Who: The Libertines
Where and When: Main Stage. Reading Festival, 9.30pm, Saturday.
Vibe: Depending upon the mixed reactions, either business-like (there to collect the cash and run) or a triumphant victory, eked out with a hard-fought, military precision. This reviewer, having been positioned near to the front and surrounded by ecstatic fans, is going with the latter.
Best bit: ‘Don’t Look Back Into the Sun’ encapsulated everything that we hoped for: late night rock ‘n’ roll euphoria.
Low point: Was there a low point? The band were forced off stage during ‘Time For Heroes’ due to crowd safety issues stopping the set, but if anything they returned even more fired up than before and the remaining songs burnt even more brightly.
Banter: “Look out for one another. If someone goes down don’t tread on their head.” (Pete Doherty)
Verdict: This was a crystalisation of the very best of The Libertines, with all the impurities removed. Gone was the inclination to veer towards wreck and ruin; the tabloid tales of heroin and Kate Moss; the messy performances that did the songs no justice.
Instead, this was a throbbing crowd of thousands of festival-goers, youth in epiphany. On stage: a band re-revealing a glimpse of its huge potential.
Pete, Carl, Gary and John are back. Here’s hoping they’re back to stay.
Watch the fans’ reactions here:
Watch the BBC’s coverage here: