Sleepy Jubilee: The Comeback
Can The Libertines do a Blur?
Everybody knows the greatest ever musical comeback was Boyzone’s unforgettable hit Crazy Train earlier this year, but with Reading Festival looming round the corner and The Libertines’ much awaited return on its way can they live up to the hype and pull it off in the way Blur did last year?
I was never a huge fan of The Libertines and I wasn’t that bothered about whether they would reunite or not, but I think my resolve has been weakened over the last 5 years by the NME’s insistence on taking a shit anytime Pete* even mentions Carl in an interview. I am now excited to see how it goes, whilst also secretly hoping to see Pete punch Carl on stage, or not show up, or not show up and then burgle Carl’s house whilst he is on stage (classic bait and switch trick).
Like Pete or not, it is hard to deny he is exciting to watch, if he actually bothers to show up. I have seen him twice, once with Babyshambles, although I couldn’t see much because I was stood behind Britain’s tallest man (an anecdote I will take to my grave), and once as a solo artist when I was stood behind an average sized person. Both times I had low expectations and came away more than satisfied.
The Libertines are known for inspiring lots of new bands, through the years 2004-2006 every band in the world sounded like The Libertines, and many people said they brought back the old style of British rock and roll that we wanted back. Pete and his cronies were known to play anywhere they could for any price, handing out demos and merchandise and playing their songs to anybody who would listen. That’s the good side of the Libertines, unfortunately the bad side of them is the fact that they either don’t turn up or turn up smashed, and don’t really care too much, but when you are second headline at Reading Festival with so much build up the main thing you need to do is care.
The Libertines – Up the Bracket (Live in Japan)
Live music has never made me cry, mainly because I’m not cool enough, but Blur finishing their Glastonbury headline slot after a 10 year absence with The Universal got me closer than I should really admit 4 sweaty middle aged men singing songs could.
Up until it was really happening, not many people would have believed Damon and Graham would ever talk again let alone play again, so it was no surprise that when Blur announced their comeback gig’s tickets sold out instantly. Blur knew the pressure was on to really give people a show, they prepared properly, and weren’t arrogant enough to think they could just walk straight back into it. They spent months practising and performing warm up gigs, starting off by playing at the East Anglian Railway Museum (the place of their first ever gig) and then at the Goldsmiths College Students Union (Graham and Alex’s old university), as well as other assorted warm-up shows including a secret gig at Rough Trade London.
Blur didn’t take too many chances with their set, opting to play the hits, which for the festivals is a good idea however I think many of the old fans would have enjoyed a few more obscure tracks. I was a little gutted that You’re So Great wasn’t played, but that really was the only downside to the gigs. They had everything else; Song 2, Phil Daniels, Graham rolling on the floor playing solos, Damon saying weird things that don’t make much sense between songs, ‘Vote for Dave’ banners, Tender sing-alongs (which I still to the day I die am convinced I started), Damon’s tears and best of all Alex’s sweat patches. It was great.
What blur fans thought would never happen really did happen… yes it really, really, really did happen.
Blur – Tender (Live at Glastonbury 2009)
So why now Libertines? Why wait? Why have you waited until now to reunite? Is it the fact that your side projects have all somewhat dwindled recently? Maybe you spent all you money on drugs and need some more? Or maybe I’m just being cynical and you just think the time is right. It is hard to tell, however by waiting 6 years they may have left it just long enough for people to forget that actually their songs aren’t good enough to get people excited. Hopefully they can pull it off but with the band recently claiming they haven’t played together since reuniting I reckon they probably won’t.
If you were me and had a ticket for The Libertines comeback you would probably sell it because 2010 also sees the return of Suede. Having played both London’s 100 club and the Royal Albert Hall for the Teenage Cancer Trust earlier this year they are now embarking on a massive O2 Arena show in December. I know, I know, Bernard Butler isn’t part of the reunion, but is that really such a bad thing? Let us not forget he left Suede pretty early on, didn’t appear in their most successful album Coming Up, and yeah, his riffs were amazing but everything else he ever did (classics like McAlmont and Butler) was actually pretty shit, and even though the cool patrol will shoot me for saying it, Suede are probably still brilliant without him.
Suede – Beautiful Ones (Live)
So can the Libertines do a Blur? Probably not, but I think Suede can, lets not forget it was Blur who did a Suede when they invented Britpop in 1994, 3 years after Suede invented it.
Lets all hope there will never be an Oasis comeback.
*Oh yeah, it’s Peter now, because if we stop calling him Pete we’ll instantly forget that he’s a knob.