At the 3Arena last July it was like The Libertines had never been away – an energetic, endearingly unpolished set was played and the reviews went as they’d always tended to: if you liked them, you liked the show, if you didn’t…you didn’t. It is that degree of gracelessness that got them to where they are after all – even an area performance feels more suited to one of their infamous guerrilla gigs in their own living room – and the fans are still drawn to it over a decade later.
So needless to say the comparatively mature, refined appearances that have followed have been a sight to behold. The aforementioned seemed a precursor of what was to come after the band announced their UK stadium and subsequent European tour after the release of their Anthems For Doomed Youth album in September, but something became immediately apparent at the beginning of their January 30th show at London’s O2: they’ve seem to have clean up their professional act.
The Libertines – including Doherty and Barat – arrived to the stage on time and gave the type of objectively good performance that suggested they had conducted rehearsals and sound checks before hand. It was almost jarring to those of us who had up until this point been institutionalised to the charmingly inelegant, but it’s something we could probably get used to all the same.
It followed a good precedent that has been set and apparently since adhered to since the inception and ending of the UK leg of the tour, and has since continued over into the European one.
Following a run of shows in Germany, there’s now a couple of weeks of proverbial calm before the storm when a spate of gigs from Amsterdam to Brussels to Paris run a little over the course of a week.