Approaching the stage to the theme from Sergio Leone’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Pete Doherty muttered something incomprehensible into the microphone and the famous riff to Time for Heroes filled the auditorium.
A mass of bodies inevitably surged forward, and within minutes there were mosh pits and crowd surfers soaring towards the stage.
This is how The Libertines got their gig at Dunfermline’s Alhambra Theatre under way last night.
The show in the historic venue marked the launch of the band’s 2017 Tiddely om Pom Pom UK “seaside” tour which includes only two further Scottish performances, one in Inverness and another in Kilmarnock.
At the Alhambra itself the gig will be followed by a run of Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat shows, but the grand interiors of its auditorium couldn’t have been a more fitting surrounding for the band – who could have packed out the likes of the Caird Hall or Glasgow’s Barrowland Ballroom with ease.
It was a performance reminiscent of those legendary Libertines gigs of the early noughties which survive today as pixelated YouTube video clips; Carl Barât and Doherty’s attempts at vocals drowned out by bellowing fans and the thrashing of Gary Powell’s drums.
By the third song, The Delaney, the two frontmen had already started sharing a microphone so closely as to be a near-kiss.
More than just a rock band, to The Libertines’ oldest and most loyal fans this four-piece have always maintained a romanticism and mystique.
And if last night’s show proved one thing it’s that their star has anything but waned throughout the years, with a crowd of fresh-faced youths singing along word for word to tracks both old and new.
The story of The Libertines is one of a friendship shattered and rebuilt, of a youth lost in a haze of headlines, hard drugs and hangovers; and a punk legacy that inspired a whole generation of British indie bands.
Nostalgia reigned for large portions of the gig as Libertines classics including Up the Bracket, Breck Rd. Boys in the Band and Horror Show were belted out with trademark vigour and that same Clash-like energy which won over a generation of music fans.
As Can’t Stand Me Now reached its chorus, the mass of some 2,000-plus fans roared back the words; a racket that threatened to drown them out completely.
“Have we enough to keep it together? Or do we keep on pretending?” – sang Doherty, dressed in a denim waistcoat, but things couldn’t be further from the days of the group’s infamous December 2004 split.
Other highlights included You’re My Waterloo and Music When the Lights Go Out.
Amidst it all there was even time for a brief rendition of Flower of Scotland and I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside.
Music fans always extol the atmosphere of an intimate gig, but intimacy is something that comes natural to The Libertines.
As they tore through their set, it was plain to see that the close bond between Doherty and Barât, and the one that has always existed between the band and their fans, remains as hardy as ever it was.
Dragged back to the stage for an encore The Libertines finished with the timeless Don’t Look Back Into the Sun, but it was far from the last we saw of the band.
As a crowd surfing young fan reached the security at the front of the auditorium’s barriers, he was welcomed onto the stage by the band and embraced like an old friend to a huge applause from the Fife crowd.
Despite repeated demands for “one more tune” the band reluctantly made their way off the stage, but not before Barât showed his gratitude to the crowd with a decisive stage dive.
Hauled back from the dead, The Libertines are four musicians reinvigorated. Their show at the Alhambra was noisy, messy, rough-around-edges and 90-odd minutes of swaggering, passionate brilliance; and I for one can’t wait to discover what the future of this band holds.