There was a moment midway through Lily Allen's Auckland concert last night when she kicked off her hefty heels and went barefoot.
A pretty common pop gig occurrence and hardly worth writing about, except for the fact less than 10-minutes later the heels were back on. It was almost like the British pop star with the sweet voice, big hooks and the profane, confessional lyrics had allowed her guard to drop and suddenly felt exposed.
That, plus an endearing, slightly nervous between song giggle summed up the paradox of vulnerability and warmth that is so much a part of the charisma of the now 33-year old, mother of two.
Famous for more than a dozen years and now up to album number four (last year's well received No Shame), Lily Allen in 2019 is still very much an artist with something to say.
And given hers has been a life of turbulence; of a parent who walked out, of countless schools, of infidelity, of divorce, of sexual assault, of addiction, of the minefield of fame at an early age; the reality that Allen draws from a deep well shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who's followed her career.
It's a career that's yielded millions in album sales, multiple Ivor Novello awards and a UK top 40 count totalling 16 different singles, including the three number ones Smile (2006), The Fear (2008) and Somewhere Only We Know (2013).
The first two of those British chart-toppers featured in last night's 90-minute set and sounded as chirpy as when they first burst from radio speakers back when Myspace was the Next Big Thing. In those days Allen was considered a pioneer of the digital age, but as she told us, she can't help but now feel suddenly old given how much the social media landscape has changed.
The rapid passing of years that can dawn on 30-somethings was also acknowledged with an almost fond reminisce on the simpler times that led her to write her 2009 anti George W. Bush hit F**k You. Now used as an encore and updated to be about the current US President rather than the one presently undergoing an image overhaul based on the fact he's measurably less abhorrent than the incumbent, this is still the prettiest song to be anchored in a swear word you ever did hear.
Which raises the question: is Lily Allen an even better artist than she herself realises? As in, strip back the lyrics that occasionally veer more to juvenility than they do starkness, and you've got a performer with a genuinely gorgeous voice whose honesty and command of melody make her a remarkable live music presence.
Indeed, Allen comes armed with just two backing musicians. Granted, those two blokes do everything from being DJs to playing keyboards and bass guitars, but it's the I Dream Of Jeanie-like Allen and that voice – especially striking in its upper register – that carry the weight of the show.
There may have only been 2000 people at Spark Arena last night, but whether it was a heartbreaking new piano ballad like Three (written from the point of view of her daughter), another equally devastating track from No Shame like Family Man (detailing the breakdown of her marriage) or the hip-hop influenced highlight Trigger Bang (about rising above addiction, also from No Shame), I've been at full capacity Spark Arena gigs that have been far, far quieter. Allen's fans really love her and they weren't afraid to show it. They feel they know her.
Maybe she gets a little self-conscious realising just how much of herself she's sharing, but with a talent so prodigious, she needn't be shy.
Tim Roxborogh hosts Newstalk ZB's Weekend Collective and blogs at RoxboroghReport.com.