Pete Doherty's illness-enforced absence from last night's NME awards launch party gave one lucky fan the chance to play guitar with Babyshambles.

Jamie Dell, 18, was plucked from the audience when the band's bassist Drew McConnell and drummer Adam Ficek turned up at the O2 arena without Doherty and Mick Whitnall.

The pair performed I Wish together before McConnell called on anyone who could play guitar to come up and perform alongside them.

Newcastle-resident Dell answered the call, taking McConnell's guitar from him and singing along to Carry On Up the Morning.

He then returned to the crowd to rapturous applause while McConnell and Ficek played on, later being joined onstage by Josh Hubbard from The Paddingtons, with covers of The Clash's Janie Jones and the Vaselines' Molly Lips following.

After the gig McConnell explained that Doherty had been taken ill shortly before the band were due to perform.

"There's a legitimate reason why he couldn't make it," he told NME.

"It's not anything to do with drugs being taken, put it like that. He's our best mate and a recovering addict. It wasn't right for him to come out tonight."

07/12/2007 12:04:03