Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

The Libertines reunion gig at Hyde Park stopped after massive crowd crush

Pete Doherty and Carl Barat of The Libertines
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat of The Libertines

The Libertines's first gig in England since their reunion had to be halted twice because of "chaos" in the crowd, as Pete Doherty and Carl Barat announced further dates for more London concerts.

At times more famous for their exploits away from the stage than what they bring to it, the controversial front-men produced a typically raucous performance to a 60,000-strong crowd in Hyde Park.

They were barely into their second song "Boys in the Band", however, before the music had to be interrupted to ask those watching to spread out.

There was a surge as the indie rockers opened, forcing many who had made their way to the front up against security barriers. Security officers came on stage and, according to NME, Doherty shouted to the crowd: "We can't carry on if you don't calm down a bit."

The performance of "Boys in the Band" resumed, only to be halted again seconds later as fireworks and flares erupted throughout the audience.

With the set list now apparently disregarded, drummer Gary Powell gave up his seat to Doherty for an impromptu rendition of The White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army", before the crowd were urged to join in the Foundations' "Build Me Up Buttercup".

Medical officers and security staff rushed to help people crushed at the front, and the photographer Leon Neal tweeted: "Chaos at the Libertines gig in Hyde Park. Many crushed with medics dragging people from the crowd."

Things eventually settled down and the gig resumed as planned, and in between songs a greying Doherty used his few interactions with the audience to pay tribute to football club Queens Park Rangers, Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr and Gerry Conlon - who was among four people wrongly imprisoned for the 1974 IRA Guildford pub bombings, and who died last month.

The hit-filled set was the band's first in more than four years in the capital, coming as the latest gig in Barclaycard's British Summer Time series.

Barat and Doherty - famously once romantically linked with supermodel Kate Moss - put their often-talked-about personal differences aside as they frequently shared a microphone and embraced mid-set while the sun went down on Hyde Park.

The set included crowd favourites such as Can't Stand Me Now, Don't Look Back Into The Sun and What A Waster before more interruptions - mid-song - as Barat was instructed to request that bare-chested fans stop scaling the delay tower.

An aptly quirky sing-along of the Hokey Cokey closed the show.

The band also used the gig to announce two further London concerts, at the Alexandra Palace, on 27 and 28 September. Doherty later confirmed the dates on Twitter and said ticket would go on sale on Monday, adding: "Enjoy."

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