Sometimes mere details can transform a good headlining set into a great one. The weather, the occasion maybe, but for the closing night a great frontman made the difference: Jarvis Cocker. Apparently this was billed as some contest over which band deserved to top the bill between The Strokes and Pulp; in the end there was an undisputed winner. You could have even billed this as a rematch since the two bands shared Main Stage duties back in 2002 yet the return of Yorkshire's Britpop heroes hinted at unfinished business.
From the inane crackling of the faulty giant neon sign flashing their name, you were thankful that the band were not taking the slot that seriously. As 'Do You Remember The First Time' lurched into life, the black sheet fell to reveal Cocker in the first of many exuberant poses. Of course, despite his pertinent queries, the clay-like mud, the weekend without a proper meal or kip, no-one wanted to go home. It was a stupid question but the effect was endearing, almost as if Cocker had invited you round to tea and wanted to check upon every single punter.
Whether the retro-chic or the sordid subject material but Pulp's return could not have been better timed, nor could the likes of the gloriously denigrating 'Razzamatazz' or a rendition of 'Pencil Skirt' so teasing it needed to be hushed. Indeed, for a headline performance this felt strangely intimate and when Cocker donned an acoustic guitar for 'Something Changed' you could envisage him yards away in a campsite serenading an audience in front of a bonfire, alas the only fire he was performing in front of was a plastic one but the thought was there.
'Disco 2000' gifted the set an electric pomposity before 'Sorted For E's & Wizz' and 'F.E.E.L.I.N.G.C.A.L.L.E.D.L.O.V.E.' gifted Cocker the limelight whether atop monitors or stylishly gyrating. If his own moves were bordering on disconcerting then the sight of the front row through an eyeball camera was genuinely perplexing. Not just for the illuminated faces shown close-up but the fact that many of them were probably not even born during Pulp's heyday, a fact noted by Cocker and enforced by the likes of 'Babies' and 'Mis-Shapes'.
The grandiose 'This Is Hardcore' gave the set a sense of grounding as did the welcome return of Richard Hawley as guitarist. That they finished on C'ommon People' should not be a surprise but the track's vibrancy still hit home; that despite the years away, Pulp are still as relevant as they were in their heyday.