In a set that was plagued with crowd interruptions, The Libertines’ reunion was filled with energy, controversy and compassion – it was everything the crowd wanted from the band whose history has been so filled with drama.
The set was called to a halt three times due to crowd crushing (one person passed out), flare throwing and the crowd climbing the camera towers. After a patchy stop-start for the first few songs, Carl, Pete, Gary and John got into their stride and revived the audience with a roaring version of ‘Horrorshow’ followed soon after with a raucous ‘The Ha Ha Wall’. Deafening crowd sing-alongs then came in the form of ‘Music When The Lights Go Out’ and ‘What Katie Did’.
The guitars were tight, the bass solid and dependable and the drums kept everyone together. Each Libertine played brilliantly, and Carl and Pete sung as well as they ever have. The sound quality, which was at times patchy (as has often troubled Hyde Park concerts) couldn’t distract from the show of talent on the Main Stage.
When ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’ came round, a song which used to be filled with such anger during their troubled times, Carl and Pete simply sang it to get past it. There was little dwelling on the song which became the theme song to the Libertines’ breakup. Instead the set focused on the happier times – archive images of the band filled the screens behind them adding to the sense of nostalgia.
The Libertines finished with a riotous ‘I Get Along’. Pete and Carl sharing mics and singing to one another made for an emotional end to a thrilling set, hugging and celebrating at the end until they were on the floor. Pete led a singalong of the hokey cokey before praising the crowd and the armed forces, and with Carl, performed a rather beautiful rendition of Siegfried Sassoon’s 1918 poem Suicide In The Trenches to finish. The frontmen were back as one once more.
There was high expectation on this gig after the success of the Glasgow warm-up shows and the boys in the band definitely delivered. Carl and Pete played with a confidence which was lacking in their 2010 reunion – they seemed more focused and much more comfortable together. The announcement of two more dates in London later this year confirms the band’s commitment to one another and hopefully rather than a reunion, this becomes a revival in the Libertines’ history book.
The Libertines at British Summer Time 2014 set list:
‘Boys In The Band’
‘Campaign Of Hate’
‘Time For Heroes’
‘The Ha Ha Wall’
‘Music When The Lights Go Out’
‘What Katy Did’
‘The Boy Looked At Johnny’
‘Can’t Stand Me Now’
‘Last Post On The Bugle’
‘Love On The Dole’
‘Death On The Stairs’
‘Don’t Look Back Into The Sun’
‘Tell The King’
‘Up The Bracket’
‘What A Waster’
‘I Get Along’
Photos from my Virtual Festivals article (and my iPhone)
Did you go to the Libertines? What did you think? I loved it!