Pete Doherty kicks off solo shows

Special guests and classic songs see Libertine shine in London

Pete Doherty thrilled fans with the first of his two-night residency at London Hackney Empire this evening (April 11).

The Babyshambles frontman played a rare solo show, billed as An Evening With Pete Doherty, and threw himself into the action from the off.

Arriving onstage promptly at 7.30pm, Doherty introduced his first guest Alan Wass and sung several songs with him before leaving the Lefthand singer to complete his set.

Doherty was back onstage again later to introduce Bert Jansch. Again the pair collaborated on several songs before the former Libertine left the Pentangle legend to complete his set.

Then it was time for Doherty‘s main set. Dressed in the grey suit and trilby he wore to the 2007 Shockwaves NME Awards, the singer took to take the stage alone, winning applause as much for his intricate guitar playing as his impassioned vocals.

Doherty started with a list of favourites including ’Music When The Lights Go Out’, ’In Love With A Feeling’ and ’What A Waster’ – with the latter seeing the singer switching the lyrics to include a spoken word line which ended with him pleading to “save me from the Taliban”.

Doherty then sang more recent material, including ’The Blinding’, which saw him joined by a guest MC, before warning the crowd “I’m going to try a new one on you.”

Despite not having a title, fans warmed to the biblical references of a track the hardcore are now calling ’John The Baptists’ Head’, before the singer moved onto a seedy tale entitled ’Dilly Boys’.

Doherty then played a series of old favourites.

Dedicating ’What Katie Did’ to “my beautiful fiancée”, the singer’s girlfriend, supermodel Kate Moss, then joined him to lend her vocals to ’La Belle Et La Bête’ though she wasn’t the only guest as rapper-prouducer Lethal Bizzle also contributed a verse.

With the likes of ’Albion’ and The Libertines’ songs including ’Death On The Stairs’ and ’Up The Bracket’ inspiring loud sing-a-longs, Doherty again included several new tunes.

One song referenced St Jude, the patron saint of hopeless causes and also the name of the Paddington parish church that spawned the singer’s beloved football team Queens Park Rangers, while ’Do You Know Me’ highlighted his tabloid torments.

After a short interval for “a quick fag and a tune up”, Doherty completed his set.

This time he performed the likes of ’Fuck Forever’ and ’Tell It To Your King’ before rapper The General – wearing a QPR shirt – joined Doherty for an extended version of first Babyshambles album track ’Pentonville’.

Doherty then rounded off the evening, with The Libertines‘ classic ’Time For Heroes’, passionately telling the crowd “Thanks for your support in these troubled times.”

For a report from tomorrow night (April 12) stay tuned to NME.COM, but in the meantime you can take part too.

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