AVRILLANCHE! TEEN POP ROCKER ROLLS OUT ALL OF HER SONGS
Toronto, ON - Air Canada Centre
TORONTO - She's just launched her first headlining North American tour - last night at the
Air Canada Centre - and Avril Lavigne has already figured out how to make her breakthrough song Complicated, interesting:
Drag two fans from the audience on stage with her to sing some of the verses.
In the case of last night, it was a 12-year-old girl and a tall strapping boy - I didn't catch his age - who
were given the honours. The girl, in particular, did rather well in the spotlight as she belted out the words while dressed
in a souvenir ``Avril'' toque.
As for Lavigne herself, the teenaged pop-rock sensation seemed quite comfortable as well, having just returned
from a European headlining tour.
She began the hour-and-five-minute show with the punk-pop anthem Sk8ter Boi, the second single off her breakthrough
debut album, Let Go.
Perched on a tiny ramp on an otherwise stripped-down stage, the 18-year-old from Napanee, Ont., quickly ran
toward the front and hundreds of screaming, mainly young, female fans - many with their mothers and fathers - who were already
chanting ``Avril! Avril!'' before the lights even went down.
``It's good to be back in Canada,'' screamed Lavigne, backed by a three-piece band including a shirt-less
drummer. ``This is our first show on our North American tour, so we're quite excited.''
The Toronto kick-off of the Try To Shut Me Up Tour sold out in about 10 minutes after tickets went on sale
back in late January.
So the crowd of 16,000 fans had some time to let the anticipation for Lavigne's visit build.
As it was, they enthusiastically sang along to her biggest hits - the aforementioned Complicated and Sk8ter
Boi and I'm With You.
The singer, meanwhile, was fresh off winning a leading four Juno trophies - second only to host Shania Twain's
three wins - this past weekend in Ottawa at the Corel Centre. (She returns to the scene of the Juno Awards tonight to play
While in the nation's capital, she also had an audience with the prime minister himself, who presented Lavigne
with the diamond award for albums sales of ten million in Canada.
The challenge right now would appear to be having enough material to stage a lengthy concert. As it stands,
she only has the 13 songs from her debut album and the odd b-side and cover (Green Day's Basketcase) to sustain her, which
is why the show felt like it ended just as things were really getting going.
Avril's stage antics including twirling on one spot during Sk8ter Boi, riding the shoulders of a security
guard in the front section of the crowd during Nobody's Fool, strapping on an electric guitar for songs like Mobile and Naked
or jumping on spot during In My World. Otherwise, Lavigne recalled a young Alanis Morisette at times with her big voice and
long hair hanging in her face.
When she returned for the encore, Lavigne was joined by her guitarist on acoustic guitars for a stripped-down
rendition of Tomorrow. But the entire band eventually returned for a plugged-in version of Things I'll Never Say, the last
song of the night.
JUNO WINNER THRILLS SOLD OUT CROWD
Ottawa, ON - Corel Centre
OTTAWA - A mini-van isn't exactly the place one would expect to see the message ``Avril Rawks''
scrawled in a removable white paint.
But when the majority of your fans are teenagers and you also appear to have a lock on the 7-9 bracket, hey,
they need their parents to drive them to the show.
It was a more mature Avril Lavigne who entertained a sold-out crowd of 13,000 at the Corel Centre last
night, much polished since her last concert in the capital during last summer's SuperEx.
A month-long European tour, international stardom, losing out on a bunch of Grammy Awards and then winning
four Junos - two picked up in the same building just four nights before - will do that.
Though she was two hours from her home town of Napanee, and light years from that life she left less than
three years ago, it seemed as though Lavigne had brought the North American headlining tour she's been longing for home.
``I'm just going to give a shout out to my mom, my brother and sister and my girl friends from school,'' she
yelled early on.
And there seemed to be a huge Napanee contingent among the two-fingered saluting crowd, many of them wearing
Napanee Home Hardware T-shirts.
Until Lavigne and the rest of the band donned Ottawa Senators jerseys for the their encore verison of Things
I'll Necer Say Lavigne wore a blue T-shirt, black cargo pants, argyle socks, and a large watch chain which briefly caught
her up early in the show.
Her guitarist, Evan Taubenfeld, took over while she sorted it out.
``We were just here the other night,'' he shouted.
``And it's great to be back,'' she chimed in.
It was the second night of the tour, which kicked off in Toronto and heads to Montreal tonight, and already
Lavigne seems quite comfortable in front of a crowd.
Her latest singles, Losing Grip and I'm With You got the biggest rise out of the crowd, and Lavigne added
spice to her overplayed debut, Complicated, by dragging two people from the crowd on stage.
Melanie, 16, and Shaun, 17, (or Sean, or Shawn, he didn't spell it) were enthusiastic singers and GREAT backup
Lavigne opened with her hit Sk8ter Boi and proved she's really more of a running-around or holding-the-microphone
performer than anything else. She got the audience jumping for almost all of In My World, a song about growing up in Napanee.
``Every time I do that song, I remind me of how much I'm out of shape,'' she said, panting.
Lavigne stopped to grab flowers and a teddy bear from fans, and at one point jumped on a security guard's
soldiers for a quick romp through the crowd.
In between other songs from her 13-track debut Let Go - like Nobody's Fool and Mobile - she introduced an
off-colour B-side called I Don't Care and lef her four-piece band with a convincing rendition of Green Day's Basket Case.
And for web critics who argue Lavigne can pull off only a repeated ``mystery chord'' on her guitar, she pulled
an electric verison twice and then strapped on an acoustic to play a low-key Tomorrow.
As an added bonus, opening bands Swollen Members and Gob also had the crowd cheering and singing.