April 19, 2003

Avril Lavigne Dares Chicago to ‘Try to Shut Me Up’

By Randy J. Klodz

Avril Lavigne brought her brand of friendly pop and a pair of co-Canadian radio friendly bands with her to one of the most anticipated pop tours of the spring—the “Try to Shut Me Up Tour”— which hit Chicago when Lavigne and Co. played a sold-out show on April 19 at UIC Pavilion.

Pop-punk outfit GOB took the stage first, but did little to energize the younger audience that came to see Simple Plan and the Grammy-nominated pop princess Avril Lavigne. Simple Plan—singer Pierre Bouvier, guitarists Jeff Stinco and Sebastien Lefebvre, bassist David Desrosiers and drummer Chuck Comeau—played a slew of family-friendly anthems from their debut “No Pads No Helmets…Just Balls,” that included “I’m Just a Kid,” “Grow Up,” “Perfect,” the hit singles “Addicted” and “I’d Do Anything,” and also a medley that included stints of Eminem, 50 Cent and Vanilla Ice songs.

With a very impressionable young crowd—most too young to know the lyrics to Lavigne’s cover of Green Day’s “Basketcase,” a popular song that debuted in 1994, off of “Dookie,” one of the best-selling albums in music history—Lavigne’s fashion trademarks of loose neckties and stripped wristbands were worn by a great part of the females in attendance.

The 18-year-old Lavigne finally took the stage to cap of an exciting night of pop hits. Wearing a tight black tank top and baggy khaki pants, the tie-less Lavigne—accompanied on stage by guitarist Evan Taubenfeld, bassist Mark Spicoluk and drummer Matthew Brann—sang and often strummed her black electric guitar through a 70-minute set that included mostly songs from the debut “Let Go.” Lavigne kept the stage set-up simple: no pyrotechnics or fireworks, just a 3-paneled movie screen and a glitter shot to end the set.

Highlight tracks included “Anything But Ordinary,” “Naked,” “Mobile,” the hit singles “Complicated,” “Sk8er Boi” and “I’m With You,” and even an acoustic version of “Tomorrow.” Lavigne also surprised the crowd my playing a B-side with the song “I Don’t Give a Damn.”

The future looks bright for Lavigne, who’s already been nominated for a Grammy, and has seen much of her tour sell out within days or hours, and who’s grown a stady fan base of older adults, after all, somebody had to drive those youngsters to the show. For more information on Lavigne or her “Try to Shut Me Up Tour” log onto www.avril-lavigne.com.

Avril Lavigne Photo: Sonya Farrell