The singer debuts a host of new material from 'Sheezus' at the event
Lily Allen made her live comeback at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire last night (April 28), playing her first full-length gig since 2010.
Opening with a video showing a bottle of baby formula being made and then splitting to form two dripping bottles intended to resemble breasts, Allen took to the stage in a pink, feathered top and sequined trousers. Backed by a four-piece band, they launched into the title track of her forthcoming album, ‘Sheezus’.
With four dancers appearing, the singer (pictured performing over the weekend at G-A-Y) then broke into recent single ‘Hard Out Here’, complete with a backing film showing her face obscured by graphics of dogs. Allen spurred the crowd into a singalong of the chorus on by asking fans if they knew the words. Moving into ‘Everyone’s At It’, taken from second album ‘It’s Not Me, It’s You’, Allen then performed in front of a screen showing pills pouring into a giant mouth before exiting temporarily into the wings for the first time.
Before re-emerging, Allen – who recently returned to music after a three-year hiatus – addressed the crowd, joking, “I don’t wanna come back out until you cheer a little bit louder”. She then came back on to sing 2006 Number One hit ‘Smile’, wearing a silver corset and voluminous net black skirt. Part way through the track the singer stopped to talk to a portion of the audience, stating, “You lot on the balcony with your expensive tickets – get off your arses, man” before kicking into a dubstep-tinged take on the track.
Following this, Allen – who was on talkative form throughout – continued to address the crowd, pinpointing her dad, Keith Allen, out on the right hand side of the venue. “Dad, I just told the balcony to get up and dance. Aren’t you going to?” she joked before referencing the tube strike that had begun that evening. “Are you all looking forward to your trip home with the tube strike? I’ve got an Uber [cab company] code for you. I think I earn more on Uber credit these days than record sales.”
Continuing into old fan favourite ’22’, the crowd then concluded the track with huge rounds of applause and shouts for the singer, who seemed visibly touched. Thanking everyone for coming, she then admitted that she was “pretty scared about this comeback or whatever you call it”. “But you guys all bought tickets! It says ‘sold out’ on the door!” she added.
Dedicating the next song to her husband Sam Cooper, Allen then continued into new album track ‘As Long As I Got You’ which featured a distinctly more country feel than any of her previous material. Including lyrics about her new domestic life, such as “staying home with you is better than snorting things up my nose”, Allen also pointedly referenced her husband, shouting out “Sam, I love you baby” during the track.
Lily then moved into old track ‘Who’d Have Known’, performed while crouching at the front of the stage and singing to the front row, before continuing into recent track ‘L8 Cmmr’, which was featured on the soundtrack to Girls, and ‘I Could Say’ – backed by a picture of the singer with an eagle over her face.
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Introducing the next track as “another one off my new record”, Allen then played slow, lounge-style track ‘Close Your Eyes’, before addressing first her husband and then the balcony of guest ticket holders who were still largely seated. “Sam, I can see you’re not paying attention. Most important gig. Eyes on the prize,” she began before turning her focus. “The balcony are the free ticket motherfuckers,” she continued. “They think they’re better than everyone else. If you don’t wanna be here, then leave.”
Kicking into another new track ‘Life For Me’, which featured a tropical lilt similar to the singer’s first album, Allen then moved into the end of the main portion of the set. Beginning with early hit ‘LDN’, which the singer dedicated to the hometown crowd for being “your song”, she then went into another track from debut ‘Alright, Still’ – ‘Littlest Things’ – before playing ‘Sheezus’ track ‘URL Badman’ complete with screens showing insults written in computer typeface.
Allen then finished the main set with recent track ‘Our Time’, and Allen filmed the crowd’s response on her phone. She then performed a finale of ‘The Fear’ before exiting.
Coming back out for the final time in a bronze catsuit and tiara, the Londoner then continued with ‘Fuck You’ – baiting the crowd to flick a V-sign in the appropriate places – before playing single ‘Air Balloon’ and ending with old favourite ‘Not Fair’, complete with a short disco-tinged musical interlude.
The full setlist was:
‘Hard Out Here’
‘Everyone’s At It’
‘As Long As I Got You’
‘Who’d Have Known’
‘I Could Say’
‘Close Your Eyes’
‘Life For Me’
‘Sheezus’ is due to be released next Monday (May 5).