15 June 2002: Pulp – Sherwood Pines Forest Park, Nottingham, England, UK

15 June 2002: Pulp - Sherwood Pines Forest Park, Nottingham, England, UK

Talk about timing it right. I arrived at the venue at nine o’clock, totally missing the support band, and being the last car to be parked in the car park, to be told pulp would take to the stage at 20 past. This is the way i sometimes like to do things, having witnessed many abysmal support band’s which don’t justify the time and effort of turning up to see them. The fact that i had what i thought was a very bad case of hay fever at the time (which later turned out to actually be flu) didn’t improve my enthusiasm for turning up early.

But the gig really improved the mood. Pulp took the stage, as promised, at about 20 past 9 and launched straight into “weeds”, cocker prancing about in his own classic style.

Cocker bantered with the audience throughout, eating the odd packet of crisps thrown at him, taking his shoes off and waving his feet at us and generally appearing to enjoy himself immensely.

The final song before they left the stage was “sunrise”, magical guitars singing out and bringing the main set to a classic close, leaving the audience begging for more.

Coming back on to perform “babies” (which was brilliant) left us with a deep craving for something else and the hope of hearing “do you remember the first time” as they came back on again filled me with expectation.

However, they went on to perform what turned out to be the highlight of the gig, which was the final encore. The band launching into a rehashed and darker version of “common people” with Jarvis Cock(er)ing it up spectacularly about 5 minutes in, only to restart it from the beginning, with superb vocals (the second time round) over a deep beat, building up to the classic chorus and seeing us leaving, as the light faded, happy and slightly bewildered by the greatness of it all.

Bugger of a traffic jam getting out though!

18 November 2001: Pulp – Rock City, Nottingham, England, UK

What can you say about Jarvis? Tall, glasses, not really a hero type, lanky, disjointed and theatrical. All of this makes the man what he is and makes pulp a superb band to see live. I first saw pulp in the late eighties, supporting someone, who shall remain completely forgotten, at (i think it was) the leadmill (but even that has been lost in the depths of time,together with the ticket stub). Anyway, from what i can remember, they weren’t very memorable. Home town band plays hometown gig type thing.

These days pulp are a completely different species to what they once were. From the very first moment they appeared on the stage, to the last breath of delight from the crowd at the end pulp were beautiful, inspiring and above all memorable.

The band appeared and started with “weeds”, to the backdrop of a time lapse movie of weeds growing (this doesn’t sound as visually good as it is). This was followed by “the night that minnie timperley died” and then “lonely boy” (a revamped version of the b-side). Jarvis’s stage presence and showmanship won a packed to capacity venue over immediately. Remembering trips to nottingham past, he name checked a few local landmarks and dredged up some local myths (two girls for each boy), always keeping the crowd laughing and often leading into the next song as with the two birds for every bloke thing which led seamlessly to (via the comment “the only birds i ever saw were”) “the birds in your garden”.

Pulp burned through the tracks. “bad cover version” (spectacular),”this is hardcore”,”monday morning”, “f.e.e.l.i.n.g. C.a.l.l.e.d. L.o.v.e” and “the trees”, amongst others, and then they finished with “sunrise” (if you’ve never heard this track live then go and see), leaving the crowd yelling for more.

They returned, rejuvenated, for “sorted for e’s & wizz” and made the night by playing “babies” (which was unfortunately spoilt by the girl in behind screaming the words to what was apparently the only song she knew (don’t give up the day job)). The gig was ended with “(do you know, i can’t remember)” and pulp left the stage, closely followed by jarvis, shortly after saying that this was the first night of the tour and he hoped we’d enjoyed it. I’ll say yes to that.

If you’re a pulp fan go and see them as soon as you can because you’ll love this show. The new songs sit together with the old friends and you soon forget they’re not playing a “best of” set. If you’re not a fan, you’ll still go home thinking “wow!”.

Nothing to do with pulp, just a gripe about this, historically excellent, venue. Don’t expect to get a drink too quickly. Three bar staff and one lager pump per bar leads to major crowds waiting to be served, so at least a twenty minute wait is to be expected. And to add to the insult, we then have to drink from half pint glasses (because “we’ve run out of pint glasses”. The words piss up, couldn’t, in, organise and brewery spring to mind). Comedy moment – sixteen halves of lager being passed back through a crowd five deep to the eight thirsty people, waiting impatiently at the back (ready to juggle two glasses each and a lighted fag, presumably).

If you want to see a great band, go and see pulp! If you want to have a drink, go to a pub!