Lily Allen — the fearless voice of a generation of women who have no issue being just as raunchy as the boys — is all grown up.
Though Britain’s beloved bad girl and pop sensation Lily Allen has long toyed with controversy, her newly released album “No Shame” is one that narrates growth and maturity, reflecting the personal metamorphosis that followed her recent divorce.
Allen played at Terminal 5 on Saturday night as part of the North American leg of her “No Shame” tour, showings both her newest and oldest tracks. Despite battling an illness that left her sick and coughing, her vocals and stage presence exceeded expectations, and her fans were more than willing to aid Allen with their voices.
Gleefully skipping toward the crowd with a smile plastered her face, Allen took to the stage wearing a campy bow-bedecked white ball gown and neon-orange-soled trainers on her feet to match her fluorescent eyeliner. With Allen stood her guitarist and keyboard player to each side, the three of them illuminated by lights in electrifying reds, yellows and blues.
She dove straight into many fan favorites, with even the bouncers and security guards singing along to “Smile,” “The Fear” and “Not Fair.” A cover of Lykke Li’s “deep end” also made an appearance later on in the set.
There was nary a dry eye in the room as Allen shared a tender moment with the audience while dedicating “Three,” a ballad that speaks to the hardship of being a touring artist and mother, to her two young children who had flown in from the U.K. the night before to watch their mom perform.
Each song-to-song transition was supplanted with witty banter spanning from tongue-in-cheek crowd interactions — urging anonymous individuals smoking marijuana to “show yourselves, p-ssies” — to political commentary on the various crises currently destabilizing the Middle East. She was unapologetically loud and vehemently charged, in true Lily Allen fashion.
“I wrote this about a man I thought was pretty grotesque at the time — his name is George W. Bush,” Allen said in the encore finale, introducing fan favorite and critically acclaimed hit “F-k You.”
Speaking to the current political climate and upcoming elections, she condemned President Donald Trump and urged the crowd to take action and vote in the upcoming midterm election, altering the lyrics of one of the song’s verses as a dedication to him: “There’s people like you who need to get through / no one wants your f-king opinion Donald Trump, get off of Twitter and f-king do something useful!”
It is no doubt that Allen remains her ballsy, carefree self, but since her Myspace-propelled rise to fame, she has matured gracefully and organically. In songs “Trigger Bang” and “Apples,” Allen candidly reflects on her partying past and foregrounds the essence that lies at the heart of her songwriting and performance once you look beyond the spectacle.
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