Saturday, 14 April 2012

11 years is Pulp. At the Royal Albert Hall

Pulp : The Royal Albert Hall, 31 March 2012 - Gig 13!
Phoning the Missus up to say you've got tickets to see Pulp at the Royal Albert Hall on a Saturday night is an impressive gesture. It would be better if I had heard Mrs P tell me that she wanted to go and that it was perfect because it was on our wedding anniversary, still half points for effort, nil for listening skills.

So a day in London, train down, travelling surprisingly lightly, time in Portobello rd market, Rough Trade records, Pizza Express, Houses of Parliament, Emma Bridgewater, flash hotel then we were ready.

Into the Royal Albert Hall, nice seats and ready for the support, Cats Eyes, a really interesting band as half of the songs have a bit of energy about them, and are great, and half are slow and nothing better than dirgey. But a reasonable support.

This was followed (after shocking £4 bottles of becks) by messages from our sponsors, Teenage Cancer Trust, and meeting some of the people who had benefitted through them coming on stage with Roger Daltry. Really a cause that jumps out as worthwhile.

Then it was time words came across the screen to hype the audience up (bizarre given I had seen this only 5 days earlier for Noah and the Whale) which is a very effective way of hyping the audience, the words asked if we were ready, leading up to whether we remembered the first time.....

Yes, first Pulp gig, 5 October 1994 at Villa Leisure Centre, supporting Blur who were just about to go massive along with indie music and Britpop. Jarvis was mesmerising great banter, and I left desperate to find the song Razmatazz. I can't remember being left so keen after a support band before or since and without the Internet it took ages to find Razmatazz, but well worth the wait.

Yes. The first Pulp record bought, the 4 track CD single with Babies on it, from Powercuts in Manchester, a brilliant basement record shop and the single cost the princely sum of a £1. It got played and played in the early stages of my courting of Mrs P.

Jarvis bursts on and not having seen them live for years I was hit straight away by his gangling legs. The set started with do you remember the first time followed by several blistering hits and the audience were away, guests came and went, until Richard Hawley joined the band and never left.

After the blistering set we got into a few lesser known songs from the trees era, good but enhanced by Jarvis's legendary banter inbetween songs.

Common People came on at the end of the set, to rapturous response, and the wall of sound for the chorus of 'LIKE YOU LA LA LA LA' just blew me away.

The finale included a Pulp song written when Jarvis was a teenager, which fitted with the charity, for this tune, Jarvis was joined by his sister and school friend who had done backing vocals on the original record, which was nice.

Then how can you wrap up, a song about learning about sex in a wardrobe, (Babies rather than anything to do with Boris Becker) then the sing along dancing Disco 2000 now sounding suitably retro rather than the anthem for the future it was when it first came out.

After the gig it was off to the merchandise stall to get a book on rock star recipes, signed by the photographer / writer. I have never known someone take so much time and care over an autograph but it was much appreciated, as I had managed to push into the queue accidentally near the front.

Nice wedding anniversary, 11 years on.

Set List:
'Do You Remember The First Time?'
'Something Changed'
'Sorted For E's And Wizz'
'I Spy'
'The Birds In Your Garden'
'Bad Cover Version'
'Like A Friend'
'This Is Hardcore'
'Bar Italia'
'Common People'
'My Lighthouse'
'Disco 2000'

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