They say it’s only ever really at home you can truly kick back and just be yourself. Which explains a lot about Lily Allen’s breezy, effortlessly fun Glastonbury set on Friday. The ‘Sheezus’ singer has spent so much time at Worthy Farm across the years, the Eavis family probably have a guest bedroom in their house permanently reserved just for her: the place is mainlined into her DNA, having attended since a toddler with her father Keith Allen, himself a Glastonbury veteran. Not only has she played the festival several times over the years, including a massive breakout performance in 2006 around the release of her debut album, ‘Alright, Still’, but it’s got a personal meaning to her, as we learn after her first song tonight (an amped-up, hyperactive rendition of ‘LDN’): “Last time I played here five years ago, that was the night I got together with my now-husband,” she told the crowd. “Five years later he’s here today with our two beautiful babies. I LOVE, Y’ALL!” Now the dust has settled, here’s a few talking points from her Worthy Farm homecoming today…
Lily’s sense of spectacle
Two costume changes; twerking backing dancers in hot pants, wearing dog heads; a stage full of massive babies’ bottles; confetti explosions; huge yellow balloons fired into the crowd… Yep, Allen knows how to deliver a show in a way few others scheduled to take to the Pyramid Stage this weekend do. The sense of spectacle today wasn’t limited to aesthetic touches, either: many of the songs were given crowd-pleasing, festival-friendly tweaks, including 2005 hit ‘Not Fair’, which transformed into a ravey drum ‘n’ bass thriller midway through.
She’s still the master of the controversial soundbite
The five years since Lily’s last Glastonbury appearance haven’t dimmed her ability to shock. Despite a shortened stage time (she had to cut songs after the electrical storm delayed proceedings by half an hour), Allen still found time to call a 78-year-old man a “cunt” (alright, so she was describing was FIFA president Sepp Blatter, and thus pretty spot on), ask if the crowd could see her “camel-toe” and, during album title track ‘Sheezus’, mime having a period through the medium of interpretive dance. As you do. The Blatter comments in particular were brilliantly button-pushing, calling him “one of the most corrupt, well not most corrupt, but most annoyingly corrupt people” following criticism of FIFA over the World Cup in Brazil and recent bribery allegations regarding Qatar 2022.
Lily knows how to weather a storm
Did Lily shift her set list around last minute? The singer began this afternoon with ‘LDN’, its chorus of “sun is in the sky, oh why oh why, would I want to be anywhere else?” just too perfect given the freak storm that just moments earlier had the entire festival site cowering from monstrous hail. See also: closing with ‘Not Fair’, her ode to premature ejaculation, after her set was cut short due to delays. Classic.
The new songs don’t rival Lily of old
She may have recently described her new material as “rubbish” in a tweet to a fan, generating plenty of headlines, but you wouldn’t have guessed it from today’s set. Picking largely from new album ‘Sheezus’, Allen played ‘Hard Out Here’, the country-ish ‘As Long As I’ve Got You’ and, in one of the biggest singalong moments of the festival so far, her wintry cover of Keane’s ‘Somewhere Only We Know’. Does Lily really dislike her new songs? Not on this evidence. That doesn’t change the fact the tracks sound noticeably lightweight compared to the older songs included here: especially ‘The Fear’, whose coming of age, fuck-the-bullshit message remains as potent as ever.