NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Wednesday evening was the final show in a two-night stand at Radio City Music Hall for the Britpop band Pulp.
Singer Jarvis Cocker reminded the audience that it had been 14 years since their last show, when the bandpreviously preformed at Hammerstein Ballroom. The years showed, in a bit of gray in Cocker’s beard, but not in his charismatic, ebullient performance.
Before the show began the crowd was greeted by an LED light scroll, posing such questions as, “How are you tonight?” and the more inscrutable,“Do you want to see a dolphin?” The latter set the tone for what would prove to be a saucy, tongue-in-cheek evening that began with Cocker asking the audience, “Do you remember the first time?” and launching into their song of the same name while pink lights spelling out Pulp flashed behind the band.
Cocker made his way all over the Radio City stage, including up the sides of the building while a red spotlight shone on him during their derisive ode to pornography entitled “This Is Hardcore,” eliciting screams from the audience. During “F.E.E.L.I.N.G.C.A.L.L.E.D.L.O.V.E.” a troupe of Radio City dancers joined the band on stage. Cocker told the audience, “You’ve heard of the Rockettes. These are the Cockettes.”
He wore a scruffy brown suit and executed dance moves that were at times on par with Elvis Presley and at other times brought to mind Bill Knightly’s aging rockstar character from the film Love Actually. This was all by design, as Cocker’s persona is the mockery of rock stars. But when credit is due, Cocker gives it. Midway through the set, he picked up a guitar and started strumming “Louie Louie” and informed the crowd that today would have been the birthday of the song’s writer, Richard Berry. “They call this primitive rock,” Cocker said in reference to the song, “because it only has 3 chords. But this song only has 2.” This was his flip introduction for the Pulp track “Babies.”
Before the show ended, Cocker paid homage to the now-defunct Misshapes club night that was a long-running feature on Saturday nights at the downtown club Don Hill’s. The Misshapes DJs took their name from Pulp’s song lauding the “mis-shapes, mistakes and misfits.” As expected the also offered a rousing rendition of their most well known song, “Common People.” During the encore he flung his jacket into the crowd, saying it was on offer, “if you couldn’t afford a t-shirt.”