The gig was previously halted over concerns for the audience's safety
The Libertines paid tribute to the armed forces as they brought their London comeback gig to a close tonight (July 5).
The band, who played two intimate warm-up shows at Glasgow’s Barrowlands venue last weekend (June 28, 29), finished their set with dual frontmen Carl Barat and Pete Doherty reciting Siegfried Sassoon’s 1918 poem, Suicide In The Trenches.
After the pair recounted the poem word for word, which they also recited at the NME Awards in 2004, Doherty addressed the audience, saying: “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.”
Earlier, the band’s set had to be halted over concerns for the crowd’s safety. The four piece had opened with ‘Vertigo’ and were midway through second song ‘Boys In The Band’ when security came on stage and stopped the performance. Doherty motioned to the crowd to move back before telling them: “We can’t carry on if you don’t calm down a bit.”
The Libertines then restarted where they left off only to be halted again seconds later. Drummer Gary Powell came down to the front of the stage to tell the crowd to calm down before leading them in a chant of the riff to The White Stripes’ ‘Seven Nation Army’. Doherty then joined in with a run through of The Foundations’ ‘Build Me Up Buttercup’.
Things eventually got moving again with ‘The Delaney’ and ‘Campaign Of Hate’. Doherty then dedicated ‘Time For Heroes’ to the Guildford Four’s Gerry Conlon, saying: “Gerry Conlon, if you’re looking down this afternoon” before tearing into the song.
A rendition of ‘Music When The Lights Go Out’ was preceded by Doherty chanting “Albion-ey, Albion-ey, ole, ole, ole”. After the song Barat playfully leapfrogged over the guitarist. The duo later shared an embrace before debut album track ‘Death On The Stairs’.
Towards the end of the set things had to be halted once more as fans climbed the sound towers to get a better view of the show. Powell and bassist John Hassall had left the stage for Doherty and Barat to play a version of stripped-down song ‘France’. Barat scolded fans as the gig was further delayed, telling them: “If you don’t stop climbing the towers, Pigman [Doherty] can’t do his solo.” The song was never played completely because of the stoppage.
“I wanted to drive my camper van into the backstage area,” Doherty revealed shortly after. “The security guards said ‘you don’t want to do that because of the traffic’. I wanted to drive it in and put union jacks on top. They said ‘you’ve got nothing to fly the flag for’ and I said what about William Blake? What about Jock Scott? What about Johnny Marr? What about Carl Barat?” The band then played ‘Albion’, which saw Doherty shouting out Barat’s hometown of Basingstoke.
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As the show came to a close, Doherty chanted once again over the microphone, this time singing “Libertine til I die/Libertine til I die/I know I am, I’m sure I am, Queen’s Park Rangers til I die.” They then brought the set to a riotous end with ‘I Get Along’ which concluded with Barat and Doherty jumping around hugging until they brought each other down to the floor.
As the four band members gathered in a line to salute their fans, Doherty initiated a burst of the hokey cokey while Powell told them: “You are all amazing and you are all Libertines.”
Earlier in the day, more issues had stopped some of the bands on the line-up from playing, including Swim Deep and Graham Coxon. Due to play in the Barclaycard Theatre, signs outside told fans the stage was closed due to a technical fault. North London quartet Wolf Alice were able to play on the same stage early in the afternoon, playing a similar set to that which they played at Glastonbury a week earlier. “Who’s excited to see The Libertines later?” asked guitarist Joff Oddie, with drummer Joel Amey adding: “What a day for friendship!” The group then launched into a version of their second single ‘Bros’, which followed the likes of ‘Blush’ and a cover of Chris Isaak’s ‘Wicked Games’. The band finished their set with debut single ‘Fluffy’, which concluded with bassist Theo Ellis jumping in the crowd.
Meanwhile, Spiritualized played a late afternoon set on the main stage, following Newcastle’s Maximo Park. Frontman J Spaceman sat on a chair on the right hand stage throughout, dressed all in white and playing a red guitar. He was joined by two backing singers, also dressed head-to-toe in-white, and his bandmates. The group played songs from across their back catalogue in front of visuals of black and white circles, such as ‘Hey Jane’ and ‘Sweet Talk’.
Irish band The Pogues followed them 45 minutes later and also had their set halted as a fan received medical attention. The stoppage came towards the end of the group’s performance, which had seen them play tracks like ‘Dirty Old Town’ and ‘Sally MacLennane’. “We’ll be back soon if it’s suitable to do so,” they told the crowd as singer Shane MacGowan puffed on a cigarette. They then returned for one more song before having to end their set.
Make sure you pick up next week’s issue of NME, out July 9 on newsstands and available digitally, for an exclusive interview with The Libertines talking about what the future holds for the band, plus the definitive verdict on their comeback shows.
The Libertines played:
‘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’