Last night Peter played his second show at the Bataclan, Paris. The most complete report of the night comes from RockerParis.
We also have another beautiful set of photos by Emelineuh on Flickr.
And by nFabula.
RockerParis has also a report of the famous bus ride before the show.
Back to G/W, Q magazine gives 4 stars to the album, with this beautiful review by Rob Fearn (thanks to Onibarker for writing it down):
Peter Doherty - Grace/Wastelands. **** Just when all hope seemed lost, rock’s most hopeless case pulls himself together. With a little help from that nice Graham Coxon from Blur. It’s a long time since Peter Doherty’s music was the story, rather than the chaos that surrounds him. Take the example of Shotter’s Nation, the second Babyshambles album, released in October 2007. The veteran Smiths/Blur producer Stephen Street deserved praise for bringing the band’s haphazard garage rock into focus. A handful of songs (Delivery, UnBiloTitled) stood out. Yet the big Doherty news of that month concerned one of the singer’s kittens, which, according to the Sun had been taught to use a miniature crack pipe. “Sickened” associates of the singer apparently told the tabloid that the moggie suffered from mood swings and the delusion that it could fly. Since then, Doherty has exchanged London’s druggy underworld for the relative calm of Paris and rural Wiltshire. But while the media glare might be less intense, Doherty still finds himself with a mountain to climb: can this first solo album - sandwiched in before a third Babyshambles record later this year - possibly feel like anything more than a sideshow? For the first time since The Libertines imploded, the answer may be yes. Once again Stephen Street handles the production and recruited at his suggestion is Blur guitarist Graham Coxon, who plays on most of the songs, alongside Doherty’s Babyshambles bandmates. It’s possible that the experience was not 100 per cent positive for Coxon - he recently described Doherty as “a scumbag magnet” - but it still feels like an inspired move. Coxon is not called on to reprise the show-stealing guitar heroics of the Blur glory days. Rather, he’s a restrained presence throughout, adding jagged rhythms or classy acoustic support. But it’s likely that Coxon helped in more subtle ways too. The guitarist has battled his own demons in the past, and can presumably empathise with Doherty’s self-destructive tendencies; more importantly, he must have brought a degree of professionalism to the project. The result is an album that, for once, does justice to Doherty’s song writing talent. More than a few of these songs will be familiar to seasoned Doherty-watchers, from bootlegs, YouTube clips and live performances. Grace/Wastelands opens in trademark Dylan-esque style with Arcadie, a deceptively sweet acoustic sketch exploring the themes that have obsessed him since The Libertines, with a utopian paradise of “seraphic pipes” dissolving to a twisted sexual power play. Before long, though, the single The Last Of The English Roses serves notice that something new and pretty special is afoot here. It’s an epic affair that takes its cues from early-90s trip-hop (thunderous dub bass, squawking melodica) and ends up in similar melancholic territory to Damon Albarn’s London concept album The Good, The Bad & The Queen. Lyrically, we’re transported to a nostalgic world of playground fumbles with a girl who “could charm the bees knees off the bees”. From here on in there’s a sense that anything goes, as long as it isn’t guttersnipe indie rock. It can be no accident that the sole example of the latter, a stroppy Libertines-era relic titled Through The Looking Glass, was dropped at the 11th hour. In its place comes I Am The Rain, an engaging collaboration with The Bandits’ John Robinson, one of a number of queasy, acoustic selections that owe a debt to The La’s and The Coral. Broken Love Song, which Doherty co-wrote with his shady mate Wolfman, is a worthy sequel to their 2004 hit For Lovers, flecked with piano teardrops, like an indie rock Massive Attack. Elsewhere, snatches of ‘40s newsreel music and strings befitting a John Barry score add to the sense of adventure. Of course, Peter Doherty being Peter Doherty, he doesn’t know when to stop. How else to explain Sweet By and By, a regrettable exercise in pastiche - part music hall knees-up, part jazz-age whimsy - tied to one of those lyrics about an ex-lover’s betrayal that invariably reads like a comment on Carl Barat.
In the main, though, Doherty the lyricist is firing. The last Babyshambles album suffered from a wearying focus on drugs, dodgy mates and more drugs. Grace/Wastelands probably does contain one too many portraits of smack-addled-romance - try the listless Dot Allison duet Sheepskin Tearaway, with its description of a lover who’s “covered in scars and full of heroin”. But, perhaps because many of these songs predate the tabloid years, there is a broader canvas here. New Love Grows On Trees is a deft skewering of youthful folly as anything by Morrissey. And it’s hard to think of another contemporary songwriter with the confidence to jump from wartime vignettes of “London urchins playing in dust” (on the stripped down 1939 Returning) to the black humour of Salome. The Biblical temptress of the title appears to Doherty on the “coldest of nights” and, accompanied by the supernatural shimmer of strings and cymbals, demands the head of John the Baptist, followed by that of dancer Isadora Duncan, and finally “any bastard on a plate”.
So much, then, for Doherty the busted flush, who succeeded only in fulfilling the prediction of The Libertines’ debut single What A Waster in having “pissed it all up the wall”. Grace/Wastelands isn’t quite the defining statement of his genius that his cheerleaders always insisted was just around the corner, but it demolishes the charge that his talent has been fatally squandered. As the sage-like Coxon wrote on his blog recently, when Doherty “sees through the murk…he can really come up with the goods”. Rob Fearn
As for the NME review, it's positive enough (remember, the rating is 7/10), but the conclusion a bit cold (if righteous): "Where are the new songs, Peter?".
Carl Barat has been reviewed too, by The Guardian's Dave Simpson. Of course we are talking of one of his last Northern dates, not a new record (sigh):
Carl Barat - Escobar, Wakefield ***
Carl Barât has a dilemma: accept the reported £2m on the table to reform the Libertines with his old mucker Peter Doherty, or bide his time with friendly gigs such as this. "It's my first time," he grins sheepishly after picking up the wrong guitar. If he looks a trifle nervous easing into the first of two shows at this tiny venue (his first UK solo appearances since splitting his post-Libertines outfit Dirty Pretty Things), the crowd soon make him feel at home. Barât's career is at something of a crossroads since the demise of DPT, and while some of their songs feature in the set, he is in a Libertine mood. The lyrics of the wistful opener Music When the Lights Go Out - "the memories of the pubs and the clubs ... and the drugs we shared together, will stay with me forever" - gain poignancy in the stripped-down format. There's no Doherty, of course, but supporting guitarist Kieran Leonard joins for Can't Stand Me Now and subtly reminds us how - like Strummer and Jones, or Jagger and Richards - Barât is most effective when he has a foil.Elsewhere, Barât spars with the audience as they trade banter and vocals, the Libertine's special bond with his public undimmed. The atmosphere is special even when the songs are barely audible, and bodies fly as What a Waster crashes into I Get Along. With Doherty cleaning up his act, a Libertines reunion seems somehow closer at the end of this raggedly heroic show.