When life gives you lemons I challenge you to turn it all into a sweeter pop song than Lily Allen. According to Lily, her 2018 offering No Shame, “is about being really depressed and the dissolution of my marriage”. Yet, watching her belt out banger after banger from the album on stage like it’s NBD, it’s almost (but not quite) possible to forget just how heartfelt each song really is. Nothing is off limits with Lily Allen, who clearly prescribes to brutal honesty being the best policy.
She kicks the night off with ‘Come On Then’ before launching straight into ‘Waste’, followed by old favourite and early crowd pleaser ‘LDN’. At this point she confesses the reason for her slightly later than planned entrance. “I had a whole other outfit planned, but the zipper broke,” she apologises. “Then I couldn’t find the right pants to go with these trousers, so my bums out,” she explains, turning her back to the stage to show off a bit of cheek through the lace material.
Needless to say, all is immediately forgiven. But there’s no more time to waste on wardrobe malfunctions, it’s a steamy Sydney night and with the Enmore Theatre at full capacity. Lily gets the party started with ‘What You Waiting For’ followed by ‘My One’ and ‘Knock ‘Em Out’ – another golden oldie. By this stage even the dress circle are dancing in the aisles, especially when ‘Smile’ gets a run. The gems from her backlog are clearly appreciated.
Photos: Maria Boyadgis (Four Minutes To Midnight)
At this point, Lily admits to feeling slightly under the weather, but it’s nothing a generous application of throat spray can’t fix. She’s back in fine vocal form for her rendition of her 2018 triple j Like a Version cover of Lykke Li’s ‘Deep End’, which is a real highlight.
Things get real before ‘Pushing Up Daisies’. “This next song is an optimistic song because it’s about falling in love with my now ex-boyfriend,” she admits. “Which I guess, now, is kind of depressing, so it’s still on brand,” she laughs. You’ve got to
admire her resilience.
She dedicates ‘Three’ to her two young girls, following on with ‘Everything to Feel Something’, ‘The Fear’, ‘Higher’ and ‘Family Man’. It’s an impressive run of tunes, and with just two producers on stage the striped back set up makes things feel more intimate. With presence like Lily Allen’s there’s no need for the bells and whistles of her pop peers.
The sweet love story of ‘Who’d Have Known’ is warmly welcomed. The mood stays up with ‘Not Fair’, getting everyone singing along (the ladies most enthusiastically).
For an encore, we’re treated to ‘Apples’ and ‘Trigger Bang’ before rounding off what’s been a ripper set with ‘Fuck You’. I dare you to find a better form of catharsis than singing along to this one with a room full of strangers.
Lily Allen’s Australian tour continues tonight. Head here for details.