REVIEW: Pete Doherty, Riverside, Newcastle
The controversial singer-songwriter appeared more sober and together than ever as he showcased new solo material and performed Babyshambles hits as well as some of The Libertines' classics.
Dressed in double-denim, wearing a neckerchief and lace-less shoes, he looked every inch the rock star, even with shaggy, slightly-greying hair.
The enthusiastic crowd were in awe of the singer, who introduced himself as Peter, as he delivered the show backed by a new band - put together in true rock 'n' roll style just two weeks ago.
Babyshambles bassist Drew McConnell is a member, while Pete's French girlfriend KDV plays on keyboard, harmonica and various other weird and wonderful instruments, long-time friend Rafa is on drums, Stefany Kaberian plays accordion and Miki Beavis is on violin. The touring band are like his extended family, says manager Jai Stanley.
Fans remained engaged throughout, despite the show being heavily dominated by new music, some of which had a French-sounding tone - no doubt inspired by his girlfriend.
His latest solo single, The Whole World Is Our Playground, which came out as part of Record Store Day last month, went down well, and the respectful crowd hushed to listen attentively to Flags Of The Old Regime, which was dedicated to the late Amy Winehouse.
This reaction was a welcome contrast to the one at his opening show in Bristol on May 11, where fans rudely chatted throughout new material and chanted for Libertines songs, which led to the irritated star telling those who didn't want to listen to leave. He cut the show short and ended without an encore.
Thankfully the warm reception from North East fans saw the singer return to do not one but two encores.
Babyshambles song Albion received a huge sing-along and massive cheers as Pete changed the lyrics to reference Sunderland, Gateshead, and Newcastle.
The highlight had to be a performance of Libertines classic Time for Heroes, which triggered a frenzy in the moshpit, and fans 'shoop shooped' along to his rendition of What Katie Did, before letting go as he thrashed out the lively Killamangiro.
Just as Pete ended the song, eager fan Derek McCormack, who'd crowd-surfed his way to the front managed to jump up on stage and hug the star before being quickly removed by security.
Derek said:"Pete was about to walk off stage, he was right in front of me, so I jumped for the stage and he put his hand out and pulled me up. I hugged him for a few seconds before security pulled me down. He seemed to find it funny. It's definitely an experience I'll never forget."
Support came from Deadcuts, who were joined by Pete during the opening slot, followed by spoken words from Simon Mason, who read an extract from his memoir Too High, Too Far, Too Soon.
Jack Jones from Trampolene, who resembles a younger, drug-free version of Pete, shared poetic rhymes and humours songs about Poundland during his support slot.
He's like a musician and comedian rolled into one, and very refreshing!
It's only a matter of time before Doherty releases his second solo album, as I'm told it's ready to go, though the date is still to be decided. Watch this space...