The Libertines at Hyde Park: Event Review

Courtesy of Steve Cook via mlk.com
Courtesy of Steve Cook via mlk.com

On April 25th, 2014, the BST Hyde Park Facebook page finally revealed that the rumours were true and that The Libertines would reform on the 5th of July. The band, consisting of Pete Doherty, Carl Barat, John Hassall and Gary Powell, had all agreed to unite once more and headline British Summer Time at Hyde Park, London.

The band played two warmup shows in Glasgow, however there were many reports from fans claiming frontman Doherty arrived late and couldn’t remember some of the words. This left fans attending the Hyde Park date slightly worried, but they were not going to be disappointed.

It is impossible to sum up the day in just one word. Numerous acts supported The Libertines, including big names such as The Pogues, Maximo Park, Spiritualized, and The Enemy. By the time they had all finished their sets, the crowd was more than ready for The Libertines to take to the stage. Despite the typical British weather with the odd shower, everyone in the park seemed to be having an incredible time.

The Libertines opened up with the popular song, “Vertigo,” progressing into one of their most popular hits, “Boys in The Band,” which features on their best-of album. At this point, the first problem of the set occurred. Security completely stopped the show and Doherty informed fans they couldn’t continue until the crowd calmed down a bit. Once things started to settle, the band attempted to play. However, it seemed the crowd could only control themselves for a matter of seconds. The band had clearly been missed during their five year break.

This time, it was Powell who decided to abandon his drum set to calm the venue. He led the chant into White Stripes’ classic song, “Seven Nation Army.” Consequently, Doherty jokingly broke out into the classic song, “Build me a Buttercup.” Eventually the boys got back on track and performed their unforgettable setlist, consisting of, “The Delaney,” “Campaign of hate,” “Time For Heroes,” “Music When The Lights Go Out,” and “Death On The Stairs.”

Again, the event was interrupted. The band halted, and a message appeared on the big screen, reading “please get down from the delay towers,” after numerous fans had decided to climb the towers to get a better view. Towards the end of the day, Hassall and Powell left the stage to allow Doherty and Barat to play a very emotional “France.” However, there was another delay.

The atmosphere was starting to die down, as fans were getting just as annoyed as the band, and Doherty told fans causing the disruptions, “If you don’t stop climbing the towers, Pigman [Doherty] can’t do his solo.” Although a huge favourite to many fans, the song was never finished. Instead the band brought the evening to a glorious ending with the hit song, “I Get Along.”

Similarly to previous shows, Doherty ended the night by reciting a verse from party song “Hokey Pokey.” The boys left the stage after Powell told fans, “You are all amazing and you are all Libertines.”

When we started to leave the venue, numerous fans were huddled together, singing songs as loudly as possible. Others were rushing to the nearest tube station, so as not to miss the last train home.

It wasn’t until the next day that I found out that had been numerous news stories about the event due to the rowdy crowd. The most mentioned worry was about the fans climbing the delay towers, but it also became clear that fans had broken down the barrier to the Barclaycard premier area to get closer to their beloved heroes.

The event has recently won them the UK Festival Headline Performance of the Year. This is a huge achievement for the band, considering their long break from each other. The event was their largest UK appearance so far.

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