Music fans in Hong Kong are all too often forgotten when bands and artists set off on their world tours. So when it was announced that Lily Allen would be stopping by for the first time on her comeback tour after four years away from music, there were plenty of reasons to be excited.
Allen's Sheezus tour had already taken her across the globe last year, but when she took to the stage at AsiaWorld-Expo last month, it was hard not to feel like something was lacking.
Allen came into the huge Hall 10 stage without a band. Instead, she was accompanied by a DJ who provided backing tracks for each song. The rest of the Sheezus world tour has included a live band; quite why she thought her fans in Asia didn't deserve the full show was never explained. Perhaps it was an attempt to save costs, and we certainly don't want to discourage international stars from visiting Hong Kong. But if they are just here for a quick buck rather than to put on the best possible show, you wonder whether they should bother.
Not that the show was a complete washout. Opener Sheezus, from Allen's most recent album, showed off her new direction, with a glitchy, electronic sound filling the arena. But the best moments came from her first two records. A shout-out to pal Mark Ronson preceded Littlest Things, and Allen showed off her dance moves during LDN, a song about her hometown of London.
But the limitations of using just a backing DJ soon became clear. When a fan requested Alfie, she replied that she better not because her brother hates the song, and anyway, she didn't have a backing CD for that track.
At times the lack of improvisation made the show feel a little like watching Allen perform her own songs karaoke-style. The DJ did do some interesting things with a few of the tracks, including a banging drum 'n' bass remix of Smile. And the stage lighting - which included giant, fluorescent baby bottles to symbolise Allen's new role as a mum - looked great. But you couldn't help feeling like the show was missing something.
At least she redeemed herself a little with a rousing encore of Who'd Have Known. And the crowd erupted when she closed with the anti-bigotry anthem F*** You.
We'd love to have you back in Hong Kong, Lily, but next time, maybe bring a few of your friends.