Avril Lavigne at Alexandra Palace
While it’s her hits that made Avril Lavigne pop-punk royalty, it’s the production of her show that cements that status. After three tour postponements and a venue change, the Canadian songstress brings her A-game to North London’s Alexandra Palace.
Giant inflatable balls bounce around the crowd for most of the concert, while a huge LED backdrop and balloon bunches make up the set. Hung screens featuring a noticeable delay are the only downside, though most people don’t seem to mind. Despite being a tour in support of her seventh studio album, Love Sux, Lavigne delivers a riveting 14-song setlist of her very best. Opening the evening with a slideshow featuring clips from her more than 20-year career, the singer embraces her history as she delivers tracks from as far back as 2002 and as recent as 2022, alongside songs from the many years in between. Bite Me, an unapologetically ballsy offering, is up first, setting the tone for what is to be a sweaty and energetic evening. Next is Complicated, the singer’s first ever release. As the opening chords echo through the room, the crowd is like putty in Lavigne’s hands, singing and dancing along to every word. Video interludes and band instrumentals break up parts of the set, allowing the audience to catch their breath; but while they add a layer of drama to the show, they feel just a bit too long.
There is something undeniably euphoric about Avril Lavigne’s music and the way it can make grown adults lose their inhibitions. For many, these are the songs that soundtracked their youth, and tonight is a celebration. Each number is greeted with overwhelming joy, most notably the iconic Sk8r Boi and the heart-wrenching I’m with You. As a performer, Lavigne is unassuming yet fierce; she knows how to cater to and command a crowd. Mid-set, support act Phem joins the singer on-stage for a duet of Spice Girls’ Wannabe. Sometimes girls (and everyone else as well) just want to have fun, and Lavigne is here to provide.
As the audience roars into one last singalong for the appropriately chosen Here’s to Never Growing Up, the anthem is the perfect closer for an evening of pure delightful nostalgia. Short but sweet, nobody can throw a party quite like Canada’s pop-punk princess.
Photos: Virginie Viche
For further information and future events visit Avril Lavigne’s website here.
Watch the video for the single I’m a Mess here: