A friend recently reviewed the Pete Doherty gig for NME (click here for the article), and as one of the very few people in that room who wasn’t a die hard fan of the Libertines or team Doherty; I felt hesitant to give my account of the whole experience. After all, I really couldn’t tell you a song that either him or his former band had created. Nevertheless, two weeks (and several cups of rooibos tea) later, I feel as if the hype has died down, and I can really ‘tell it how it was’.
He needs help. I spent a lot of time, picking my words. But that was all that I could come up each time I replayed the events of that night. I’ve rewritten this article about 4 times now and that is still the only thing that leaps out at me. That and: He really needs help. Both I and the German had briefly lived just off Camden road station; at the time when he and Amy Winehouse had been at the height of their infamy, so I’d be lying if I hadn’t heard all the stories, or even seen them (from afar), swanning around, surrounded by screaming fans. But it was many years later, he was in Thailand for rehab, and so I mistakenly assumed that all of that must have changed. Right? Wrong. Apart from the considerable weight gain, the sallowness and unhealthy hue of someone still battling the toxins of the rock and roll lifestyle, was clearly evident from the moment he walked into the room; even though the crowd was shoving one another to see him. As he got closer, it became clear to me that this was a man still in the throes of the very demons he had tried to escape. Judging from my friend’s video, he actually tripped over my bag to get to the stage, so before you question my observation – I got a close look at him.
With an over-sized glass of what I can only guess to be a mojito, he crooned away. What was quite disturbing was the fact that the crowd seemed to egg him on, so each swig, would be followed by rapturous roaring. Unable to join in with the completely alien songs, I watched on at the ailing man on center stage. Guitar in hand, unsteady and aloof, yet still commanding the crowd. Even solo and (presumably) drunk he was a formidable force. The crowd was practically eating out of his hands. He performed some favorites that seems to get people singing, such as: ‘Don’t Look Back into the Sun’ ‘La Belle Et La Bete’ ‘Carry On Up The Morning’ ‘For Lovers’ ‘Beg, Steal Or Borrow’ ‘Death On The Stairs’ ‘Last Of The English Roses’ ‘Music When The Lights Go Out’ ‘Sheepskin Tearaway’ ‘What Katie Did’ ‘What A Waster’ ‘Albion’ ‘Fuck Forever’ (I only know this is what he performed because my friends told me). And just like that he was gone. Many stayed behind to get a glimpse of the star go. I left because I had yoga in the morning. Tonight he’ll be playing Brixton Jamm. I hope. Tickets are already sold out. All pictures featured in this article are the explicit property of @shedoesliving and @ytresarannukul and cannot be reused without express permission.