As you might have guessed, I am back from Planet San Francisco. I over-drank, over-ate and over-spent, which is not much different from my typical weekend. I did not over-rock -- that's not possible. Obviously, the crowning event of my expedition was the triumphant return of Pulp to the city by the bay. The good news is that it was one of the best concert experiences I've ever had. The bad news is that life might be downhill from here. I'm also sad to report that the two New York shows are now substandard compared to the San Francisco show.
Surprising setlist from Jarvis & Co., which included two encores and two pre-His N' Hers tracks.
- Do You Remember The First Time
- Something Changed
- Disco 2000
- Sorted For E's & Wizz
- Acrylic Afternoons
- Pencil Skirt
- Like A Friend
- This Is Hardcore
- Bar Italia
- Common People
- FIRST ENCORE: Glory Days
- Party Hard
- SECOND ENCORE: My Lighthouse
This being San Francisco, I suspected Pulp brought out the spaced-out, psych jam that is O.U. to fit the surroundings. I hadn't even thought of that song as a possibility in any of these shows. They ended with their first single, "My Lighthouse" to mark its released on April 18th, 1983. Then "Acrylic Afternoons" replaced "F.E.E.L.I.N.G. C.A.L.L.E.D. L.O.V.E.", which I would assume because they couldn't hire interpretive dancers at the last moment. Also, "I Spy" was jettisoned as well, which is fine by me because I'm not a fan. Just to whinge a little, I still would have like to have heard "Help the Aged" in the show. I love that part of the chorus that goes "No big deal so give us all a feel. Funny how it all falls away." Maybe, Jarvis can't reach those high notes anymore.
So this is the main difference between San Francisco and New York -- San Francisco was a rock show. People going mental, jumping around in unison, bras and beers thrown on stage, screaming your head off, chanting the band's name, Jarvis letting the crowd sing parts of Common People, getting all sweaty and messy from dancing and leaving the end of the show spent, dis-shelved and with a stupid grin on your face. New York was a performance -- operatic, theatrical, artistic, grandiose. It was a different feeling.
That's not to say that people went nuts in New York. It was just that Pulp seemed more like a band in San Francisco. The Warfield stage is about a third of the size of Radio City, so the band were physically closer together and able to interact. The back video screens were not present. I assume it couldn't fit or too expensive to truck in from Coachella. Then with the venue being general admission, people pressed up against each other and feed off of each others energy. After I shot my photos, I made my way towards the middle and everyone around me were loving every second of the show.
The Warfield is a lovely venue with great old world fixtures, architecture and charm. It wasn't as big as I though it would be. It's about the same size on the floor as the Wellmont. It does have elevated levels so you can see over the people. The lobby has a grand staircase to the balcony with photos on the wall from past shows. It's in heart of the city where it's a little long in the tooth on Market Street. It's next to a ye olde strip club, Crazy Horse.
During Jarvis's many ramblings on the night, he talked about the weirdness of San Francisco pertaining to the odd people of the city. From the eccentric to the deranged, you have to embrace the city for its uniqueness. As I've been telling people, San Francisco is a fantastic destination -- amazing food, art scene, great neighborhoods, passionate sports fans, trips into wine country, a sense of history and unique architecture. On the other side, the homeless people is a major eyesore. Walking back to my hotel from the after-party, it looked like some post-apocalyptic cityscape with zombie inhabitants.
In any event, Jarvis was his usual charming self. He read from books that he bought at City Lights, and I was there that afternoon, but we didn't cross paths. I did drink wine with a local legend, but you will have to follow me on twitter to find that out. Jarvis is just the man. There's nobody else like, and we won't see the likes him in any shape or form.
That's it from Pulp land for 2012. Three shows in the books. Maybe the band will get some studio time in to record some new material once their summer of festivals is done. We shall see what Pulp 3.0 has in store.
I do have some of the best photos I think I've ever taken. If Jarvis ever searches the internet for himself, I have this to say to you, "Brother, I made you look like an icon."