Music News: The Libertines Play Secret Set at Glastonbury

For hours, Glasto-goers had been speculating as to who might be set to play the conveniently empty slot created by the promotion of Florence + the Machine to the reputable role of headliner, following Dave Grohl’s little accident earlier this month . All was revealed as an impressive backdrop displaying the album art of The Libertines 2002 cult classic Up The Bracket was slowly erected before the crowd, and Vera Lynn’s WWII anthem, ‘We’ll Meet Again’ echoed around the Pyramid Stage.

Peter, Carl, Gary and John took to Glastonbury’s main stage in obvious good spirits, despite a long helicopter journey, landing just hours before launching into ‘The Delaney,’ and opening their second performance of 2015 following a monumental show at Holland’s Best Kept Secret Festival last weekend.

After a great deal of speculation regarding who would play the secret set, with rumours ranging from Taylor Swift to Metallica, an Instagram post from the boys in the band let the world know that The Libertines were on their way to Glasto – the Pyramid Stage crowd, however, were unaware of the billing.

Greying classics like ‘Time for Heroes,’ ‘Music When The Lights Go Out’ and ‘What Katie Did’ awoke the somewhat sleepy Glasto audience, as viewers at home were treated to some close-ups of Doherty and Barat nostalgically sharing a single microphone, not due to any technical difficulty (although a number of these did plague the set), but because of the obvious love the pair have for each other, a love seemingly unwavering despite years of separation.

The Libertines Glastonbury performance was an opportunity to showcase new music from their upcoming album, expected to be released in December of this year. ‘Gunga Gin’ was the first unfamiliar track offered on Friday evening. Jagged, stuttering guitar created a reggae feel to the song, before a sudden change of tempo that could have seen the new tune fit snugly into the track listing of either of the band’s first two records. The performance of the song previously referred to as ‘Woke Up Again’ in interviews certainly added to the excitement of fans, due to talk of an impending July single release.

Joined on stage by singer-songwriter Ed Harcourt and Barat’s girlfriend Edie Langley, The Libertines played the echoing ‘Anthem For Doomed Youth’ and the wistful ‘You’re my Waterloo,’ written in the early days of The Libertines. Both of these tracks are set to feature on the new release.

The euphoria of a home stretch high was created when the make-shift set list allowed for a succession of fan favourites. ‘Death On The Stairs,’ ‘The Good Old Days,’ ‘Tell The King,’ ‘I Get Along,’ and ‘What A Waster’ sent the often tame Worthy Farm into a bouncing sea of libertines one and all, as the more recognisable songs won over a sedated audience. The five song frenzy was most certainly not the pinnacle of the evening, as Pete and Carl shared a knowing look before smashing out the easily recognisable classic that is ‘Don’t Look Back into the Sun.’

A hectic performance ends with Carl Barat’s guitar being launched into the crowd, and a weary Pete Doherty collapsing in a heap. The frontmen playfully wrestle on the floor of the stage before taking their bows and packing back onto their helicopter, in the hope that they would make it to Russia in time to play their second festival in less than 24 hours. The Libertines clearly haven’t lost what made them so great ten years ago. Friday 26th June 2015 is most certainly proof of this fact. Yesterday’s performance just adds fuel to the fire of excitement that burns within every fan, as we ready ourselves for a big summer of The Libertines.


The Libertines played:

‘The Delaney’


‘Time For Heroes’

‘Horror show’

‘Can’t Stand Me Now’

‘The Ha Ha Wall’

‘Gunga Gin’

‘Music When The Lights Go Out’

‘What Katie Did’

‘The Boy Looked At Johnny’

‘Boys In The Band’

‘You’re My Waterloo’

‘Anthem For Doomed Youth’

‘Death On The Stairs’

‘The Good Old Days’

‘Tell The King’

‘I Get Along’

‘What A Waster’

‘Don’t Look Back Into The Sun’


Words by George Birch

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