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Friday, June 20, 2008
Babyshambles "Oh! What a Lovely Tour"
By SIMON BARTZ
If Babyshambles frontman Pete Doherty farted out Britain's national anthem accompanied by a barking dog, I would fork out cash for it. Pete is not just a rock star — he's a religion.
The attraction is not just his sublime ear for a killer melody and poetic lyrical prowess but also his style. British clothing shops now do a roaring trade in rosary beads, and sales of straw hats have risen 957 percent since Pete donned these fashion accessories. In fact, I'm wearing both as I write this.
Pete's imperfection is a mega-attraction. Just like you and me, he has his weaknesses — chiefly his drug problem — and is open and honest about them (usually). He's a tragic, beautiful, flawed artist.
And here lies the problem with the new DVD/CD set "Oh! What a Lovely Tour," which captures a 20-song Babyshambles set at Glasgow's SECC on Dec. 1 last year: It's flawless. The band are not their ragged, rabid, gypsylike selves. And despite four tacked-on music videos, there is no backstage footage of Pete signing fans' tickets, strumming his acoustic as an aftershow treat for those lucky enough to get backstage, or farting out the national anthem. And those kind of things made us love him in the first place.
The packaging is also mundane. There's no photo booklet. It's like it was banged together with minimum fuss and maximum profit in mind. There's nothing here you couldn't see for free on YouTube: no Libertines numbers, just most of the stuff off the two Babyshambles albums. The highlight is the rendition of "Albion," which Pete dedicates to pal Amy Winehouse as Glaswegians hold lighters aloft.
I feel completely ripped off by this release, but I watch it twice a day, every day.