Review: An extraordinary homecoming for The Libertines at The O2

Earlier this month London’s own Libertines returned to finish off their huge arena tour in support of their new album Anthems For Doomed Youth. And what a phenomenal return to the music stage it was.

One thing can be said for sure: the band as well as the fans were equally excited for this last and final stop of the boys’ UK arena tour. Social media platforms were buzzing with excitement and the fans could not wait any longer to see Pete, Carl, Gary and John do what they do best – own the stage. The supports for this tour weren’t ones to pass on either – with The Enemy and Seaford Mods, the O2 crowd surely had the right bands to get the party going. It all funnelled into the moment the first chords of Barbarians hits the room and the Libertines’ logo lights up above the stage sending a surge of energy across the dome in North Greenwich. Starting off with a rather unknown song from the third album could have gone either way but the song is truly a tune and Carl Barat calling to “have it up with a mental crowd” could not be more fitting.

The frantic and classic Libertines song Horror Show sends the room into a frenzy and the 20,000-cap venue feels a lot more intimate. As Boys In The Band rings through the speakers a group of girls dressed in the band’s iconic red military coats appear to perform what is potentially meant to be a fangirl-burlesque act.

As the boys finish the last chords to the title track of their latest album Anthem For Doomed Youth – which is quite literally an anthem of Pete and Carl’s turbulent relationship – Carl Barat takes to the Union Jack-draped piano perched on the stage’s right-hand side. The first notes of You’re My Waterloo echo through a silent arena. You could hear a pin drop, and truthfully if you listened closely you could hear a small sigh coming from the crowd as this fan favourite engulfs the audience.

What Katie Did and Can’t Stand Me Now get by far the biggest mass sing-along throughout the evening.  With The Good Old Days, The Libertines leave the stage before Pete Doherty returns to pick up his guitar and treat us to a cover of Babyshambles’ Albion from the 2005’s Down In Albion. A feast of an encore with Music When The Lights Go Out, Up The Bracket, What A Waster and finally Don’t Look Back Into The Sun sends us off into the night.

“This is too much for my little brain,” Pete says in awe. And as The Libertines leave the stage they never dreamed they’d play, their brotherhood seems stronger than ever. Unlike other bands, these guys come together for a unified bow to the appreciative and cheering crowd.

The setlist was a fantastic mix for both old and new fans; and it cannot be denied that songs played from the new record were written to be played in arenas and beyond. Not only is tonight one of the most professional shows the band has ever played but it successfully demonstrates how they have grown into a musical force to be reckoned with. So what became of the likely lads? What became of the dreams they had? We are pretty sure to have seen the very answer to those questions tonight. And the Albion sails on course.