"The good ship Albion strays off course"
The Libertines at Hyde Park started started as it ended, in chaos. By 3PM, the stitching on the red jackets was already unravelling. The Theatre venue for support acts was full, bursting to capacity, their was no chance for many wolf Alice fans to get a look in and further disruption as both Graham Coxen and Swim Deep sets had to be cancelled.
The shambolic aura of the libertines seemed to take over the whole event. Which on the previous day for Black Sabbath, ran with military precision, matched with a mature audience there to have a good time and enjoy the heavier side of music.
On the Saturday it was not to be, with bars running out of beers by 6PM, male temperaments were being pushed to their limit having to order £7.50 Cocktails; These were quickly expelled, as any flat upright surface was met with lines of lads urinating up them.
The Mid afternoon set from Spiritualized, an odd choice for such an indie focused bill, wasn't enough of a distraction as time passed and more alcohol was consumed. A cheery Pogues did lighten the mood, although it still got rowdy enough for their set to be cut short due to crowd pushing.
The stage at 9pm was lit up with flickering montages of old photos and clips from the Libertines glory days, this set anticipation even higher amongst the restless audience.
Finally the Libertines were on stage, Pete and Carl sharing microphones all grudges forgotten breaking into 'Vertigo.' It only took the second song 'boys in the band', for the music to be halted due to crushing at the front. Doherty and drummer Gary Powell had to calm the audience down with a odd rendition of 'fill me Up buttercup'. This stop and start seemed to drain the momentum from the group, and the rhythm section probably suffered the most. I couldn't help but feel sorry for them. They were and have always been the bands the safety net during live gigs and John Hassel's ashen face said it all.
With the shaky start out the way, the rest of the set continued in typical Libertines fashion. Appearing pub drunk and sloppy may go down well in small clubs, but even with the bounty of sing along songs the band have, they seemed to lose grip over such a large audience (even if everyone did know all the words).
For the adoring fans at the barrier, who would gladly suffer being saved from the crowd by security just to be closer to their heroes, it was most likely a great night and one they won't forget. For others it was a memorable let down, with a greying Doherty now telling his audience to behave themselves when they climbed up the on the lighting platforms, his days of debauchery long forgotten. It is a blessing that with two more gigs announced for Alexander Palace, this wasn't the final voyage for the Libertines.