Seeing an old friend who you haven’t seen in years can often be painfully awkward, but after a while you remember why you got on so well…
The year is 2003, Up The Bracket is slowly on its way to becoming an album of a generation. Any student with an ounce of taste has it on repeat – CD version of course, and the male group mosh dance technique which was once reserved for the likes of Oasis is now enjoyed to Time For Heroes and the Up The Bracket on the dirty dancefloors of indie clubs across the UK.
Cut to ten years later and the picture is very different as a tired and ragged 34 year old Pete Doherty takes to the stage in Vienna’s Gasometer. A shadow of the man who at one time seemed determined to join the 27 club and who even merited his own “pete watch” at The Sun.
“Hallo esterreich, wie geht es dir?” was the welcome the crowd was given as Babyshambles rambled onto stage only half an hour late, which is almost early for Pete’s standards. The band stumbled into the performance of “Delivery” amidst missed notes, mumbled words and poor sound. It was clear from the very first tone that this was going to be a typically improvised and hap-hazard show from the band.
To say that Pete looked knackered after the first two songs would be an understatement as he jugged down orange juice by the bucket load and threw his guitar to his roadie in a “I cant be arsed with playing” attitude. What followed was 40 minutes of karaoke from Doherty as the band played their way through much of the new album, with guitarist Mick Whitnall suffering serious guitar problems
Despite the flaws, the poor sound and complete inability to play the songs properly it was still hard to not enjoy this gig. It was entrancing to see pete wobble his way around the stage and in all honesty, the songs were still good in a “it is what they are not playing” kind of sense.
A wry smile came to Pete’s face after being hit right on the smacker by a plastic cup, you bastards was the reaction, and a 20 minute wait for the encore then followed.
Where is the smack head grave digger from the wild cats?
The encore didn’t disappoint as Pete went in search of “a smack head grave digger he met last time”, who just so happened to be in the crowd… A customary show of the Pete flesh and tattoos and a quick blast few the classics like Fuck Forever later, and the brief reunion with Babyshambles was over.
Was it satisfying? Yes, definitely, kind of…..Let’s do it again in another 5 years….