Four years, a marriage and two kids later, Lily Allen is back. She’s still got her trademark attitude and charm, and the English singer brought both – and lots of fun – to Taipei for her first ever show in Taiwan on Thursday at the Taipei International Convention Center.

Things were a little shaky with the opening “Sheezus”, the namesake of Allen’s most recent album, but quickly picked up with dance tune “Not Fair”, featuring some rather suggestive albeit funny visuals in the background. This was followed up by upbeat classic “LDN” – which as a nice touch – Allen customized to “Walkin’ around Taipei town”, and the equally cheerful “As Long As I Got You”, a song dedicated to her husband. “It’s not a sexy one. That’s later,” she quipped.

During her performance, Allen – true to her outspoken persona– delivered tunes that broached a variety of subjects including the media, domestic life as a mum of two and cyberbullying, the latter in a funny little number called “URL Badman”, but all the time kept things light with her bubbly personality and giggling in between songs.

Despite the range of new material, Allen’s older hits proved to be the highlights of the show. From “Not Fair”, “Everyone’s At It” to “22”, the fans adored her, clapping along and cheering her on as she periodically tried her hand at a list of Mandarin phrases from”Xie xie”, “Da jia hao” to “Wo ai ni men”. The classic hit “Smile” was an kaleidoscopic disco of LED lights, and Allen even kicked off her heels in all the excitement.

She soon puts them back on for “Hard Out There”, the lead single from Sheezus, a song that, she says, “requires heels”. Flaunting some outrageously provocative dance moves, she dedicates the song to “her ladies”, as the women (and men) in the audience join her in expressing their frustration at and deliberately defying societal expectations of females.

Despite her numerous vibrant outfits, Allen – with her tiny figure and a lone DJ – at times had some difficulty commanding the stage. The massive baby bottles and the backing visuals compensated for it somewhat, and the rest came down to her singing, which did not disappoint. In fact, Allen’s vocals were richer and more resonate live than the somewhat muted versions heard on her albums, and this was especially apparent in her oldie “Littlest Things” from her 2006 debut album Alright, Still and in the slower ballad of “Miserable Without Your Love”, which featured a single spotlight on Allen centre stage, the deep bass accentuating her dulcet tones.

Allen’s quirky humour also came through in her interactions with the audience; she declined to sign a fan’s iPhone because she “is in contract with Samsung” and mistook a fan asking her to sign her album as gifting her a present.

The encore eased any doubts the audience may have had over her somewhat odd decision in closing the set with “The Fear”, a lesser-known hit in Asia from her second album It’s Not Me, It’s You. Screams erupted from the auditorium as soon as the intro for “Who’d Have Known” started playing, and Allen’s live rendition of the tune was pure perfection for any fans – like myself – who grew up listening to the song. The audience rocked along, hands in the air, fully immersed in the sweet melody.

Quite appropriately, Allen closed out her Taipei show with one of her most popular songs “F— You”, the audience roaring along, having just as genuinely good a time as Allen herself. A whole lot of technicoloured lights, effects and energetic dancing, Allen’s one-hour show reminded audiences of the kind of kooky, abrasive charm they had missed before Sheezus’ rebirth. We’ll let her be our leader.

Set list

  • Sheezus
  • Not Fair
  • LDN
  • As Long As I Got You
  • Who Do You Love?
  • Everyone’s At It
  • Close Your Eyes
  • URL Badman
  • Smile
  • Life For Me
  • Miserable Without Your Love
  • Littlest Things
  • Hard Out Here
  • 22
  • L8 CMMR
  • The Fear


  • Who’d Have Known?
  • F— You