"Are you really fucking crying? Are you serious?" asked Brit spitfire Lily Allen, addressing a young girl putting that Sanjaya fan to shame in the front row of NYC's newly christened Fillmore at Irving Plaza. "You're crying because you're so happy to be here? This has never happened before! I want more crying fans! Everyone cry! You can be my best friend now, so long as you just follow me around and cry."
Tears may have been overkill, but Allen's show was stirringly awesome. Performing tracks from her hit debut Alright, Still, Allen segued from song to song with a bevy of her trademark barbs, taking on everything from Philly Cheesesteak to small dicks.
Kick-starting her set with "LDN," arguably the best song on her album, Allen strutted on stage in a white frock, bouffant, pigtails and blunt-cut bangs and big gold hoops. "This is the last night of our American tour," she told the crowd in her heavily accented brogue. "I've been sober for the last five shows, but this is New York City, and New York City is special so I'm quite smashed already." Sipping from a glass of champagne, Allen lit into the horn-heavy swagger of "Shame for You," using the echoey mic reverb to heighten her already stellar vocal skills.
Allen explained that "Everything's Just Wonderful," her political rant blasting the politicians in DC and the UK, was "about assholes...not real assholes, because that would be a bit weird." She then dedicated the sweet love song "Little Things" to her boyfriend and showed off killer rhyming skills on her 50 Cent-style send-up "Nan You're a Window Shopper" -- a riff about her grandmother. "You're walking down the post office to pick up your pension, and then you're off to Bingo, it's become an obsession," she flowed.
Between songs, Allen laid it on thick for what she claims is her favorite US city. "New York City is the best! Everywhere else sucks. Last night we were in Philadelphia and that crowd was a bunch of assholes. What have they got? Philly Cheese steak? Fucking crap food." It's your lucky day, Sienna Miller, Pennsylvania suddenly has a new enemy!
"Not Big," her scathing slam of poorly endowed ex-boyfriends, got the girls in the audience pumped, while her cover of fellow countrymen The Kooks "Naive" got an injection of her saucy dub/ska sound. "The band is quite rubbish," she quipped as she introduced the song. "But I make their songs sound quite good."
Midway through her set, heavy-lidded and clearly lit, Allen kicked off her heels complaining of foot pain and retrieved her Air Jordans from the side of stage, then dove into the heavily ska-informed "Friday Night," followed by "Knock 'Em Out," the hip-hop heavy kiss-off song targeting cheesy guys and their pick up lines. Allen closed out her set with the hit "Smile" but returned quickly for an encore of surprise covers, including the Kaiser Chiefs' "Oh My God" and Blondie's "Heart of Glass." The allowed the tough-talking mini-diva a forum to show of her amazing range, reminding fans that in addition to crafting witty lyrics, Allen can sing her ass off.
As this was her last performance of the tour, Allen ended the encore with "Alfie," her love note to her younger brother who she said she couldn't wait to see when she got home. "It smells quite green in here!" she winked. "Alfie would love it," and then launched into, "Oh, oh deary me/My little brother's in his bedroom smoking weed/I tell him he should get up cause it's nearly half past three/He can't be bothered cause he's high on THC." Encouraging the crowd to dance silly and not give a fuck, Allen dashed off stage, a bunch of flowers in her arms, shaking her tail like only a drunk gal who doesn't give a shit can, leaving a crowd of happy folk, a few pissed off Philly kids, and a couple of shamefaced dudes folding their hands over their crotches in her wake.
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