Edinburgh Hogmanay review: Pulp get the Common People dancing in Princes Street Gardens to bring in the New Year

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Britpop rockers bring in the bells with fantastic greatest hits set in Edinburgh

Sheffield Britpop rockers Pulp saw in the New Year of 2024 in style with a spectacular greatest hits set at Ross Bandstand in Princes Street Gardens on Hogmanay in Edinburgh.

Performing their first Edinburgh show in 20 years, Pulp played to 10,000 revellers as 2023 turned into 2024, with a set laden with hits including ‘Common People’, ‘Babies’, ‘This is Hardcore’ and ‘Disco 2000’.

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The band were supported by synth-pop London act Hot Chip who played a DJ-set featuring classics by the likes of Pet Shop Boys and Eurythmics to get the Hogmanay party started, before wowing the growing crowd with their own ambient dance hits including ‘Over and Over’ and ‘Flutes’.

Pulp on stage at the Edinburgh Hogmanay Concert in the Gardens at Ross Bandstand, on December 31, 2023.Pulp on stage at the Edinburgh Hogmanay Concert in the Gardens at Ross Bandstand, on December 31, 2023.
Pulp on stage at the Edinburgh Hogmanay Concert in the Gardens at Ross Bandstand, on December 31, 2023.

Compere, Glasgow stand-up comedian Susie McCabe, kept the party mood going with laughs, and revealed her love for headliners Pulp, who arrived on stage at around 11pm to a rapturous welcome from the pumped up crowd.

Starting with ‘I spy’, lead singer Jarvis Cocker appeared at the top of a set of stairs at the centre of the stage to begin Pulp’s greatest hits set.

Cocker then told the crowd to “make this the best 50 minutes of the year” before launching into ‘Mis-shapes’ to really get the party started and get the crowd dancing along.

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The mood was then brought down a peg as Jarvis reflected on an up and down year for the band, who returned to the live circuit in 2023 with headline shows across the globe, but lost bass player Steve Mackey, who sadly passed away in March aged 56, and the frontman also revealed the sad news that his mum Christine is dying.

The Sheffield Britpop rockers performed a greatest hits set in Princes Street Gardens under Edinburgh Castle on Sunday night into Monday morning.The Sheffield Britpop rockers performed a greatest hits set in Princes Street Gardens under Edinburgh Castle on Sunday night into Monday morning.
The Sheffield Britpop rockers performed a greatest hits set in Princes Street Gardens under Edinburgh Castle on Sunday night into Monday morning.

Next up, somewhat fittingly, was the reflective ballad ‘Something changed’, which ended with a photo of Christine in her youth on the big screens of the Ross Bandstand stage.

Pink Glow made the most of the LED light wristbands given out to the crowd on arrival, with Jarvis instructing his fans to wave their arms in the air to create an incredible sight as the wristbands turned pink for this number.

The cinematic ‘This is Hardcore’ was performed with Jarvis singing from a comfortable looking lounge chair at the top of the staircase under a CGI chandelier on the big screen behind him.

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Fans’ favourite ‘Babies’ was next, with the crowd, now truly in the party mood, dancing and singing along to every word. Before former Pulp member and solo star in his own right Richard Hawley joined them on stage for the “last song you’re going to hear of 2023”, the incredible ‘Sunrise’, starting off gently before exploding into an incredible guitar riff which goes on and on and left the crowd wanting more as the band left the stage for the bells.

Following the spectacular fireworks display over Edinburgh Castle, Pulp returned to the stage to start 2024 with a bang, with Jarvis instigating a clap-along for Britpop classic ‘Disco 2000’, which saw the bouncy crowd covered in streamers from the stage.

Jarvis then took a selfie with the crowd for his mum Christine, before fans were treated to a new song “only played in Mexico” – Background Noise, which was warmly welcomed

The band then played ‘Lipgloss’ for the “first time this millennium”, before launching into ‘Monday Morning’, rather fittingly.

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Jarvis then dedicated ‘Underwear’ to anyone wearing thermal underwear as the temperature hovered above freezing in Edinburgh. Before, of course, closing the show with Pulp’s signature tune, ‘Common People’, complete with two bagpipers, which interestingly actually worked really well, and were again joined by Hawley for this anthemic closer, which sent the crowd home happy after another spectacular Hogmanay Concert in the Gardens.

All in all, an incredible set by Pulp as they made up for lost time in the Capital and proved to be well worth the wait since their last Edinburgh show in 2003.

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