So… how was The Libertines’ first full show since they split in 2004? It was pretty incredible. And firstly, more than anything else, that’s a relief.
The band’s comeback had, in contrast with their reputation for chaos, been meticulously planned up to the point of them actually getting on stage.
But you can’t plan for what Carl has called “the P factor”, so it was with an exhale gust that could have knocked over a brick wall that they were greeted last night, at about 9:15pm, at the HMV Forum in London for a friends and family show ahead of tomorrow’s main gig.
All the info is at NME.COM/news now. But here are a few of the main points that ran through my brain as I screeched and jumped up and down a lot in the front row.
1. Most importantly, they sound tight. The rehearsals and the sense of urgency around the Reading And Leeds Festivals shows have clearly knocked them into shape. There’s still the rickety charm but it was derived from their ramshackle, roaming-guitar style rather than just bum notes, as often used to be the case.
2. It’s great to see a dimension to Pete’s playing that he hasn’t indulged in for a while – as a meandering second guitarist. Solo and in Babyshambles he’s always the frontman, but seeing him kick away from the microphone and noodle head-down for some songs is a reminder of what a good musician he can be.
3. This is still very much the Pete and Carl show. While the pair were dressed in designer threads John Hassall wore jeans and trainers and was a visually low presence throughout, beyond throwing in some backing vocals. This was a bit of a shame.
Fan footage by Heardism
4. They’re nervous. Although a lot of the glances Pete and Carl shot at each other were puppyish smiles, this wasn’t a knees-up love-in. They were intent on pulling this off and the show will have done their nerves a world of good.
Not bad for a “live rehearsal”. Tonight’s gig, with a few thousand screaming Libertines fans, should be even more interesting…
Are you going to see The Libertines tonight? We want your reviews and photos. Email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org by 10am tomorrow (26 August) – we’ll publish the best on the site.
For more on The Libertines, pick up our Reading and Leeds preview issue, on sale Wednesday 25 August