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REVIEW: The Libertines reunite at British Summer Time at Hyde Park
Pete barged into Carl, Carl tumbled into Pete and they both ended up sprawling and intertwined on the stage floor.
Given their tumultuous history, some of the audience probably saw that as inevitable.
But don’t worry, the Boys in the Band were larking around and seemed much more likely to kiss than brawl at last night's (July 5) love-in at British Summer Time at Hyde Park.
The headline slot and a big reunion certainly was a Time for Heroes and the crowd could feel it.
A good 15 minutes before the reunited Libertines came on stage, following a slurry and ill-looking Shane MacGowan’s Pogues, a video montage and announcement of more shows at Alexandra Palace in September caused people to swell towards the stage.
When Pete, Carl, Gary and John finally walked out to raptures, it was too much for some.
The band was forced to stop twice early on, during the big singalongs of Boys in the Band and Time for Heroes because of people surging forward and lighting flares.
While that threatened to break the rhythm of the show and spoil the atmosphere early on, The Libertines were unphased and brought out the full box of hits.
Delighted fans for as far as the eye could see sang along to every word of the impeccably performed set.
Gary, as ever, was shirtless and enthusiastic behind the drums; John stony faced and cool.
Crucially, given their previous ructions, Pete and Carl seemed to be enjoying it and feeding off each other’s energy.
Pete Doherty, in particular, looked happy, healthy, coherent and up for it. His sometimes slurred or mumbled vocals were clear as a whistle and warm.
It made for an atmosphere that could bring a nostalgic tear to a fan’s eye.
In an hour and a half set, the band played all of their hits, highlights predictably including rowdy renditions of Can’t Stand Me Now, What a Waster, a raucous Don’t Look Back in to the Sun and a glorious Music When the Lights Go Out.
There’s a lot of water under the bridge since The Libertines last recorded together in 2004, with both front men making some popular tunes, so it was natural to wonder if they would dip into each other’s repertoire as a group.
The answer, it seemed, was no. That was until some lunatic tried to climb the control tower and the band was forced to stop playing, again.
Finding himself alone on the stage with his guitar, hyperactive showman Pete started strumming the opening chords to Albion, which turned into a full steam ahead crowd sing-a-long.
More pleasing was the sight of Carl coming out to sing-a-long too.
There was an element of excitable chaos to the show – clearly desperate to never leave the stage, they sang the hokey cokey and recited a poem to commemorate the First World War – but it was the kind of chaos that only bands like The Libertines in their prime can turn into part of their appeal.
Let’s just hope they do have enough to keep it together for now and somehow manage to record some new material.