Pulp, Thetford

SEAN ATKINS Pulp's Forestry Commission tour of the country rolled into Thetford Forest with thousands of fans enjoying a very special evening.

SEAN ATKINS

Pulp's Forestry Commission tour of the country rolled into Thetford Forest last night, with thousands of fans enjoying a very special evening.

In terms of atmosphere, Thetford Forest was some-where between Blickling's classy concerts and the more chaotic mud-fest at Glastonbury.

The unprepared queued for burgers and beer while family groups set up deck chairs and laid out elaborate picnics.

And with many fans travel-ling to the area to make a weekend of it, there was no shortage of early arrivals.

Hours before even the support band appeared, people of all ages were enjoying the late sunshine on one of the longest days of the year.

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The Forestry Commission certainly deserves credit for the concerts – a marketing success in their own right, but also a wonderful introduction here for those of us who would not otherwise have thought of going down to the woods today.

There was a burst of excitement when Pulp took to the stage but the laid-back atmosphere persisted thanks to relaxed banter from Jarvis Cocker.

The lanky front man with an ironic dress sense appears an unlikely popstar but he is charismatic and cool in a live show.

Clearly revelling in Pulp's reputation for being different, he delighted in the opening line "Welcome to Thetford" – not a common phrase in the world of rock 'n' roll.

He told the crowd the Forestry Commission tour was doing him good.

"Look at my cheeks – I haven't had this much fresh air in three years," he said.

Cocker went on to describe the band's outing on the Broads, where their boat got stuck under a bridge and they needed to be rescued.

Cocker's personality is what makes Pulp's relationship with their fans so special.

But it's the music that matters and the whole band were on fine form.

Sorted, from the height of the band's fame in the mid '90s, got a great reception.

But material from current album We Love Life showed Pulp are creatively as good as ever.

The appropriately named Trees and the powerful Bad Cover Version particularly impressed.

The value-for-money set eventually reached a second encore just as darkness finally took over and a full moon could be seen over the treetops.

The show ended, as it surely had to, with Pulp's most memorable hit, Common People.

The band rocked, the audience sang along and Cocker strutted and danced like a man possessed.

The reaction was fantastic and Cocker, in typical style, thanked everyone for their support and warned us to be careful of bears on our way back through the forest.

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