The Libertines Alexandra Palace London 27th Sep 2014

The Libertines Alexandra Palace London 27th Sep 2014
imageI finally got to see the Libertines last night at Alexandra Palace with Laura, David and Shauna, who are all fans. I wasn’t sure what to expect, being more familiar with the legend and the Pete Doherty saga, rather than the music. I had in my mind that it might be similar to going to see the Clash or, perhaps more like, Buzzcocks “back in the day”. Whatever my silly comparisons,it actually turned out to be great fun, with Pete, Carl and the band running through just about the entire Libertines catalogue to a packed Ally Pally crowd who danced, cheered, sang (and threw lots of beer) like there was no tomorrow. This was the second of three nights that the Libertines are playing at the massive London venue as part of their reunion tour.
The Alexandra Palace is a grand venue, set up on a hill overlooking the city, but it is hardly ideal for a rock concert. The sound was very murky at the start, but started to improve a few songs in. Pete is looking well, and he and Carl were clearly enjoying themselves. They came onstage just before 9.30pm to a deafening roar from the crowd. Everyone was pleased to see them, this band mean a lot to their fans, and the on/off brotherhood friendship of Pete and Carl is very much on again. The story of the Libertines is as much about two mates, their journey on the good ship Albion, and their attempt to (re)create a time of friendship, fun, and old Englishness, as it is about the poppy songs, the rocky punk riffs, and the slow, moving crowd singalong ballads. For a moment, looking at the grainy black and white images of Pete and Carl sharing the mike, it could be John and Paul up there.
Comments on Twitter this morning: “Pete in pretty good voice”. “Really enjoyed it tonight – they played well, very tight, sound was good, liked the lighting/video screen thing”. “Bloody magnificent”. “Absolutely smashed it”.
Setlist: The Delaney; Campaign of Hate; Vertigo; Time for Heroes; Horrorshow; Begging; The Ha Ha Wall; Music When the Lights Go Out; What Katie Did; The Boy Looked at Johnny; Boys in the Band; Can’t Stand Me Now; Last Post on the Bugle; Don’t Look Back Into the Sun; The Saga; Death on the Stairs; ; Tell the King; The Good Old Days
Encore: You’re My Waterloo; What Became of the Likely Lads; Up the Bracket; What a Waster; I Get Along
libertinestixReturning to my comparison, I think musically more Buzzcocks than Clash. Scrub that, I’ll go for more Stones than the Beatles, and change my image of Pete and Carl, from being John and Paul to being Mick and Keef. Enough of my comparisons, which are getting silly. And no spitting these days.
It was fun to join a big party of 10,000 20-something and 30-something year olds, all enjoying a reunion trip on the good ship Albion. After all, it’s a trip they never thought they would make again, and one many of them have dreamed of. Last night two young mates stood on that stage, sang those songs again, and relived days , not so long ago, when the world was, for a short time, a different and happier place.
We joined the queues stumbling out of the venue, passed the crammed buses, walked down the hill and along to Wood Green, where we caught a bus back to David and Shauna’s. I’d bought some badges and we shared them out; David’s had a picture of the band, Shauna’s a skull and crossbones, Laura’s a mod target image, and mine simply said “The Libertines” in a Sex Pistols style font. I’ve just checked my lapel; I’ve already lost mine. So it goes šŸ™‚

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