Here was Pete Doherty not only showing up but even arriving on time, playing a tight set and avoiding any of the catastrophes that often bedevil his gigs.
The focus was on the music, for once, and he has a sturdy new selection of songs from recent third album Sequel To The Prequel to back that up. Given the football terrace chants that greeted the group's arrival, Doherty could have performed interpretive dance and still garnered adulation, but there was melodic flair to Nothing Comes To Nothing's jangle, a punky spirit to Fireman and a terrific up-tempo shift during Penguins.
Doherty himself seemed relaxed, meandering about the stage and tossing items back to the crowd. In fact, he was so laid back that any passing stranger might have gazed upon this bare-chested, hat-wearing figure wandering around and wondered exactly what wild rock 'n' roll spirit he was supposed to represent.
The failings of the night were more of a musical variety. While Sequel is arguably his most consistent body of work, Doherty's songs still sometimes meander, especially when they're not of the rockier kind with I Wish remaining a Xeroxed copy of the Specials and Fall From Grace's plinky plonk piano less than inspiring. It's as if his songs aren't quite formed beyond sketchy ideas.
There was still enough to commend the show, though, with Adam Falkner an assured drumming presence. The variety of bras and other clothing lobbed at Doherty indicated where fans' attention always lay, though, and their faith in him was rewarded, particularly on the finale, a roaring, gleeful F*** Forever.