Lily Allen @ Festival Hall Melbourne, Jan 28, 2010. By Jordana Borensztajn.
The queen of Brit pop's a little tired. It was obvious to any true Lily lover that caught her BDO sideshow that she’s not the wide-eyed, eager and energetic pop star that first hit the scene as a massive MySpace success.
Rather, the musician that hit the stage this time -- while just as beautiful, creative and inspiring and as she’s always been – appeared worn out, most likely from the huge media spotlight that she cannot escape.
And it's no wonder. I’d be drained too. Since Lily’s stellar sophomore album It's Not Me, It's You was released last year, she's soared onto hit charts in more than 24 different countries and has racked up various platinum and gold album certifications.
Unfortunately for Lily, along with this huge level of success comes press stalking. Every hair colour change, shopping trip, bad decision and drunk Lily moment is monitored, reported and blow completely out of proportion in the name of quality entertainment, and splashed across tabloids everywhere. This is a lot to put up with at the tender age of 24, so it’s no wonder she appears exhausted.
As a long-term fans of Lily (since the Alright, Still era), I was pretty excited to see her live. At Big Day Out, she hit the stage with a beer, cigarette and sporting an Aussie flag to help celebrate the country's birthday. While I would have liked to see far more crowd banter, she definitely marked a spot among my highlights acts on the 2010 BDO bill.
But I've gotta say, her sideshow was mildy disappointing. I guess somewhat naively I was hoping for the Lily of the Alright, Still era. The starlet was smiling but didn’t seem like she was loving it, and she sang with passion but seemed somewhat detached.
Plus, any doubts about her energy levels were confirmed when she confessed to Melbourne fans that this would be her last solo show for a while.
But, despite not brimming with energy, her gig was still great because Lily is... simply sensational. She boasts classy pop tunes, a sense of humour, and a cheeky disposition. The crowd at Festival Hall was probably the cleanest and least terrifying I've ever seen there, and while she didn't go over the top with her in-between-song chats, the little nuggets she did deliver were gold. “You’ll have to excuse me. I keep trying to clear my ‘cause I've got some gross flegm,” she said, scrunching up her face. “Sorry, I don’t mean to go into so much detail.”
Unusually, Lily introduced all of her tracks to the audience – despite every crowd member singing along to almost every word. Highlights moments included Lily's ripper rendition of “22,” a country-infused version of “It’s Not Fair,” and, hitting the crowd in a skimpy leopard-skin dress, an incredibly sexy rendition of “Womaniser."
In the middle of "Smile," Lily divided the room in two, encouraging both groups to have wild sing-offs before the track wrapped up with a wicked dance mix. But the most memorable moment of all was Lily’s introduction to “The Fear.”
“This song is just dedicated to anyone you hate—people who are just trying to f**k you because of your sexual orientation or your skin colour… I'd like it if you’ll all join me in telling those judges to f**k off,” she said, before the entire crowd burst into yells and screams. Part-way through the track, the lights went up to show the entire sold-out crowd holding their hands high while chanting “that’s what makes my life so f**cking fantastic.” Pretty darn special.
After coming Down Under as recently June 2009, it’s quite amazing Lily even held sideshows this time around. At Big Day Out she told fans she’d been suffering from gastro and impressively didn’t cancel any shows. While her gig didn't rock my world, she gets serious points for her commitment. The only thing worse than being disappointment by a performance is being disappointed by the cancellation of a performance.