2nd March 1996 - Wembley Arena, London (live)


  • Date: Saturday 2nd March 1996
  • Venue: Wembley Arena
  • Location: London

Additional musicians: Pablo Cook (percussion), Antony Genn (acoustic guitar), Yvette Lacey (flute)


Retts for Rise Media, 2nd March 1996:

First, let's get one thing straight: this is not a gig. A gig is a collection of greasy, deliberately badly dressed teenagers moshing in front of a bunch of non-descript guitar wielders; therefore the words "A", "Pulp" and "Gig" do not go together. No, this is a show in the cabaret sense of the word, an "evening of entertainment" where the glitz, glamour, perfect music and standing ovations go hand in hand with the projected images of ice skaters and high-kicking Moulain Rouge dancers. (Note the Pulpish mixture of tragedy, glamour and sexuality).

From the moment that the band appear on stage to the eerie strains of "I-Spy", to the sustained last chords of "Bar Italia" that send the lights down at the end of the evening, we are gripped. Gripped by the sexuality that oozes from every pore of Jarvis' body. Gripped by the ridiculously stylish stage set. Gripped by the pure brilliance of it all.

I didn't want to come to see Pulp at Wembley. Wembley seems like a place to see a horrible, enormous rock band; not a place to see a bunch of kooky British heroes. I was scared that I'd feel like I was watching them on a screen, that they'd seem to distant; but I underestimated their ability to grow, because tonight Pulp have grown big enough to fill the gaping stadium. They don't, God forbid, turn into a stadium band, they simply turn Wembley into a Pulp venue. This is, of course what Pulp do best: change their surroundings to suit themselves. (Think about it: Would you have been seen dead in brown chords and a nylon shirt four years ago?)

Knowing that the majority of their audience were in near-foetal state when first they took to the stage, Pulp stick to their hits and should-have-been hits, going no further into the dark ages than "Babies", and indulging us with a near complete rendition of "Different Class", thrilling us with the extra degree of quirky sexuality which every song is furnished with live.

No matter how anthemic they are on record, Pulp will always be bigger and better live, when every "I want to sleep with common people like you" is emphasised by a bony finger jabbed in your direction; when you can see, during "Underwear" the voyeuristic pleasure in King Jarv's eyes.

When the stage side screen flashes up the question "Why are we here?" It seems like the silliest thing we've ever been asked. If we'd passed up the chance to see Pulp live, would our children ever forgive us?


There is an audience video featuring I Spy, Mile End and the start of Do You Remember the First Time? - at that point the taper is ordered to switch the camera off.

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