In the moments leading up to Pulp’s set at Coachella on Friday night, several phrases flashed across the giant video boards that were lit in green.
“Are you ready?”
“Are you sure?”
“Do you remember the first time?”
After that last one, you knew that Jarvis Cocker and the legendary British rockers were about to walk out on stage and launch into their hit, “Do You Remember the First Time?” off 1994′s His ‘n’ Hers.
Cocker said the band had tried to get on the Coachella ticket last year, but it didn’t work out. The announcement of their inclusion at this year’s fest set fans abuzz and had them in position at the Main Stage early.
They chose well, as Cocker was a true showman, sharing anecdotes and jokes throughout the night.
After the second song, “Mis-Shapes,” Cocker told the huge crowd that he heard a rumor that the reason the weather was so dark and dreary was because there were two bands from Sheffield on the bill (Pulp followed country-mates the Arctic Monkeys).
Despite the grey day, Pulp lit up the sky with an amazing light show. The band played classics “Babies” and “Disco 2000” before really wowing the crowd with its name in giant neon letters and 15 massive video boxes as a backdrop.
When “Sorted for E’s & Wizz,” which is about scoring and taking drugs at a concert, came on five songs in, thick fog wafted out over the first few rows and Pulp beamed green lasers over the fans.
Pulp also played “The Fear,” with Cocker imploring the audience to say, “[expletive] you!” to fear as an homage to Friday the 13th.
But no doubt, the highlights of the night came as the band masterfully transitioned from “This is Hardcore” to “Sunrise,” going – quite literally – from dark to light with the music meshing perfectly with the light show.
“I think we can take this relationship a little bit further,” Cocker said before the finale. “It’s like we kissed a little bit at the dance, went a little bit farther, and now I’m going to penetrate you.”
That certainly drew a reaction from the crowd and marked an excellent time to break out the insanely-catchy “Common People.”
When Cocker broke that one down with the lyric, “I want to live with common people like yooou!” after introducing the band, another light extravaganza exploded.
It was a fitting end to a truly entertaining – and nostalgic – show.