12 years after her explosion the pop scene, Avril Lavigne has a established herself as a talented singer, gutsy performer and media target on a few occasions. Her relationship with Nickleback frontman Chad Kroeger caused quite a stir and she no doubt takes a lot of heat and he gets the blame for some of her current musical directions. Perhaps you’ve heard about “Hello Kitty” and the video that came along with it? Some people in America went out of their freakin’ minds about it but the people over in Japan didn’t seem to mind, they got it. Maybe they understand the culture and what she was doing. Or perhaps you saw the recent Reddit fueled Avril fan photos? Where she seemingly can’t be far enough away from her fans and still be in the same shot? Of course, we could consider that these people(fans) are the ones that placed themselves in position before the photos were taken. But what fun is that? American media seems to be on the prowl for the next victim of it’s hateful, trending, venomous stories and Avril just happens to be an easy target. But her career hasn’t taken the drastic, repulsive turns that Miley Cyrus’ has taken. There’s really no comparison but still people wondered. They wondered about this show.
So when Avril opened up the show in Seattle for the tour celebrating the 21st anniversary of the Backstreet Boys, many in the crowd were most certainly anticipating some type of circus. That of course is a direct result of music media and social media’s over-dramatization and sensationalism. What she did in Seattle however, was she played music. She came out in her much talked about anime punk Hello Kitty outfit and yes she played “that” song but soon after that song was finished she stepped backstage for a costume change as her band played on. She came back out in black leggings and a black sleeveless T-Shirt, pretty much her old look, which over course includes ounces of mascara. The band was tight as they rolled through Lavigne’s ever growing catalog of hits. The crowd sang along to nearly every song and had been worked into a frenzy by the time she got to her last few numbers, “Complicated” and “Skater Boy”. Throughout the show she worked both sides of the stage ensuring plenty of cell-phone photo opportunities to those that dished out the big digits to get in the VIP pit area.
After Lavigne’s set ended and the crowd caught their breath the headliner came out. And did they ever come out with guns a blazin’. The audience, after the Avril love fest, was amped up and ready for more. The VIP pit was packed with enthusiastic Backstreet Boys fans that, judging by the ages, had grown up with the boys. They were close enough to smell the cologne of Brian, Howie, Kevin, AJ and Nick and the guys really interacted well with them. Brian posed repeatedly for cell phone pics and he hammed it up….LEVEL = PRO.
They pulled out all the stops, big concert lighting, ramps and stairs, smoke cannons and they included a blistering acoustic set mid way thought the show. which they explained was partly do to the fact that they loved what Nirvana did “Unplugged” all those years ago. Nick(Carter) told the crowd that BSB always wanted to do something like that. So each of them settled comfortably into their seats and masterfully jammed on their instruments with a stage full of VIPs that got treated to the show of a lifetime.
All night long the dance moves were spot on and they don’t appear to have lost a step in the 2-plus decades they have been melting hearts and now cell phones. WAMU theater was lit up like a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert during “Freebird” but it was cell phones and not Bic lighters this time. All five of the guys took turns on the mic engaging the crowd, talking to them and thanking them for the years of support.
The 2 hour plus long set combined all the big hits from the last 21 years along with songs from the latest album that has the guys maturing greatly and gracefully. The current material has an almost jam band/Americana type vibe to it, with a little bit of folk sprinkled on top and it is very pleasing to the ear. As the fans have matured over the years, the guys clearly have too. In fact they even joked that they wouldn’t be able to dance the way they do forever so they needed to learn to play instruments.
Complete with a few harrowing trips through the crowd with security cautiously leading the way and a dangerous but epic 10 foot leap from stage to catwalk by Brian, the boys left nothing out and we mean nothing. They all wore “12th” man jerseys during the encore and were welcomed by thunderous applause as they finished off the those in attendance, leaving the Seattle fans with ears ringing and senses battered as they were treated to one of the best concert experiences of their lives.