Once a Libertine, always a Libertine.
Ten years after their split, the band reunite for their headline gig at London's Hyde Park for British Summer Time.
Ten years ago, The Libertines waved goodbye to their devoted fans. A quartet who’s stitches were unravelling for all to see and it seemed the right time to call it a day. Fast forward some years during which Mr Doherty records a solo album and tries out the acting world, as does Mr Barât who also pursues many other musical projects, we all enter into the infamous Hyde Park to relive some of our nostalgic teen years.
One cannot take anything away from a band who's fans are spread across Hyde Park all singing each song word for word; love is in the air for the indie rock band, not a doubt about that, but the maturity levels were at an all time low. Each person in the crowd with a beer in hand, a cigarette in the other, (burning into the filter) a sweaty brow and a gurn to match.
Hang on a second, all these things can’t be worthy of me mentioning them, and no they aren’t. But the lack of care for what was going on onstage did bother me. Come on everyone, we’re at a gig that you paid for to see THE LIBERTINES, not on the rooftop of Shoreditch House on a Sunday afternoon dropping a bomb just because you can. This description of one person, became the entire audience, squashing everyone at the front to the extent where the band had to stop playing three times to calm everyone down and avoid a bad injury.
All of that ridiculousness out of the way, the four Libertines started out their set with full energy numbers such as ‘Vertigo’, ‘Boys In The Band’ and ‘Campaign Of Hate’. Musicianship was great and you can’t knock it, they've still got it! The vocals from both front-men were just as they used to be, the consistent drumming from Gary Powell was awesome and the catchy bass licks from Mr Hassall were perfectly on point.
Each track played was a trip into memory lane, the energy was high and it felt a very complete event. After so many years of being apart, it was like no time had ever passed and we were part of the beautiful world of The Libertines once more. Favourites and heartwarming tracks ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’ and ‘Don’t Look Back Into The Sun’ serenaded the smiley audience with a pink and purple backdrop of a sky as the sun was setting.
Playing out their set, the band knocked out a frenzied high energy rendition of ‘I Get Along’ from their 2002 album Up The Bracket. Ending the song the two old timer buddies Pete and Carl ended up in a embrace that turned into them falling on the floor. Standing up again smiling, the two singer/guitarists stood either side of a microphone. “We remember and honour those who gave their lives for liberty. We thought it was nerve-wracking coming out here tonight but leaving Kings Cross station with a rifle across your back in 1914 must have been really hard” says Pete. The two then began to recite the Siegfried Sassoon 1918 poem, ‘Suicide In The Trenches’ a line each at a time.
It was a touching and memorable night. Heartwarming and all emotions in between - you can’t say they’ve lost it.
Always a Libertine.