Lily Allen @ Festival Hall Melbourne, Jan 28, 2010. By Jordana Borensztajn.
The queen of Brit pop is just as beautiful, creative and inspiring as she’s always been.
As a long-term fan (since the Alright, Still era), I was pretty excited to see her live. At Big Day Out, Lily hit the stage with a beer and a cigarette, sporting an Aussie flag to help celebrate the country's birthday. Her set was filled with crowd banter and a handful of cheeky cracks, and she definitely marked a spot among my highlights acts on the 2010 BDO bill.
While her performance sideshow wasn’t as high-impact as her BDO set, 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 throat ‘cause I've got some gross phlegm,” 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 almost every crowd member singing along. 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 huge sing-offs before the track wrapped up with a wild dance mix. Most memorable 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.
While her charm is effortless, it was obvious to any true Lily lover that caught her BDO sideshow that she’s not the eager and wide-eyed pop star that hit the scene as the world’s first MySpace success. Rather, the musician that hit fans in Melbourne appeared slightly worn, most likely from the huge media shower that’s constantly tracking her across the globe.
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.
Plus, confessing to Melbourne fans that this would be her last solo show for a while is a pretty good indication Lily's in need of a well-deserved break.
After coming Down Under as recently June 2009, it’s quite amazing she even held sideshows this time around. At Big Day Out Lily told fans she’d been suffering from gastro and impressively didn’t cancel any shows. While her Festival Hall gig was easily topped by her BDO performance, she gets serious points for commitment either way, as the only thing worse than being disappointment by a performance is being disappointed by the cancellation of a performance.
Lily’s a global smash for far more than just her music. It’s all about the package she puts out. Tired or not, some artists just have it – and Lily’s one of them.