The Libertines – Hyde Park.

On a walk to school in 2003 my friend Mike bought a copy of the NME. On the cover was a bulb-eyed, shaven-headed young man who was apparently the coolest thing that had happened that week. His name was Peter Doherty. He had been arrested for stealing from his bandmate’s flat while they were on tour without him in Japan. Something about the image stayed with me and I resolved to give this band a listen. I got hold of Up The Bracket and fell in love.
Last night, The Libertines played together for the first time in four years. I was there at Reading. I was here now. Watching them walk out onto the stage in their ragamuffin finery took me back to where I originally got my faith for love and music. It was an incredible thing to be a part of. There was none of the distance or animosity that fans encounter from one another in most gigs, everyone dug in and became the stylish kids in the riots. I screamed lyrics into the faces of people I had never met and would never see again. We smashed into each other, twirling in Converse and Chelsea boot trampled circles as we became the boys in the band. Sweat ran down every face and contorted spine. It was absolute bliss.
Personally it was incredible for being able to share the gig with a friend that I have loved The Libertines alongside for a number of years. Their fans tend to be drawn towards each other, there’s a brothers in arms mentality when it comes to being a Libs fan, especially when you have to throw all the tabloid hoopla out of the way of anyone who dares query their greatness. Part of what makes them so good is that everyone is aware that the whole thing can implode or explode at any moment. It was only two songs into their set before they had to stop because people were being crushed into the barriers at the front.
Through Up The Bracket and What A Waster, two fans stripped stark bollock naked and clambered onto the lighting rig to my right. Soon a hundred other begging men and women had followed after them, mangled bodies pressed together, a number beginning to head up the rigging itself before the band were stopped once more and they were forced to climb back down. This left the band with the opportunity to take things down a notch and after a failed plunge of France, Peter took up the call of Albion and the crowd adored it, Carl singing a verse of the Babyshambles song in solidarity. The set ended with I Get Along and a reading of Sassoon’s 1918 poem, Suicide In The Trenches. There was no encore. There could be no encore. They had done what they needed to do. All that was left was the announcement of two shows at the Ally Pally in September for which we have already secured tickets.

The band played:
‘Vertigo’
‘Boys In The Band’
‘The Delaney’
‘Campaign Of Hate’
‘Time For Heroes’
‘Horrorshow’
‘Begging’
‘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’
‘Radio America’
‘Don’t Look Back Into The Sun’
‘Tell The King’
‘Up The Bracket’
‘What A Waster’
‘France’
‘Albion’
‘I Get Along’

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