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Page last updated at 12:14 GMT, Thursday, 29 January 2009
Lily Allen shines at live return

By Sarah Jane Griffiths
Newsbeat entertainment reporter

Lily Allen

It's 18 months since she last sang for the masses, so it must have been a slightly nervous Lily Allen that stormed onto the stage at Koko in Camden on Wednesday night shouting, "Alright London?".

But the warm up gigs in Gloucester and Oxford must have helped as she didn't let her nerves show, launching straight into the first track from her new album It's Not Me, It's You, called Everyone's At It.

Those girly prom dresses, slightly chav earrings and trademark trainers are long gone.

They've been replaced by a much more grown-up Lily, oozing sassiness out of her black corset, sequin hot pants and killer platforms.

It was like she's never had time off or anything. She's definitely changed though, she's more serious
Lily Allen fan Steven Bennett, 19, from Manchester
Of course, not everyone was there just to eyeball her. There was the small matter of her singing and whether her new songs were any good.

Golden oldie LDN got big cheers from the now warmed up crowd, and Lily thanked everyone for turning up before telling them, "I can't wait for these photographers at the front to leave so I can take these shoes off. I can't dance in them!".

With her name in big letters behind her band, Lily launched into her next number I Could Say, an 80s-sounding ballad complete with drum machine. Then she upped the pace, getting everyone bouncing with It's Not Fair.

No doubt all of her ex-boyfriends are hoping it's not about them, a humorous take on a relationship slightly lacking in the bedroom department.

"I've heard this song referred to as Stupid Country," she told the crowd. "Which is really appropriate, because it's a bit stupid and it sounds like country music!"

New tracks

Next up it was her ode to former US President George Bush, a bit of a rude one with a title we can't mention here. It's fair to say she's not a fan, even though the song does sound a bit like she's sampled The Carpenters track Close To You.

"So I'm back!" she shouted to big cheers before launching into Who'd Have Known. "This next song I basically nicked off Take That. So it's by me and Take That!"

Lily Allen
Lily Allen starts her UK and Ireland tour in Glasgow in March

There's no denying it did share a lot of qualities with the manband's track Shine, but nobody seemed to mind.

Lily's never been one to hide her can of beer at the side of stage while she's performing, but she stayed more or less sober last night.

"I don't really know what to say," she giggled. "I'm not drunk enough to make conversation."

But self-proclaimed mega fans Tom and Blane were egging her on in the crowd: "I heard that she wasn't drinking any more so I was glad that she was for this show.

"I think she's so much funnier when she's drunk. I was like, get it down your neck!"

The 18-year-olds had travelled all the way down from Birmingham for the gig: "This album's more mature than the last one, more dancey.

"She's a lot more glamorous now too. I thought she was wicked. It went too fast though!"

After performing 22, Him, Never Gonna Happen and Back To The Start, Lily did get a couple of brave heckles from the crowd, to "play something old" and the slightly more random "put your shoes back on"!

"I'd do anything for you guys," said Lily. "Except dance in those shoes!"

Fan reaction

She dedicated Littlest Things to her friend and workmate Mark Ronson, who she said was in the crowd somewhere, before launching into another old favourite and crowd singalong Smile. Then it was new single The Fear.

"This song was out the day before yesterday and it's doing pretty well," she told everyone. "It's beating Lady Gaga! And I've got my big pants on!"

The track's already a standout favourite, along with her encore, a cover of Britney's Womanizer, which Lily seemed to enjoy even more than her fans.

Chelsea Mcelland, 18, came from Dorset for the gig. "My favourite part was The Fear. She looked great, so different. I last saw her at V2006 was it? It was worth the wait."

"She was great," said Steven Bennett, 19, from Manchester. "It was like she's never had time off or anything. She's definitely changed though, she's more serious now. But I did love that Britney track."

One thing's for sure, she could definitely show Britney a thing or two about singing live.

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