Live review: The resurrection of Pete Doherty

Pete Doherty of Babyshambles at 02 Academy, Leeds. (Picture by Stuart Rhodes)
Pete Doherty of Babyshambles at 02 Academy, Leeds. (Picture by Stuart Rhodes)

Review by Stuart Rhodes

Babyshambles, 02 Academy, Leeds.

It seems a life time ago that Pete Doherty was constantly in the news and for all the wrong reasons, including a short stay in rehab in Harrogate.

Now, after some three years drifting around Paris and creating new artwork, some of which is currently on display at Redhouse Originals art gallery in Harrogate, he has returned to the stage with his band Babyshambles and a new album titled Sequel to the Prequel.

Despite the band’s extended absence from the stage, Babyshambles still have a large loyal, and age varied, fan base who turned out in force at the O2 Academy in Leeds to see what turned out to be a classic performance by one of the best live bands you could possibly see.

The mixed aged crowd, made up of teenagers to silver haired punks, put as much energy and effort into the concert as the Babyshambles themselves.

Keeping the crowd waiting a full 20 minutes past the published start time, Pete Doherty led Babyshambles on stage to the age-old punk style tradition of the crowd throwing beer and other nefarious liquids at the band, right over the heads of stewards and not so lucky photographers, note to self ‘must wash last night clothes’.

The crowd dance and sang along to songs such as Delivery and Fireman and Maybelline, however, some of the newer material of the latest album has yet to make its mark on the crowd who clearly have yet to decide if they like the new songs or not.

After an hour of splendid screaming guitars and Doherty on excellent form with solid vocals and a firm stage presence, suddenly he announces it’s thank you and goodnight.

He’s only joking, “well you’ve had 18 songs from me, thats more than you usually get,” says Doherty with a smile on his face.

Soon it’s back to the sweating, dancing, scuffling punky atmosphere as the band play for a further 40 minutes, with songs such as Pipedown and the classics Kilimanjaro and F*** Forever.

All too soon it really is good night and Babyshambles are gone.

Pete Doherty looks healthier than he has for many years, Babyshambles sound fresh and vibrant.

They all seem to have a new lease on life and long may it last.