Gig review: Lily Allen
DURING a show that was packed with fun, glamour, era-defining pop songs and some unashamed filth, she staked her claim to being the finest pop star in Britain at the moment.
There were plenty of highly amusing incidents, but not many can be told uncensored. Yet the best thing is that she obviously couldn't care less if she's seen as playing the game or not.
"Does my bum look big in this?" she asked, tongue in cheek, of her final outfit, a black and blue sequined leotard and thigh-high black boots.
Those with no opinions either way on Allen or her music will find it hard not to be completely won over by her live show, as long as their tolerance levels for industrial-strength swearing are high.
Only now, playing venues of this size, has she come to equal the appeal of her sometime verbal sparring partner, Cheryl Cole of Girls Aloud, yet Allen manages to play up to the conventions of a populist arena gig while retaining a strong sense of who she is.
To start with, she got the underwhelming new single Who'd Have Known?, bitter-sweet ballads Littlest Things and He Wasn't There, and a cover of the Kooks' Cloying Naive out of the way early.
From there, the show was uncontainably excellent. Covers of Kaiser Chiefs' Oh My God and Britney's Womanizer were much better than the Kooks' effort, while rapper Professor Green helped out on a version of Just Be Good To Me.
Allen's own Smile was transformed into a drum 'n' bass floorfiller, while The Fear is the closest she's come to perfect pop. By the encore, she had the crowd waving their middle fingers while singing the chorus: which is an act of glorious impudence that Kylie will never imitate.
A version of this review appeared in later editions yesterday.