This blog has sat around long enough and I’m going to try and think of some words that might do it justice. I am struggling but I think seeing Pulp’s last show on solid ground might’ve been the best gig i’ve ever attended if that gives you some grasp of how hard it is to sum it up without pulling faces and elaborate hand actions. Sheffield is just going to remain the place where ounces of brilliance happened in a whistlestop moment and i found myself back on a train to St Pancras running on 4 hours vvague sleep (trust me that is not much) forever.
I’ll skip straight to the gig but after waiting anxiously for my ticket holder to arrive, possibly the most nervewracking moments of my life yet, I found myself in the queue for the seats (that surprised me a bit, i don’t think i’ve ever been to a gig where the seats have massive queue of people too) quite frankly freezing to death & sharing sympathy with the couple beside me. It had gone half 6, venues never open their doors on time ever do they? especially when it’s cold out, and i clocked another door so led the sudden stampede to the shorter queue there & after being briefly filmed for elusive “dvd extras” at which point i noticed they too had filmed me at the station and getting a glimpse of someone to do with jarvis looking rather nasty, we finally got in.
I was very much alone up there and spent the first half hour or so sat in the entire block with absolutely no one else so a) I felt like some kind of queen & b) i got to see the full blown delights of the fast barrier walkers, with the runners being quickly hauled down by security in some kind of sheep herding excercise but anyway it soon filled up & the home videos began..
They were assorted odd bits of clips that had no apparent band relevance & were just parts of sheffield, then a bizzare clay reanactment of the members & my personal favourite, a music video made to accompany Pulp’s very first song, complete with a nerdy curly haired Jarv, quite possibly the funniest sight of the evening.
After that, the laser host returned and egged us on for what seemed to go on just that bit too long, the P U L P sparked into life, goosebumps returned, everybody jumped to their feet & those fateful notes of Do You Remember The First Time? were upon us.
The set was just everything I’d hoped it would be plus a lot more, the order hasn’t shifted much since Reading so I wasn’t expecting dramatic difference but the interjections of tracks like A Little Soul so early on completely threw my setlist predicting skills and were brilliant, it hadn’t even occured to me they’d play that til I was clapping along (we were having a discussion in the hotel room prior to the show about what we wanted them to play & i didnt even bother to say half the stuff in fear of getting laughed at then hey presto, they’re prancing round the stage to it) and similarly jarv’s time travelling escapades meant the appearance of My Lighthouse, another track that fits into the latter category and also my favourite ever pulp track, everybody immediately sat back down when they whipped out the acoustic which made me want to cry even more but i remained firmly stood where i was and sang the loudest i ever have in my life i promise – everyone was gradually sitting down for breathers and at one point i am 99% sure i was the only one stood in the entire block & shamefully dancing but really, it was their loss. Countdown was funky too.
At this point i have to point out how brilliant the crowd were around me, there was about a 30 year age gap between me & most and i am sure i have never seen anyone that age at a gig completely go for it like that before except my mum at fenech soler (oh dear), and also a big sarcastic shout out to the children (they were probably older than me but christ) behind me constantly shouting “marry me” at jarvis from 3 floors up and claiming to be “the biggest fans of pulp here” but only knowing, surprisingly, common people & babies amongst about 4 others – i kept track of this just to highlight their fucking irritating nature – there’s always one, and they’re always far too bloody close to me.
Anyway, of course, inevitably Richard Hawley emerged from the wings for quite a number of tracks, Bar Italia being one of the greatest and painfully relevant 4 hours later with no brains wandering the streets of Attercliffe and of course This Is Hardcore , you can’t get past a Pulp show without mentioning that one, for that moment you can just sense that all 13,000 people are severely attracted to a forty something bearded king of britpop busily abusing the speakers – his dancing was on impeccable form that evening might i add, the first 20 or so seconds of Disco 2000 had been choreographed to a fine T.
Common People came out of nowhere so everyone went mental and suddenly we were plunged into darkness of ‘is there going to be an encore? there’s got to be surely? but they’ve played all the big ones?’ and those naive kids plunging towards the doors, smh but of course they were back in no time with Sheffield: Sex City that appeared to go on for enjoyable hours before the serious “I need to stop talking we’re being told to get off started” – how any human, bloke or woman could bring themselves to stop Cocker’s stage banter is beyond me, i was educated dramatically in those 2 hours from all sorts of people born “On This Day” but anyway they crashed through a few more good ‘uns, Mis-Shapes feeling incredibly poignant for some kind of reason & Born To Cry was too whipped out of nowhere, just amazingly and unexpected in every way. Something Changed was too not clocked by me but it summed it all up perfectly before the entire arena burst into White Christmas conducted masterfully by good ol’ JC and the atmosphere of those 10 seconds was like nothing i have ever experienced in my life then they bowed (kudos to you Candida, for radiating cool no matter what) and scarpered and that was that.
After battling the merch stands (vicious i tell you) for a t shirt i didnt want, we went to Burger King to search for our minds with no suck luck & waited out with the mad ‘uns, Jarvis & Candida soon drove past without so much as a wave, we were filmed once again for end credits (if we’ve made it in that state, oh dear oh dear) and dear old Liam came out, spoke to us & never came back so we ran off after unsucessfully stalking Pulp, said bar italia moments occured & next thing i know it was the morning & i was dragged out of a hotel somewhere in an unknown city back onto a train full of exhausted and awestruck pulp fans straight back home.
In short, Pulp were ace. In slightly longer, Pulp are one of the best bands to ever exist & that weekend was hands down the best weekend with my life, similarly was the gig – there’s no better way to spend your time in Sheffield than that, kids. (I apologise for the length of this blog, but quite frankly, everything was important and needed and if you like pulp, you’ll understand.)