Lily Allen – Brixton Academy

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Why this gig?

Lily Allen is a bit of a guilty pleasure. She’s yours too, right? Go on. Admit it.


A band called Fryars. I remember enjoying them at the time, but I’m writing this over a month later and I can’t remember a thing about them. Which is probably a bad sign.


When I went to a lot of gigs in the 80s and 90s, it was really common for bands to come on really late. These days, most bands seem to have realised how much that annoys the fans and it’s now really rare that show start more than a few minutes late.

Lily Allen is apparently an exception to this rule. I suspect that a lot of this was down to the the complexity of the opening scene in the show – but I don’t know that for sure as she didn’t bother to apologise or explain.

You’ll have read about the opening of the show, no doubt. Allen was wheeled on in a giant manger while singing “Sheezus” and the usual Christian rent-a-quote organisations did their usual trick of alienating yet more of their potential followers. It was just a silly and fun way to start a Christmas show. It wasn’t at all offensive unless you’re incredibly over-sensitive.

The rest of the show went as you might expect. There were songs from all of Allen’s albums. To my mind it was rather too weighted towards her latest album, Sheezus, but that’s only to be expected. This is, after all, a promotional opportunity.

After the initial delay, the night runs pretty smoothly. There’s one strange delay after Allen (with help from a children’s choir) has sung “Somewhere Only We Know”. During the song, the stage is sprayed with foam which acts as fake snow. This means that the stage is now really slippery and before the next song there’s a two or three minute break while stagehands dry the stage. Surely it would have been better to play that song at the end of the set when there is a natural break in proceedings.

It’s all rather slight and insubstantial. But that’s exactly what you want from a pop concert. Yes, it’s rather different from many of the shows I see, but it’s a great choice for my final gig of the year.

The setlist is on

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