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Avril Lavigne shows her future is in hand

Tsongas Centre, Lowell, Mass., May 15, 2003

By Jeffrey B. Remz

LOWELL, MA. - When teen superstar Avril Lavigne comes to mind, the image projected is one of a snarling teen.

And , of course, with an album recorded at such a tender age - 16 - one is left wondering if Lavigne is an artist with staying power or a one-CD wonder. She certainly couldn't be accused of being a one-hit wonder, given the several she's already enjoyed from her debut, "Let Go."

Of course, being in the studio with help from the hot production trio of The Matrix is oen thing, but how about live? In other words, is Lavigne merely a studio creation?

Based on the first of two-sold out shows in the north Boston suburb and near the very end of her biggest tour to date, Lavigne often surpassed the songs on "Let Go."

And the emotion wasn't so evident either on the follow-up, "Nobody's Fool."

Interestingly enough, the tempo altered for the better with "Mobile" and its words "everything changes."

Once on the right track, Lavigne stayed there and then some. In fact, her 75-minute performance, including encore built to a crescendo as the night wore on.

Lavgine's voice seemed a bit off at the start, not really evincing much emotion or able to hit the high notes real well.

That certainly wasn't the case by the time she sang her current hit, "Losing Grip," with help from the crowd.

And she continued onward and upward. A sturdy , convincing cover of Green Day's "Basketcase" was turned in.

Lavigne was perhaps never in command more than in her reading of her first, ultra huge hit, "Complicated," which was all over the radio waves.

It would be easy for Lavigne to toss off the song, but no way. She probably sang the song with more conviction than any other during the show. She also had a bit of a help from a few people in the crowd called on stage.

Lavigne was ably backed by a quartet with lead guitarist Evan Taubenfeld clearly the leader. He also sang backing harmonies a number of times to good effect.

The evening closed with her cover of "Knockin' on Heaven's Door," which she recorded for a charity album. She was no longer a snarling teen, but one with future in hand.

Simple Plan of Canada preceded Lavigne with a quickly paced, but strong 40-minute set. The band mines the power punk territory of folks like Good Charlotte.

Fortunately they have a slew of good songs to boot including "Addicted" and "I'd Do Anything." The quintet kept the pace moving throughout.

Lead singer Pierre Bouvier is a good front man. He sings well, moves about the stage with ease and gets the songs across. He established a good rapport with the crowd as well.

The heavy touring band certainly proved their mettle.

The same can't be said for opener, Gob, which may have one of the worst names out there. The group borders on the generic. Not bad, but not exactly groundbreaking either.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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