Review: Lily Allen, Pyramid stage, Saturday

9.5 out of 10. Saturday, 4.30pm. "Silly dancing please," Lily demands, and thousands in ponchos oblige.

Stage: Pyramid

Time: Saturday, 4.30pm

Dress code: Ball gown, trainers, hoodie and fag. And cider.

In summary: Yesterday's headliners consisted of the restrained (Arctic Monkeys) and the vacant (Amy Winehouse), so Lily Allen's bouncy, confident ska-pop couldn't come at a better time for the weather-beaten crowd. She bounds on stage, hoodie up, cider in hand, with a huge smile on her face. Nervous she may be, or "fucking shitting herself", as she informs us, but the 22-year-old is clearly having the time of her life and keen to impart her mood on the crowd.

Crucially, she's learned to dress up her live vocals to make a distinction from the album, but without trying too hard to prove herself. Yet prove herself she does, her voice sounding particularly lovely when she pays homage to Debbie Harry by covering the Blondie classic Heart of Glass.

Allen's interaction with the crowd is just short of perfectly judged, save for too much swearing and a cringeworthy diatribe about small penises as an intro to Not Big.

Shortly afterwards comes the most impressive moment of the set, when Allen acknowledges her ska-reggae influences and is joined on stage by Lynval Golding and Terry Hall of the Specials, where the three do a rendition of Gangsters. It doesn't sound too shabby, but more importantly the chemistry and warmth between the three feels genuine.

She closes with Alfie, a song of sisterly exasperation set to the pomp of a circus theme tune. "Silly dancing please!" she demands, to which thousands of poncho wearing people oblige.

After she waves goodbye, the camera follows Allen off stage where her entourage are waiting. She suddenly cuts a diminished figure, compared to the self-assured pop star of moments before. She rushes towards their open arms, no doubt asking, "Was it OK?" to which someone no doubt replies, "You smashed it!"

Highlight: The Specials, closely followed by Sunday Morning, where Allen plays guitar for one chord and one chord only.

Lowlight: The fact that she doesn't resist the temptation to shout "I'm glad I don't look like fucking Cheryl Tweedy!" during her song Cheryl Tweedy. A version faithful to the original would have been more dignified.

Unusual occurrences: Her spookily good whistling during Smile.

Mark out of 10: 9.5

Where she'll be on the bill next year: One shy of headlining the main stage.

Will be talking about this until: Way after the blanket Glasto media post-mortem, particularly as her performance outshined a certain fellow Brit pop star.


Rosie Swash

The GuardianTramp

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