T in the Park delighted to have Pulp's Babies

"Good evening, we are Pulp. We are Pullll.. We are Pulp," introduces the gangly Jarvis Cocker after some bandy-legged loping onto the Main Stage with his recently reacquainted bandmates, the  tight velvet-suited singer's penchant for irony obvious by their choice of opening number.

"Do you remember the first time? The 30th of July 1994..." apparent fact-fan Jarvis responds in answer to that song title's posed question, recalling their initial appearance at T in the Park. It's a sobering moment when you look around and realise that teenage festival-goers wouldn't even have been born at that time.

For that reason the delightfully joyous set isn't so much a nostalgic celebration as it is a reminder of the power Pulp has to unite tens of thousands of disparate individuals with ease. (Plus also an arched eyebrow whenever, as the likes of Mis-Shapes illustrated.)

So no talking about the past: there's little worse than a band trading off prior glories. Pulp are in no danger of that - Russell Senior's gloriously spindling guitar lines, Steve Abraham's bass hooks and Scottish member Candida Doyle's soaring keyboards all of instant recognisability, even when Jarvis's adroit commentary is always adept at interjecting to steal the scene (as it inevitably does often, and to hilarious effect).

Brandishing the News of The World, the frontman continued along something of a theme, crowing "Do you remember the first time? Do you remember the last time?" before wiping his (thankfully non-exposed) rear end with a final copy of the now-defunct publication to illustrate his disdain for its output. Judging by the reaction, it won't be so fondly missed.

"Let's have it," he said just before obvious contender Disco 2000 brought with it the first proper singalong of the set, complete even with some comedy falsetto 'oohs' ringing out from the audience. There was some errant sweetie-chucking before a winsome Babies, remindful of a more innocent time, before the band were even at much risk of troubling Radio 1. (Beyond the patronage of the sorely missed John Peel.)

The highlights were numerous, though they weren't always winsome and chirpy; the dark thunderous feedback and sweeping strings of This Is Hardcore plus its ominous piano hook was gripping and chilling even as Jarvis climbed atop stage equipment and slithered around suggestively, dangling the microphone down from his crotch as though it was a... Well, you get the idea.

It was an obvious choice to end with but Common People was still fantastically good fun, yet another number to bring together the T in the Park crowd as one. Even in their initial heyday there's fewer finer receptions they could have received. Pulp had zero problem proving their continued relevance, with many (if not most) attendees likely to have sung themselves hoarse during the set. Forget remembering about the first time – let's just hope this wasn't the last time.

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