Where & When: Reading, Main Stage, Saturday
Vibe: Taking the first 'headline' set at Reading ahead of The Strokes (they top the bill at Leeds tomorrow after Julian & co), Pulp made the most of their slot from the outset. After a fifteen minute wait green lasers began projecting phrases onto a silky sheet hanging across the stage: “Make some noise”... “Are you ready?”... “Good evening Reading”... “Do you remember the first time?”... “Shall we do it? Let's do it”.
After sufficient anticipation, synths and robot voices gave way to a neon pink PULP sign lit letter by letter and Jarvis pranced onstage for 'Do You Remember The First Time?'. From there it was a brilliant run through the greatest hits of the last two decades.
High Point: There were many. Jarvis was, like at Glasto, in full nostalgic flow, reflecting back on their first time at Reading in 1994. "The first time we played here was 17 years ago to the day,” he remembered. “Who was here? Let me rephrase that, who was born?" From there he was the perfect showman, stripping down in return for a dance before 'Disco 2000' and dedicating 'Something Changed' to the lovers in the crowd. 'This Is Hardcore', meanwhile, saw him atop a speaker stack bathed in red light like some professor letting loose in a strip bar before striding two monitors and shagging thin air. It was also nice to see him put each song in context, conjuring fantasy links between 'This Is Hardcore' and 'Sunrise' and the like. Great to see Richard Hawley with them too.
Low Point: Some of the glitchy visuals on the big screen were a bit odd, and at times it would have been nice to see the band on them properly. You know, when clowns on people's shoulders weren't in the way.
Banter: This is Jarvis - take your pick. A few choice cuts:
“This [‘Joyrider’] is dedicated to the rioters. They said they were rioting; they were playing Grand Theft Auto outdoors.”
"I've got to admire a guy that can keep his tongue up a vagina that long, even if it is a plastic doll."
"The first time we ever played this song was here 17 years ago. I was shitting myself trying to finish the words. If we're only remembered for this song that's fine. Black Lace are only known for ‘Agadoo’. This is ‘Common People’."
Reading & Leeds in pictures - day two
Did you see Pulp's set? What did you think?
Get the full review from tonight in next week's magazine.