Hands-up for Avril

Updated: 2012-02-17 18:59

By Chen Nan (China Daily)

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Hands-up for Avril

Avril Lavigne performs the last stop of her Black Star Tour in Beijing on Valentine's Day. Zou Hong / China Daily


Avril Lavigne has been off the musical radar for a while but, even so, she's a frequent visitor to China - headlining the China Music Valley Festival in May 2011, closing the New Year's Eve countdown gala for Jiangsu Satellite TV Station this January and performing the last stop of her Black Star Tour in Beijing, on Tuesday.

Thousands of people gathered at the MasterCard Center in Beijing, anxiously awaiting the princess of punk's performance. Twenty minutes after the scheduled time, the crowd was getting impatient, the lights went out and waves of cheers welled up from the crowd.

Then, the singer-songwriter ran on to the stage in boots, leather leggings and an oversized top that hung loosely from her miniature frame.

She chuckled while singing Black Star but then, just when the crowd of mostly teens and couples was screaming, she disappeared, leaving the stage to four young Chinese men, who performed a 10-minute drum show.

When Lavigne returned, she performed one of her most popular hits, Skater Boy, which ignited the atmosphere once more.

Afterward, she played a game with the audience.

"Everybody put your hands up with me!" she shouted. "Now, hands down!" She repeated the game for several minutes to the drum beats and then greeted Beijing with a kiss. The game ended, the lights fell and the crowd roared louder.

"I'm from Canada, and we've flown all the way to Beijing. Ni hao!" she shouted, with a big smile. "Happy Valentine's Day!"

For some songs, including When You Are Gone and Wish You Were Here, Lavigne played the piano. The rest of the time she bounced around the stage like a naughty child, jumping on the bed and shaking her pink-and-green dyed hair, while singing songs like I Always Get What I Want, Don't Tell Me and Happy Ending.

Her fans, meanwhile, sang along, waved glow sticks and were ecstatic when she sang I'm With You.

"She is still a good performer and connected with fans," says Li Jialu, a teenage girl who attended the concert with two classmates. "I love her hair and her fashion sense. I also love her voice, which has an ethereal quality though she did get a little hoarse."

Sure, the multi-platinum-selling artist has toured the world countless times, released four studio albums, developed her own fragrance and clothing line, and married and divorced, but she doesn't appear to have changed in nearly a decade.

The interaction between Lavigne and her band was good, and she even did a somersault when she sang upbeat, infectious rock tunes.

As the concert came to a close after 90 minutes with Complicated, her fans were feeling it was not enough. Some complained she didn't do songs, such as Girlfriend and Losing Grip.

"The concert was so short. I would guess that she sang no more than 15 songs," Chen Xi, an office worker who attended with her husband, says.

You can contact the writer at chennan@chinadaily.com.cn.