The Libertines tonight (June 26) performed a secret set on The Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury, filling the gap in the line-up left vacant when Florence + The Machine stepped up to the headline slot to replace the injured Dave Grohl’s Foo Fighters. Scoll below to see footage.
Despite some circulating rumours online, The Libertines’ presence on the bill remained a well-kept secret on site, and few were certain it would be the London group filling the slot marked ‘To Be Announced’ on the screens displaying the line-up at the sides of the stage. In the crowd before the set, one man said he “hoped it was Elbow”, another was sure it was The Libertines and one was trying to work out if the kit being assembled on stage fit with the four-piece’s line-up. “I hope it’s Taylor Swift”, said another.
The Libertines had, in fact, arrived by helicopter just hours before. At 8.23pm, a banner, featuring the cover of the band’s 2002 debut album ‘Up The Bracket’ was hoisted above the video screen at the rear of the stage, and the band, led by Pete Doherty, arrived to a huge roar from the crowd. Those watching at the side of the stage included Michael Eavis, Metallica’s Lars Ulrich and Florence Welch.
The group – completed by guitarist/singer Carl Barat, bassist John Hassall and drummer Gary Powell, begun with ‘Delaney’ and ‘Vertigo’, after which Doherty took a deep swig from a bottle of beer. “Evening Glastonbury, hello,” said Doherty, before paying tribute to his late friend Alan Wass, who died of a heart attack in April this year. Doherty said: “Mr Alan Wass if you’re up there looking down, I’m down here looking up.” The band then played ‘Time For Heroes’, after which Barat removed his bandana and tied it around Pete’s waist.
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“If you’ve quite got that out of your system,” said Pete, stood at the microphone with Carl, before playing ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’. A cheer was raised when Doherty played the harmonica. The band’s brand new song, ‘Gunga Gin’ from the forthcoming third album, came next, with a slow, almost reggae like groove and a high-pitched guitar line.
‘What Katy Did’ and ‘The Boy Looked At Johnny’ followed, before Barat called singer-songwriter Ed Harcourt to the stage – twice, because it took him some time to arrive – to play keyboards on a song Barat described as being “very important to us”. ‘You’re My Waterloo’, a slow, subtle number, which will also appear on this year’s new LP, followed. Harcourt remained for lush new track ‘Anthem For Doomed Youth’, played for the first time tonight. Harcourt exited before a well-received ‘Death On The Stairs’.
Doherty commented that it was “nice to see a QPR flag in the crowd” before playing ‘The Good Old Days’ and, after a brief pause where Barat said they were “working out the setlist”, ‘Tell The King’, ‘I Get Along’ and ‘What A Waster’, which begun with Barat and Doherty sharing a lingering moment staring into one another’s eyes.
The set ended with ‘Don’t Look Back Into The Sun’, after which the band took their bows at the front of the stage. Shortly after performing, they left the site by helicopter. They appear at the Ahmad Tea Music Festival in Moscow, Russia, tomorrow.
‘Time For Heroes’
‘Can’t Stand Me Now’
‘The Ha Ha Wall’
‘Music When The Lights Go Out’
‘What Katie Did’
‘The Boy Looked At Johnny’
‘Boys In The Band’
‘You’re My Waterloo’
‘Anthem For Doomed Youth’
‘Death On The Stairs’
‘The Good Old Days’
‘Tell The King’
‘I Get Along’
‘What A Waster’
‘Don’t Look Back Into The Sun’