It was edgy. It was raw. It was 2002, again . . .

With the exception of a stray grey hair and a little extra weight, you’d be forgiven for believing that you were watching The Libertines at The Barrowland on Saturday night in their heyday of enormous promise and potential, before the days of drugs and deterioration that were the death of them.

DJ set from Reverend & The Makers frontman, Jon McClure set the tone perfectly to rowdy and raucous, thanks to huge indie-anthems from Kasabian, Pulp, Supergrass and Muse, to name but a few; The Libertines kicked off with traditional opener, “Horrorshow” before a 24-song set mix of material from debut, “Up The Bracket” and self-titled follow-up, “The Libertines” shaping the nostalgic swagger down Albion Way.

The chemistry which Doherty and Barat were renowned for in the early days is still very much alive today; the duo frequently shared the microphone, playfully jostled for the spotlight and shared a bear hug or two during the zesty set, whipping fans into a frenzy over their much-missed bromance. Chat between tracks was limited but Doherty did stop to take a selfie on a fans phone and joke with the crowd that the last time the band has played The Barrowland “most of you probably weren’t even born”.

Fans greeted signature songs, “Time For Heroes”, “Don’t Look Back Into The Sun”, “What Katie Did” and “Can’t Stand Me Now” like an old friend and Doherty-penned, “Music When The Lights Go Out” brought fans together like no other track with an almost religious singalong from both the band and those who have longed to see them play together once more. Closer, “Tell The King” saw Barat and Doherty exchange smiles of “We Did It!” 

It was the kind of gig The Barrowland exists to host; sweaty, cramped and chaotic with flying pints and mass singalongs that continued down onto the street outside. It was the reunion that just a few short years ago, never seemed possible. It was a crowd where some hadn’t been introduced to the sound and style of The Libertines until after their demise.

It was 2002 again, and it had never been so good.