These big band reforms just keep on coming - if you use a service like or Gigsniffer then you'll see plenty of these fly past you every day. Billed as a festival, this really was just a one band event. Despite the best efforts of Hives front man Pete Almqvist to get the crowd out of their early gig apathy with provocations such as "You LOVE the Hives".. "Love the Hives or you will DIE!", most of the crowd carried on tucking into their http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifMarks and Spencer's picnics. A quick flit down to see Foals in the Pepsi Max tent during freak-show Grace Jones' set gave the only inkling that this crowd were going to be up for it - hot sweaty and rammed meant the only viewpoints were on the big screen outside the tent. By the end of the Foals set the crowd were already leaving in droves to get a prime spot for Pulp's large scale return to London.
Like all these big re-formation gigs, the tension builds in the pre gig moments as you're never quite sure what you're going to get - or will you even recognise your well loved front man/woman after 15 years self indulgence at the altar of the Pukka Pie . Luckily, Jarvis is still Jarvis. Tall and thin, geeky and school teacher-like. You feel like he's here to give you some lessons - and lessons he gives you, with the between song banter as much a part of the man as the songs themselves. Launching straight into “Do you remember the first time” the crowd go ape and the slightly underwhelming sound of the festival’s sound system gets lost beneath the crowd’s top-of-their voice sing along. It’s testament to how Jarvis is still so “cool” that the crowd is so young – half these people haven’t even HAD their first time, let alone forgotten it. It’s not until Jarvis talks about the year 2000 – and how much it meant to people of a certain age - and yet now that it’s long gone we realize we just aren’t kids ourselves any more.
The hits roll out and as the darkness draws in we’re sucked into Jarvis’s world of voyeuristic sex, drugs and overlooked school sweethearts. The final showdown comes with a rip-roaring sing along of Common People – made more touching for us common people in the crowd when he introduces the song by recanting a warm up gig a few nights before where Pulp played at St. Martin’s College and played that very song. We were all left feeling Jarvis’s own sentimentality for the song, the city and his own lost youth.
As a reformation gig this was one of the best – and when I got home my partner asked me "Jarvis Cocker – isn’t he the one who peed on Michael Jackson?". How cool is THAT!