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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 February 2005, 09:04 GMT
Pete Doherty returns to centre stage
By Ian Youngs
BBC News entertainment reporter

Singer Pete Doherty's band Babyshambles have played their first major gig since he was arrested at the start of February. Almost 5,000 fans saw them at Brixton Academy on Tuesday.

Pete Doherty
Pete Doherty reached the top 10 with Babyshambles in December
Watching Pete Doherty arrive on stage, it is clear he inspires more adoration and devotion than any British rock star for a long time.

The crowd let off a roaring, rapturous release when he emerged, cool and casual in black leather jacket, looking every inch a rock legend in the making.

The exact form that legend will take has yet to be determined - but in an age when rock icons are thin on the ground, Doherty has made a big impact.

Some members of Tuesday's crowd were avid followers of Babyshambles, the band he started after being kicked out of the group that made his name, The Libertines.

Babyshambles have become known for their chaotic and unpredictable live shows - but have only had one full single release, Killamangiro, at the end of last year.

Many at the gig had travelled from across the UK, with reports of visitors from across Europe and as far away as Canada.

Pete Doherty
Doherty traded punches with his guitarist during the concert
Others at Brixton Academy were The Libertines fans who had come to judge Doherty's new band first-hand and see someone they regard as a special talent.

The hardcore fans knew most of the lyrics after Doherty put songs on the internet - but everything except Killamangiro and The Libertines' What Katie Did was new to everyone else.

Most tracks shared The Libertines' raucous, on-edge atmosphere - which pervaded the whole gig.

At one point, Doherty traded punches with his guitarist on stage - before continuing the show five minutes later, more agitated than before, to finish the set.

Pete Doherty can be a legend if he wants to
John Mastrovomenica
Opinion in the crowd was split after the show.

Wayne Marvell, 26, from Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, said he was "a bit disappointed".

"He's a great songwriter," he said. "I loved him in The Libertines, but this is nowhere near as good."

Michael Girvan, 21, who travelled from Bangor, Northern Ireland for the concert, said it was "an excellent gig" and put Doherty's following down to his charisma.

And John Mastrovomenica, 21, from Swindon, said: "I thought it was good. They're back on form. Pete Doherty can be a legend if he wants to."

Rocker Doherty in on-stage fight
23 Feb 05 |  Entertainment
Doherty to play one-off concert
22 Feb 05 |  Entertainment
Pete Doherty talks of 'jail hell'
09 Feb 05 |  Entertainment
Rock star Doherty freed from jail
08 Feb 05 |  Entertainment


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