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Monday, June 30, 2008

Concert Review: Avril Lavigne is Complicated No More

Vic and I just arrived in time for Avril's first song. The whole Coliseum was already in darkness when we entered and we did not even sit on our assigned seats as we just had to sit wherever it was vacant. No problem, I loved the view, and I loved the fact that no one was beside me or behind me so I won't be worried about another person not seeing properly because he or she prefers to sit in a rock concert.

I was surprised by the sizeable crowd! There have been many different performers who flew into Manila to perform this year, and what I can say is that, there has always been an audience for each one. Incredible! I think they may have computed our GDP wrongly because frankly, the prices of our tickets here are pricier than the US and even HK. Americans throw up a storm for US$150 concert tickets. Here, the tickets to the first 10 rows cost almost US$250 per pop and it was full. Oh well, I guess we have to pay more since these guys have to fly thousands of miles just to be here. Avril just has to cross the border and go south and she'll be in New York in no time (she is Canadian.)

This is the third time I have seen Avril live. The first time was in the Fort in 2005, when she and Simple Plan headlined the show. She was a bit shy then, not talking too much to the audience. Nevertheless, we had a fantastic time as we were standing on our seats the whole show. The second time was last year, in Hong Kong, which was worse, since she sounded disinterested and detached from the audience. It was as if she was just there to perform and get the money and run.

Tonight however, Avril delivered probably the most polished live show that she has done. Her live performance instincts have certainly improved a lot. For starters, she connected with the audience really really well. She was not shy anymore in rousing the audience and commanding everyone to her whims, as any experienced live performer should be able to do. Second, she had a group of dancers this time, which helped pepper the show with more youth and vibrancy, which is key to the presentation of her fast rock songs. Finally, I love how she paced the show and the arrangement of the songs. Since she has many slow, brooding hit ballads, it was key that she sang them in the first part of the show. It was terrific, since it was a virtual sing-along for everyone and for me too, of course. From My Happy Ending, Don't Tell Me, and I'm With You plus some slow songs from her latest CD. My favorite part was when she sang Hot, which is my favorite song of hers. She did it acoustic style but with enough rock edge especially in the refrain to match the pace of the recorded original. The irony is that I actually hate her first hit song, and probably the most popular to most Filipinos - Complicated that I did not even bother to buy her CD till I heard Skater Boi. Of course, her next 2 CDs are some of my favorites because she certainly has good writing skills.

Yes, the crowd is getting younger and younger now. Frankly, I don't know how long I can keep it up. Tomorrow, I will be watching the band Boys Like Girls, and the gay gang said there will be a lot of emo kids there. Wow, I am 37 already and most of my seatmates will be your kids, probably, hahaha! Oh well, I may look old and I'm certainly 100 pounds heavier than most everyone around me, but my heart and my mind certainly feels young, and I will always welcome new music from new and fresh talent anytime. I am even surprised my younger gay tropa does not know the band. Their first hit The Great Escape was my "happy" song for a month. When I was sad and depressed, I would just sing along with that song and feel 16 again. They even said Avril was laos na raw. Well, they were wrong. Maybe, in the vain world of Pinoy gaydom, but the astounding attendance tonight made it clear that many people have connected with her music.

I am saving money now since I want to watch Billy Joel in HK. Hope I make it on time. He's one of my biggest musical heroes and his CDs are virtual soundtracks of my youth (An Innocent Man, The Bridge, River of Dreams and Storm Front). Certainly a show not to be missed.
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