There is always something special about a dark night in Glasgow as you walk up the Gallowgate and see the neon Barrowlands sign lit up. When you areRead More
"What time are we meeting?", a unanimous 7:30pm.
A strange time for us meeting pre Libertine gigs. Many a show through the years has started with very early meet ups, singalongs and drinking.
These shows would be my own personal 19th and 20th time seeing the band, it shows a crowd of us who have all grown up and spent over half of our lives heading to see Pete, Carl, Gary and John play some of our favourite songs.
The grown up start to the proceedings before St Lukes is a welcome reprise from the normal all day sessions, singalongs and meeting our new best friends after arranging on internet forums and groups.
St Lukes provides a stunning backdrop for tonights show, set in an old church, minutes away from the famous Barrowlands. It was strange walking in the area for a Libertines show and not being in that venue, however the intimate show in the Carlton certainly made up for this.
Like us, the band have also matured. They come onstage on time and are greeted with rapturous applause. For those not familiar with a Libertines show, to be on time is a strange one for Doherty. If rumours are to be believed, the last time he got a taxi to the Glasgow Academy, a school across Glasgow and not the O2 Academy which caused his lateness.
Starting with the riot inducing "What a Waster!" most of the crowd tap along to the beat, not knowing it as it doesnt feature on any of the albums, the crowd who do go mental have been there from the start. It is a brilliant welcome back!
It is with a look of bemusement when I see the whole audience go crazy for "Gunga Din" a Radio One staple when it was released, though not a classic for my generation of supporting the band, certainly one for the new generation.
This is what I love about them - they are able to bring together many cultures, backgrounds and age groups. The Libertines are for everyone.
I watch tonights show with my sister, friends I met through music, going to concerts and friends from the Libertines.org forum. People I have known for years.
A scene was created many years ago and the Up the Bracket was the soundtrack.
I first saw the band live in 2004 and watched them implode. Pete and Carl famously falling out. It felt like my favourite band were over just as it was getting great.
The return a few years ago created a lot of excitement and opened them up to a whole new fanbase.
Both nights featured the same setlist, with the band going from tear jerking slow numbers, anthems to punk rock and roll, most of the debut album is played with every word sang at the top of everyones voice. Lucky both venues have high ceilings, as they were about to come off.
Horrorshow and Up the Bracket kick off the crowdsurfers both nights, Cant Stand me Now the anti love song has everyone dancing mid set, the catchy "lie dee die" repetition from The Boy Looked at Johnny rings through Glasgow and wont leave my head.
"Youre my Waterloo," arguably the bands finest moment, provides a lovely respite in the middle of the set. To create such an anthem and name check a QPR player (Petes team) and get away with it is pretty special.
On one of Garys solos during the Academy show, Pete starts humming Scottish bagpipe tunes with the crowd then erupting in a chorus of "Here we F*&*C1ng Go!" Welcome to Glasgow!
I did not expect what was coming up, with the drums still going, we were treated to an acapella version of Yazzs smash hit "The Only Way is Up!" BABY it was amazing!
The Good Old Days features my favourite lyrics "If youve lost your faith in love and music, then the end wont be long!" a cry of hope for a positive future. A fitting line to sum up the last year and a half for many of us as the pandemic took away so much from all of us. We had faith we would get through all of this and the soundtrack of music has really helped. There is so much love across both nights. Pete and Carl like to share microphones as the double frontmen sing along. Tonight both pick each other up and spin each other round, friends again and glad they are.
Drew from Babyshambles joins for both nights as John needs to Quarantine for part of the tour. He smiles taking it all in, Gary is just the most excited drummer Ive ever seen. He comes forward a few times and puts his hands in the air and dances along to the crowd cheering him on, think the "Friday, Saturday" viral hit dance!
A finale of "Dont Look Back into the Sun" followed by "Time for Heroes" has everyone on shoulders, hugging and dancing along.
The Libertines play the hits and they have loads of them.
They are not a band who come out and play for themselves with songs no one knows, this band have anthems and a Glaswegian choir is more than ready to sing them back at them.
My friends and me chat after the Academy show on the way back to town about songs that were not played, yet the sets they played were almost perfect. I described it as a DJ set of sorts, with big build ups, drops and knowing when to raise it again.
On Monday night I got to catch up with Grant from the Paddingtons, whose band have supported many a time over the years. Pete had text him to come to Glasgow and you could see the excitement of him seeing them in such a small venue. It was echoed by all who were there, it was special.
In the Academy, dedications are given to the late David Speirs, a friend of Petes who sadly died a few years ago and a stalwart of the Glasgow music scene.
James Allan of Glasvegas also dedicated a song, he is standing near the back in the Academy near us enjoying every minute.
As I woke up on the Tuesday morning, still in last nights clothes, I was grateful to be added to the Academy show. I mean it would be rude not too. I looked back on the previous night and was thinking all about it. A large crowd of us left St Lukes and headed to Sauchiehall Street for a night out, we made up more than half of the people in the venue we went to. It was like old times except the jeans were not as skinny and the hair not as long.
This to me is the Libertines. The people who come to the shows, yes we love it, however its also the community around it all. We are united in song for a couple of hours during two amazing sets, then we all go out afterwards and make new friends, share old stories and enjoy a few drinks.
The Libertines created "Albion" a dream ship that we are all on board, well its just taken on 3000 people from Glasgow and we sail on course.
A photo gallery of both shows can be viewed via the links below.
St Lukes - 22th November 2021
O2 Academy - 23rd November 2021
Review by Craig McGee, photography by Stewart Fullerton
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