Live Review: Lily Allen – 25th July 2014 – Hordern Pavilion, Sydney, Australia
Following her highly praised performance in Melbourne earlier this week, Lily Allen delivered an exceptional show for her fans in Sydney last night as the British pop star treks around Australia this month for a series of Splendour sideshow gigs. Within a week that has been doused in melancholy and tragedy, her arrival could not have come at a better time.
With 3 hugely successful studio albums under her belt and a plethora of hit singles to call her own, Lily Allen has been at the forefront of British pop music for the best part of a decade. Ever since the vocal chav’s debut single, Smile was released back in 2006 and hit the number one spot, the musician has been churning out periodic gems ever since. With her brand new album, Sheezus setting the wheels in motion for her ‘comeback’ as most people are hailing it, the star has been busy on the festival circuit, performing at this year’s iconic Glastonbury Festival alongside everyone else who is relevant in modern music, and dotting around the world delighting fans with her colourful and hit-filled performances in support of her latest studio effort. Last night it was the fans of Sydney who were offered a standout performance and we were there as Lily touched down at the very fitting Hordern Pavilion.
Emerging on to the wide Hordern Pavilion stage, the perfect stomping ground for the princess of chav-pop, surrounded by large baby bottles – a nod to her transformation into motherhood – and that changed between neon colours throughout the show, Lily was met with a thunderous applause from the crowd as she followed the suit of her four-piece dance troupe; gyrating onto the stage in an eccentric glow-in-the-dark neon yellow jumpsuit to new album title track, Sheezus.
With her dancers giving it their all and showing us some impressive moves and twerks while wearing white Labrador dog masks, Hard Out There, the new albums lead single, provided a burst of energy and some ‘gangsta’ to the opening of the show before the singers signature hit, Smile, got the already-buzzing crowd working up a sweat and singing along.
New tracks fell within the 20 track set-list confidently; Allen’s voice providing that distinctive staple to each of the new penning’s. Currently unreleased songs like the controversial L8 CMMR, the country twang of As Long As I Got You and The Life For Me, with its island scented beat and nod to her party scene departure and growth into motherhood, sat next to early radio hits like the pop awesomeness of LDN and Smile with ease.
Through the whole set Lily frequently made small talk with her fans and encouraged the crowd to sing along with her and to have a dance. She was regularly thrown tokens of adoration from the front section of the crowd with items like a bracelet and long-sleeved flannel shirt being worn by the musician during performances of tracks like I Could Say. Some items were returned to the crowd however, such as a wallet and a drivers licence which Lily described as “not sensible” and passing straight back to the fan, making the comment “how will you get home?” and that she is now a mother so couldn’t stand for that sort of thing – a conversation that got the crowd laughing.
Back to the music, a stripped back acoustic performance of the gorgeous Keane hit Somewhere Only We Know, a cover that earned Allen her 3rd number one achievement, was met with adoration from the audience who helped set the mood for the song by holding up lit up phones. This led us into a full throttle performance of Fuck You, a contrasting inclusion to follow such a sweet ballad but a fantastic performance nonetheless that got the crowd joining in.
Departing the stage for a change of clothes, Allen shed the metallic jacket, bra-like top and pink hotpants for another electric glow-in-the-dark tight-fitting jumpsuit, mid-career highlights were offered with The Fear providing a notable staple to the set with its infectious lyrics and cool synth melody before club-inspired dance floor highlight Bass Like Home set the strobe lights on high speed and turned the Hordern Pavilion into a giant rave site. Lily also sounded incredible delivering this one as her vocals leant themselves well to the high octane delivery of the number.
To close the show Lily chose, in my opinion, her finest hit with It’s Not Fair delivering an injection of country-pop to the end of a wonderful set that included a well-balanced blend of new tracks, ‘old’ hits, covers and token dance-floor nuggets. Lily promised she would return to Australian shores again soon and after last night’s amazing performance, let’s hope the wait isn’t too long.
Hard Out Here
Everyone’s At It
As Long As I Got You
Who’d Have Known
I Could Say
The Life For Me
Close Your Eyes
Somewhere Only We Know (Keane cover)
Bass Like Home
It’s Not Fair