The Japanese language support act, on solo acoustic guitar was an odd choice for the night and presumably had been drafted in by ‘Somewhere’, many of the audience waiting for a punch line that never materialised. Finally the curtain is raised and Carl and Pete walk onto the stage smartly dressed in suits and bathed in gentle candlelight. The second of two nights here at this iconic venue sees an audience that have come from far and wide to witness an acoustic celebration of this songwriting partnership. The highs and the lows of The Libertines have been well documented and 2019 sees them in possibly their most stable position, still very much in demand and now able jointly to reflect on their turbulent career.
There is a real sense of comradery amongst the revellers tonight and the bar etiquette is a pleasure to behold. It seems everyone is freely chatting with all and sundry, a real family vibe with bar staff amongst the friendliest I can remember. It’s the perfect backdrop to the sing-a-long evening which swiftly gets underway with ‘Gunga Din’ and the uncompromising ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’.
Having written some of the best songs of the noughties we are treated to some veritable classics and when The Dirty Pretty Strings and orchestra join the proceedings all dressed in the iconic red military jackets it’s clear that much thought has gone onto the event.
Pete’s jacket stays on throughout as does his hat, Carl relieves himself of the jacket while retaining his hat as he takes the lead vocal on ‘What Katie Did’. ‘For Lovers’ and ‘Albion’ follow and the relaxed vibe and accompanying musicians prove to be the perfect showcase for the material which sounds as fresh as ever.
Taking turns on main vocals and uniting on many we slip and slide through the decade with particular favourites ‘Boys in the Band’, ‘What a Waster’ and the classic ‘Don’t Look Back Into the Sun’.
Pete is alert and in fine voice, the duo clearly enjoying the evening surrounded by candles. Long stares confirm that the duo are on firm footing tonight, at least, and before we know it the bar is almost dry and the night winds itself to and end. With cameras protruding from all angles I expect it won’t be long before we can all relive what was a stunning evening of joyous music. Long live The Libertines!