Avril Lavigne stays true to her image … even if it's a little toned down.

WHEN Avril Lavigne broke into the music scene in 2002, she was noticeably different from the crop of singers on the charts. Compared to the bubblegum pop image of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera at that time, Lavigne was a breath of fresh air with her nonchalant skater girl persona.

She was edgy and millions of fans sought to emulate her look. Fast forward to 2014, it’s evident that Lavigne’s days of pushing the envelope in the music scene are numbered. Her so-called pop punk image is pretty vanilla compared to outrageous performers like Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus.

But don’t expect her to make any apologies for it. Judging from Lavigne’s concert at Stadium Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, it’s evident that her fans appreciate the singer’s ability to stay true to her image.

The concert started with a montage featuring clips from her music videos. Thousands of fans screamed ecstatically when she acknowledged them for being “the best in the world”.

“You have been loyal, loving, patient and always there for me,” said Lavigne.

Lavigne finally emerged on stage to the beat of Hello Kitty, a dubstep-infused track from her latest album. Dressed in a skirt adorned with the iconic Japanese character, you’d expect Lavigne to show a little bit of enthusiasm. Instead, what we got was a lacklustre performance. Thankfully, the energetic showmanship of her band made up for it.

Avril Lavigne entertained thousands of fans with hits like Complicated, My Happy Ending and Smile.

Her crowd interaction was also very minimal. Prior to the performance of Hush Hush, she revealed that “it’s a personal favourite” from her latest album. That was as personal as it got from Lavigne. Nevertheless, she got the crowd going by getting them to sing along to Girlfriend, My Happy Ending and Here’s To Never Growing Up.

Well, she was definitely right about her fans being patient and loyal. There were many times when Lavigne left the stage to change and left the band to entertain the crowd.

Her guitarist and drummer had their moment in the spotlight by showing off
solos. The crowd didn’t seem to mind and,
in fact, they lapped it up. The minute-long solos turned out to be the opening line to megahits like Complicated, My Happy Ending and Sk8ter Boi. If anything, the band helped elevate the excitement of the crowd in anticipation of Lavigne.

There was a jarring moment during the concert when the crowd was suddenly greeted with the image of shock goth-rocker Marilyn Manson. At this point of time, Lavigne was trying to showcase an edgier, sexier image during her performance of Bad Girl, a collaboration with Manson for her latest album. With lyrics like, “I’ll let you do whatever/ I’ll be your bad girl, here we go”, it seemed like fans had a hard time trying to grasp the idea of their pop idol being submissive.

Luckily, Lavigne followed-up the performance with fan favourites He Wasn’t and Losing Grip.

Towards the end of the show, Lavigne acknowledged the fans for making it to the concert.

“Malaysia, you guys have been so much fun tonight. Thank you for coming out to the show.”

She left the stage only to emerge minutes later with encores that included Smile and What The Hell. She ended the show with the rock ballad I’m With You, a perfect track to symbolise the loyalty of her fans.

Despite looking sullen most of the time, it seems that fans knew just what to expect from her.

After all, this is the singer whose breakthrough hit was about keeping it real and not making things too complicated.

Rest assured that if Lavigne ever comes back for another show (her track record now stands at three concerts in KL), her fans will be there in full force.