Thursday, April 12, 2012

Photos/Review: Pulp @ Radio City Music Hall

Pulp @ Radio City Music Hall - April 10, 2012

Photos/Review: James M. Graham

Pulp’s triumphant reunion, shouted about loudly from the European music press for the last year, was not exaggerated. It had been nearly 14 years since Pulp played NYC, June 16, 1998 at the Hammerstein, a show which I did not attend. I missed the Hardcore tour for some reason and since I thought then and still believe that it is the band’s masterpiece, what ended up being their final tour for We Love Life didn’t appeal to me that much. A decision I do not regret after getting to see them for the first time on Tuesday night, the 1st of two sold out shows in NYC.

The excitement was palpable upon walking into the auditorium. The world famous Radio City stage curtains hung in front of a smokey scrim while a rear-projected green laser beam displayed myriad messages on the scrim like “Hi, how are you?” “Are you ready to party?” and finally “Do you remember the first time?” which catapulted the crowd into a full standing roar. The first notes of that very song began and four huge neon lights spelling PULP sputtered on one at a time in the space over the heads of the band. Lights revealed the band; front man Jarvis Cocker in the center on a riser surrounded by a keyboard and a huge drum. He didn’t stay up there for long. As he belted out the line, “I know it’s getting late, it’s so strange,” he leapt from the riser to the stage and for the next two hours never stopped moving, dancing, vogueing and generally doing what can only be described as “that cool lanky boogie shit that Jarvis does.”

The band sounded as if they had never taken a extended vacation as they played masterfully and elegantly through a perfectly chosen set-list, mostly chronological, consisting mostly of Different Class (all but “Monday Morning”) with obvious gems from His and Hers (“First Time” and “Babies”), “This Is Hardcore” (title track) and even one from We Love Life (“Sunrise”).

And Jarvis…This guy’s always had charisma, but at 48 years old, his command of that charisma – when to turn it up and when to turn it down – is daunting. He’s like Don Draper – every woman wants him and every man wants to be him. He combines that charisma with a deep sense of humor, witty, sarcastic and hilarious. In between songs he threw Halloween candy (and at one point, his jacket) out into the audience and read us a “what happened on this day in history” entry. Seems as though the Salvation army was founded and “The Great Gatsby” was published, and of course only Cocker would use a Fitzgerald quote to segue into “Something Changed.” And he did that cool lanky boogie shit that he does which made me dance – and I don’t fucking dance. He began “This Is Hardcore” by running up the box seats and doing a strip tease in front of every box working his way slowly back down to the stage and humping it during the “that goes in there and then it’s over” verse.

A low key encore began with “Like a Friend” then “Live Bed Show” after a “too much information” story about him loaning a bed to a friend and getting it back seven years later as the basis of the song. Then, with the opening notes of “Party Hard” Pulp turned RCMH into a huge pulsating disco light show love-fest. As the band left the stage, and as corny as it might sound, I noticed that I wasn’t the only one beaming from ear to ear with a little tear in the corner of my right eye.


Pulp is heading to Coachella in Indio, CA this weekend and the one following it. If you're not able to make it, fear not--you can stream the entire festival live over here. Check out a bunch of photos James shot from the crowd for us during Tuesday's show, along with the setlist and the remainder of Pulp's tour dates below...

Pulp - April 10, 2012 Setlist
Do You Remember the First Time?
Pencil Skirt
Something Changed
Disco 2000
Sorted For E's and Wizz
I Spy / Babies
This Is Hardcore
Bar Italia
Common People

Like A Friend
Live Bed Show
Party Hard

Pulp 2012 Tour Dates
13 April  Coachella Indio, CA, USA
17 April  Warfield San Francisco, CA, USA
19 April  Fox Theater Pomona, CA, USA
20 April  Coachella Indio, CA, USA
23 April  Palacio de los Deportes Mexico City, Mexico
4 May  SOS Festival Murcia, Spain
6 July  Ruisrock Turku, Finland
8 July  B’estfest Tunari, Romania
13 July  Fiera della Musica near Pordenone, Italy

1 comment:

  1. I love this. Im so glad to hear how fabulous Pulp was. I'm not surprised by anything I just read and I am truly happy about that!