Lily Allen at Glastonbury Festival 2014 review

'A force of nature'

Lily Allen at Glastonbury Festival 2014 review

Photographer: Shirlaine ForrestChris Eustace on 29 June 2014

Lily Allen hasn’t had the best of luck since her comeback – sure, her Keane cover was a teary advert-assisted Christmas smash, but with controversial videos and the singer herself berating her label for releasing the wrong singles, things are in danger of derailing, and the Queen of Glastonbury is very much in need of an easy home win. Half an hour beforehand though, things don’t look promising: it’s hammering it down like it hasn’t all weekend, an electrical storm has seen all the stages temporarily close and only the hardiest of souls are hanging around down the front.

However, a royal decree can work wonders. 10 minutes before showtime, the sun breaks through the clouds, the Pyramid Stage is powered up once more – there’s even a rainbow. Giant baby bottles are dotted around the stage as ‘LDN’, furnished with a reggaeton-style breakdown, starts things up. “Thank fuck for that, the rain’s stopped!” she beams, before the country & western-flecked domestic bliss of ‘As Long As I Got You’ sees her family make a quick appearance on the video screens: "It was here, 5 years ago tonight I got together with my new husband…and now we have two babies!” she says to huge cheers.

So this may be a slightly more stable Lily than the one that last graced this stage, but it doesn’t mean she’s gone soft: the neck-snapping R’n’B of ‘Sheezus’ gives shout outs to Katy Perry, Beyonce, Rihanna and Lorde, but makes it clear that she wants to have the crown all to herself, while ‘Hard Out Here’ turns out to be the song of the set, as dancers with dog’s heads accompany a much-needed smackdown to the idiotic misogyny peddled by the likes of Chris Brown and Robin Thicke. Begging for a better-handled re-release, it dispels any doubts that she’s still needed in the charts.

Her targets don’t end there: ‘Fuck You’ sees FIFA supremo Sepp Blatter get it in the neck - “one of the most corrupt people in the world”, she spits, and the football theme continues with her unofficial World Cup song ‘Bass Like Home’ - “when I was offered this slot, I was scared everyone would be watching England then instead” she admits, so at least one positive has come from their early World Cup exit.

Allen is a force of nature onstage, spinning around to ‘Smile’ as it speeds up to drum ‘n’ bass pace, and checking herself for abbreviating the festival after a sweet ‘Somewhere Only We Know’: “I fucking hate people calling it ‘Glasto”. There’s still time to address the real burning questions of the day, be it ‘The Fear’ asking whether we have our priorities in life right or Lily fretting about her choice of outfit:  “Is my cameltoe really prominent?” she asks before a ticket tape-laden ‘Not Fair’ closes things out. “I can’t wait to come back and do this again!” she says as she departs, safe in the knowledge that this set will be one of the highlights of the weekend. The Queen is back on her throne.    

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