The Libertines, The Forum, London
Friday 27 August 2010
When The Libertines announced that they were reforming for the Reading and Leeds festivals, it is fair to say that the news was not greeted with universal excitement. For all those who idolised the quartet (who split up in 2004 in rather acrimonious circumstances), there were also many who saw the group as being over-hyped and over-rated.
What was undeniable was that when The Libertines got it right, the claims of those who called them the most exciting British band of their generation did not look all that outlandish, and after they called it a day, it was hard not to think that if Pete Doherty and Carl Barât had just been able to keep it together, they could have gone on to greater things.
So there is a feeling of unfinished business being addressed with this warm-up show before the weekend's festival appearances, and in a poignant start, just before they walk out on to the stage, screens show old pictures of the band as the PA plays Vera Lynn's "We'll Meet Again". As they dive into "Horrorshow", any worries about how they sound are dismissed, and although you could never call The Libertines a tight live band, tonight their shambolic approach is definitely a success.
Of course the relationship between Doherty and Barât has always been at the centre of The Libertines experience and the duo's time apart has served to show how much better they are together. Tonight they are happy sharing vocals as if it were the old days, with the interplay between the two for "Can't Stand Me Now" feeling incredibly cathartic.
As they finish, thoughts turn to what is next after this brief run of dates – and certainly, if they can stay on this form, then there could be an exciting new chapter ahead, something which seemed awfully unlikely not so long ago.
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