The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


April 27, 2012

Jeremiah Tucker: Pulp concert fulfills lifelong dream

JOPLIN, Mo. — Go see your favorite band play live.

If it’s a bit of a drive, if tickets are a little more than you want to pay, if the concert falls on a weekday and it seems like too much of a hassle, if you feel too old to be going to concerts -- don’t let that any of that stop you.

Favorite bands are like old family members. They can go at anytime, and the opportunity to see them may be lost to you forever.  

Lacking wisdom about almost every other facet of life, this is the best and most truthful advice I feel qualified to impart to anyone. I held this opinion before I saw Pulp live in San Francisco last week, but watching the band’s 48-year-old frontman, Jarvis Cocker, make vigorous love to a parade of phantom shapes on stage for two hours certainly reinforced its veracity.

I had read the legendary Britpop band reunited for some gigs last year, and I vowed if they ever came to the United States, where they hadn’t played since 1998, I would see them regardless of where or when they played. Weeks passed and 2011 turned into 2012 with no U.S. dates scheduled.

Then I discovered I had lied to myself. Because when it was announced in January that Pulp would headline one of the nights at Coachella, I didn’t even try to buy tickets.

This, I should note, is my sole exception to the maxim stated above: Huge outdoor festivals are for the children still unafraid of portable toilets and standing for hours with their noses in the bare, unwashed armpit of the person in front of them.

But when Pulp announced a handful of shows in San Francisco and New York City bookending their Coachella performance, I pounced. The show sold out in minutes, and the tickets I managed to snag through a coordinated effort with six other people weren’t the best seats in the house.

But they were good enough. I was seeing Pulp!

I realize this thrilling retelling of how I managed to buy tickets to see my favorite band may not have you on the edge of your seat with beads of sweat popping on your forehead. But that’s kind of my point. To me, this was epic stuff.

I was going to see a band I’d loved since I was 15 years old, and why this feels important sounds silly when trying to describe it. It’s like trying to voice the reasoning behind your favorite color.

I can say when I was screaming every word to “Disco 2000,” I could still remember it being the first Pulp song I ever heard, found on some compilation I got for free with a pair of American Eagle Outfitters cargo shorts. I played that song a hundred times, its opening krum-krum-krum guitar riff irreparably worn into my brain.   

When the band launched into the class anthem “Mis Shapes,” one of the few overtly political songs I like, I remembered playing it in my English class my senior year at Joplin High School to the indifference of my classmates. And I could remember buying the “Different Class” CD, off of which I played “Mis Shapes,” at the old Book Barn.

And the three songs Pulp played off “This Is Hardcore”? Oh man É I don’t know why gloomy pop songs about ennui, mid-life crisis and the myriad ways sex can excite, ruin or humiliate you resonated so much with me at 17, but to this day it remains my favorite album of all time.

I could try to explain to you why the show was flawless, how the band’s deep bench for great songs allowed for a setlist that never lagged even if -- or perhaps because -- they didn’t play nearly all the songs I wanted from “This Is Hardcore” and their final album “We Love Life,” the way Cocker’s stage persona of a charmingly skeevy libertine uncle is endlessly entertaining, how accomplished the band is at letting the personal, narrative songs breathe and ratcheting-up the pop anthems, especially when they’re the same song.  

But it wouldn’t be how I experienced the show. My experience was closer to a sustained and uncritical euphoria primed by years of living with these songs until they were a fundamental part of who I am.

At the show I discovered I wasn’t the only one who felt this way, either. The 2,000 other people shouting every lyric got it, too.

And that’s a great feeling, the give and take in energy between the stage and the audience, losing your mind for a couple hours with a bunch of strangers, each one focusing their adulation in the same direction. The emotional response is maximized when you know and cherish every song the band is playing, even more so if the band is charismatic.

It’s an old and distinctly human experience. I imagine it’s why some people go to church every Sunday.

But my point remains. Go see your favorite band live.

Text Only
  • 071814_whiskeydicks.jpg Stretching out: Whiskey Dick's can do more in a bigger downtown location

    For the Whiskey Dick's owners, it isn't a matter of what's in a name but more of a place where everybody knows your name.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • 072514_LIVEWIREcar.jpg Livewire's new video debuts on Billboard (w/VIDEO)

    The song is currently on Billboard's Top 40 charts for Texas Music and Texas Regional Radio Report. It is the latest release since the band's first full-length album, "Livin'," which was released in 2012 with Way Out West Records.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Film-Hollywoods Ape M_Cast.jpg Benji Tunnell: Great CGI, solid writing make 'Apes' a near-perfect blockbuster

    A couple of weeks ago, we saw "Transformers 4," a big, computer-driven blockbuster film that was symbolic of all that is wrong with filmmaking today.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • polyphony.jpg Marta Churchwell: New Mexico marimba group returns for concert Sunday

    They're back. Polyphony Marimba, the Santa Fe, New Mexico, band that wowed the crowd with African music during a Downtown Joplin Third Thursday last summer, received such a response to that performance that they're coming back on Sunday.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • River Regatta 2013.jpg Dave Woods: Nevada regatta makes for a birthday escape

    In just three weeks, I'll spend my 50th birthday floating down the Colorado River with 35,000 of my closest friends.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow 1 Story

  • 071814_pickin trimmin.jpg New festival focuses on short independent films

    As Jack Truman saw his films play in festivals around the world, one lingering thought persisted: He wished that such festivals existed in his hometown area.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 071614 Glory Days_72.jpg Glory Days Music to resume weekly in-store concerts

    The staff at Glory Days Music have been working their business as usual. Musicians demonstrate guitars, drums and other instruments. Music is sold; lessons are taught. But something has been missing.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • mug_joe-hadsall-112613.jpg Joe Hadsall: All the hidden secrets in "Weird Al's" "Word Crimes" video

    I sincerely believe the "Word Crimes" video will become the most important song in history, and the most mandatory-to-watch video in schools across the country.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • mug_joe-hadsall-112613.jpg Globe Phone Test: Concept is clever, but transitions tricky with Asus PadFone X

    It's kind of embarrassing to point this out, but "Candy Crush Saga" is one of the best ways to illustrate how well the Asus PadFone X, a smartphone and tablet combo really works.

    Anyone who has more than one device will understand this situation completely: Let's say a player fires up "Candy Crush" on his tablet computer and really digs the game. A lot. So much so that he downloads it to his smartphone.

    Only there's one problem: All the progress made on the tablet is stuck on the tablet. The smartphone has a completely separate path of progress, meaning the player has to play each level twice. This makes progress through the game twice as long. (This problem can be fixed by signing up for the game on Facebook, but no one really wants their Facebook friends to know they spend so much time crushin' candy.)

    The Asus PadFone X is the dream solution to this nightmare of a problem.

    Available exclusively from AT&T, the device is actually two devices. A standalone smartphone can be plugged into a tablet computer, meaning the owner can take his pick of how he wants to play the game, and all the progress he makes is saved on one device's hard drive.

    AT&T loaned us a device that we tested for more than two weeks -- didn't like having to send it back -- and we found a lot of its qualities and quirks.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tantric tours in support of latest studio album

    "37 Channels," the latest album from Hugo Ferreira's band, features a lineup of guests including Hinder's Austin Winkler, Shooter Jennings, 3 Doors Down drummer Greg Upchurch, Uncle Kracker guitarist Kevin McCreery, Saving Abel guitarist Scott Bartlett and Leif Garrettt.

    July 11, 2014