posted on January 20, 2010 18:00
Pete Doherty (live in The Academy, Dublin)
Review Snapshot: I didn’t expect him to show up. Nor indeed did I expect him to show up with two ballerinas in tow. But show up he did. He was on form too.
The Cluas Verdict? 9/10
Full Review: Pete Doherty packed The Academy last night, along with fellow Babyshambles member Adam Ficek, otherwise known as Roses Kings Castles, who was supporting. After an enjoyable albeit low key warm-up courtesy of Mr. Ficek, the Reverend Doherty kicked off around nine-ish. The crowd religiously belted out the opening numbers, which included ‘The ha ha wall’, ‘Kilamangiro’ & ‘Don’t look back into the sun’.
Next was ‘Arcadia’, a popular tune from Doherty’s latest solo effort ‘Grace/Wastelands’, released last March. Those bizarre ballerinas I mentioned drifted in and out of the entire set. But I don’t think anyone paid any attention to them. I didn’t. Most of the audience were transfixed and delighted with Doherty’s fluid, energetic performance. ‘Beg, steal or borrow’, ‘New love grows on trees’ and ‘Time for Heroes’ where next up. The energy level amongst the crowd did not drop for a moment. Pete occasionally sat on his stool, flanked by two amps, wiping off sweat with a scarf discarded by some adoring fan. He ploughed on happily, by playing ‘In love with a feeling’ and Libertines’ crowd pleaser ‘Can’t stand me now’, strutting around the stage, occasionally pausing to stalk the front row.
Then the house lights went up. A hush went through the venue as the music stopped. Pete walked up to the mic; ‘Just stepping out for a fag’ he quipped, ‘back in a mo’. Roars and roars of ecstatic appreciation immediately followed. The Academy was way beyond what can be described as hot last night. He returned to round off his show playing ‘F*ck forever’, that one throwing the crowd over the cliff edge with excitement, ‘Delivery’ and a slightly altered version of ‘Down in Albion’. The English cities mentioned in that song were replaced with Irish ones. That drew the set too a close.
All in all a very entertaining gig. I had hoped too include some criticism, but the performance was faultless. It's good too see that when Pete can keep himself out of the red-tops for a few months and busy himself with music, things come back together quickly. He isn’t a spent force. In fact, if he keeps playing like he is now, he’s in real danger of getting even better.
Note from Editor: Corrections made to some song titles after some errors were pointed out in the comments below.