 15 July as part of their reunion tour. Pulp’s 2023 reunion was the second since 2013 which was confirmed in October 2022 after a series of cryptic Instagram and Twitter posts. Concert-goers described their second performance, on Saturday night as one of their best yet!
“I’ve seen them at least 12 times and that was probably the best gig I’ve seen them do!” (A TikTok comment on a video of frontman, Jarvis Cocker, dancing around the stage).
It really was a party atmosphere, with fans unable to take their eyes off the stage throughout the whole set which started with Jarvis’ silhouette emerging slowly as the curtains opened, against a full moon as the intro to I-Spy started.
But before the 533rd concert started the band teased the crowd with messages on a screen which read: “This is a night you will remember for the rest of your life.” The screen then encouraged the crowd to “make some noise,” for which screams and applause emerged as the excitement bubbled throughout the arena.
The 20-song setlist consisted of a range of fan favourites including: Disco-2000, Babies and of course, Common People, as well as some older songs from their earlier album His ’n’ Hers.
“This Is What We Do For An Encore”
The whole concert was a well-planned performance with Jarvis as the main act, engaging with the audience after every single song and dedicating his love for Sheffield, the place where the band was formed in 1978.
“It’s different when we play in Sheffield because you know where these songs came from.” Jarvis said before breaking into the song Mis-Shapes.
Something Changed was dedicated to bassist, Steve Mackey, who died at the age of 56 in March and his family who were also watching the show that night.
Pink Glove, Weeds, and Weeds II (The Origin of the Species) soon followed, with the musicians, including violinists aiding Jarvis’ powerful voice – which seemed even stronger than it did in the 90’s when they were in their prime.
The story of each song was supported by well-thought-out visual effects and stage props such as a chandelier and leather chair which Jarvis sat on during This Is Hardcore, a song about his “revulsion and attraction” to pornography. A brief break in the singing – Jarvis also stopped to read an extract from Lydia Davis’ short story Like a Friend – keeping it simple with the curtains closed and a single spotlight illuminating himself.
In my opinion, the best song of the night was Sorted for E’s & Wizz which involved a psychedelic light performance in time with the music and following the lyrics.
Do you remember the first time?, Babies and Sunrise with Richard Hawley – former member of Pulp and supporting act – ended the first part of the show, leaving fans wanting more as the curtains closed.
But it wasn’t very long before Jarvis said “Is that it or have I forgotten something?” before commencing with Common People. The song is arguably Pulp’s signature song, released in May 1995 and reaching number two in the UK singles chart. Throughout the song Jarvis took time to introduce the musicians and band members on stage, who were also part of making the night as special as it was.
The high energy continued into the second encore with the juxtaposition of After You (released in 2013, the band’s first new single after 11 years), Razzmatazz (one of Pulp’s oldest songs) and Glory Days.
The night ended with the live debut of Hymn of the North, a track that no one had ever heard Pulp perform before that special night. Instead of his usual energetic performance dancing around the stage, Jarvis toned it down, sitting behind a keyboard for the song.
“We are in the north, so we thought you should hear it first, ok?”
Overall, Jarvis’ eccentric performance and interaction with the crowd, as well as the talented musicians made Pulp’s second homecoming gig a night to remember.
- I Spy
- Disco 2000
- Something Changed
- Pink Glove
- Weeds II (The Origin Of The Species)
- Sorted For E’s & Wizz
- This Is Hardcore
- Do You Remember The First Time?
- Sunrise (with Richard Hawley)
- Like A Friend
- Common People (with Richard Hawley)
- After You
- Glory Days
- Hymn Of The North
CLICK HERE TO SUPPORT THE BYLINES NETWORK CROWDFUNDER!