Support from Jagwar Twin – The Greek Theater, Los Angeles, CA – 9/18/19
After a 5 year absence, Canadian Pop Punk Queen, Avril Lavigne has returned to the road. And from the reaction from the packed Greek Theater Crowd, it’s a very welcome return.
Avril’s latest album, “Head Above Water” was released in February of this year, the writing of which has been noted as giving her a focus and creative inspiration through her battle with Lyme disease. All that has led to a short North American tour.
A montage of her videos played on the large screen at the back as Avril appeared in a flowing white dress like a light coming out of the darkness to take her place at the front of the stage. A string sextext joined Avril’s band as she began the show with her lead single and album title, “Head Above Water“. It was clear from the beginning that Avril’s voice was very strong and whatever trials and tribulations she has faced in the recent past, were not going to impede her performance in any way. She sang beautifully, rocked out on her guitar and bounced across the stage all night, interacting with the fans by shaking their hands and posing for selfies.
The setlist was a tight mix of her greatest hits with a few surprises thrown in. The first surprise was a short rendition of the Kelly Clarkson hit (penned by Avril), “Breakaway“. The second was an interesting choice as she jumped behind the drum kit for a version of Weezer’s “Beverly Hills” which was sung by opener, Roy English (Jagwar Twin). (I’d have accepted another song from her latest album in its place, but that’s just me)
The faithful crowd got everything out of the show that they wanted, including “Happy Ending“, “Complicated“, “When You’re Gone” a tricked out, instrumental version of “Hello Kitty” followed up by “Girlfriend” and the main set closer, “Sk8er Boi” that had the Greek Theater Crowd bouncing in unison.
After a short absence, the video montage began to play again with images from her latest single, “I Fell In Love With The Devil“. Joined again by the string sextet, Avril appeared in a striking red dress to sit at the piano at the front of the stage and deliver a vocal tour de force that acted as one of the great highlights of the evening. The song is sure to be a staple at all future shows.
The evening ended with a rousing version of one of her greatest hits “I’m With You” which Avril extended by allowing the crowd to sing along to the chorus with her.
My one (albeit selfish) complaint of the evening was the lighting that kept her amazing band in the dark for most of the evening. Having some friends in the band and not being able to see them, except for their brief intros, was a little disappointing. But that aside, their contribution to the evening didn’t go unnoticed. The band is compromised of guitarists, Dan Ellis and David Immerman, spanking new bassist, Matt Reilly, verstaile Filter drummer, Chris Reeve, and Avril’s longest serving band member and musical director, her incredibly talented and faux hawked keyboardist, Steve Ferlazzo.
The show is a testament to Avril’s strength as a person which is exposed in the maturity of her newer songs while not shying away from the playfulness of her early hits that clearly set a strong foundation for her continued success. She blends both sides seamlessly and at only 34 years old has really set herself up for a lengthy run atop the charts as well as in the hearts of her fans.
In attendance The Steve Ferlazzo Fan Club
As far as I could tell, singer Roy English was neither a Jaguar nor a Twin… But he is a dreadlocked singer that combines an eclectic array of pop, R&B, EDM and rock. He kicked off the evening with a spirited set of songs dressed in what once was possibly a Fraggle Rock cast member.