It’s not often that a gig, let alone an all-dayer with multiple acts, finishes with a sentimental reading of war poetry. But when it’s essentially a reunion gig for one of our generation’s greatest bands and they have a name like The Libertines, it’s easy to forgive and even enjoy.
It was an oddly fitting end to the day which was as much a nostalgia feeding event as it was a love-in between the reunited Barat and Doherty (and all the fans). People passed out, crowds were crushed, some folk made like King Kong and scaled the speaker towers – all just during The Libertines set. The music and big screens were cut off twice for health and safety reasons among those pesky pushers down the front, but that didn’t deter people from having an amazing time.
The Libertines managed to get through a song and a half before proceedings were first stopped during Boys in the Band. Understandably, it was some of the band’s best songs that seemed to drive people wild, it’s just a shame the venue wasn’t prepared for it.
But essentially the thing that kept every person in Hyde Park in anticipation: would The Libertines still be as insanely good live? In short, yes. There was a slight (ok very slight) air of maturity about their performance as everything seemed to go pretty swimmingly, crowd antics aside.
No new material was played, which didn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone, though in between crowd pleasers and crowd crushing, Pete Doherty managed to give a nod to his beloved QPR whilst taking to the drums for a few bars of the White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army.
The encore even involved a rendition of Babyshambles’ Albion, which not only got everybody singing along, but also provoked a sense of togetherness – this band are done fighting. They got along, shared some hugs and kisses and managed to play with an air of professionalism bands like The Rolling Stones have managed to perfect with far more years and albums under their belt.
It wouldn’t have been a Libertines gig without some trials and tribulations, but despite a few technical hitches, this was a flawless set which appealed to die-hard fans as much as it did to those popping their live Libertines cherry. All in all it was a fantastic experience, even if British Summer Time organisers hadn’t prepared for the Libertines or their rowdy fans.