When I was asked to preview the new concert DVD from Avril-Lavigne I didn’t know if I was the right person for the job.
After all I’m not exactly the target audience for this very young woman’s music. I thought my teenaged daughter would be better suited to the task.
For me a concert recalls memories of the Grateful Dead, Hot Tuna and Jimi Hendrix. But, after some consideration I put the disc in the player and decided to at least try to keep an open mind.
I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised. Now I’ve seen in passing parts of concerts on HBO with the modern pop princesses like ‘Brittany’ and ‘Christiana’.
They are a far departure from the concerts I remember with overly elaborate special effects, pyrotechnics and more costume changes than fashion week here in New York City.
I was actually delighted to see that Avril Lavigne has turned her back on this growing trend and has returned a concert event to a simple interaction between the musicians and the audience.
This little slip of a girl stands before her audience dressed not in inappropriate scantily clad costumes but in a regular tee shirt and jeans, like a teenager that just got home from school.
The stage has little more than the Avril Lavigne back up band and herself, nothing to detract from the purpose of a concert, to hear the music.
Rather than being in a spectacular you get a far more intimate feeling from Avril Lavigne, you can actually relate to the performer, what a concept. It is a performance that is devoted to the music.
I sincerely hope the young audience in attendance appreciates the rare find this is.
Avril Lavigne has talent. That much is certain. She can actually carry a song with commitment and feeling. While a lot of her music is not particularly in line with my personal taste I can appreciate a well-constructed song and performance when I hear one.
The concert was recorded at the Avril Lavigne Buffalo New York performance and includes most of her growing set list of hits.
Her music runs the gamut from the hyper-energetic ‘Sk8er-Boi’ (Can’t these kids learn to spell? Oops, my age is showing.) and ‘Complicated’ to the haunting ballad "I’m With You".
With the faster songs Avril Lavigne literally bounces up and down, across the stage. She commits completely to her performance and the audience responds wildly.
Her true talent shows in the more emotional slower songs. Here she demonstrates that Avril Lavigne can truly sing.
While her range is not as incredible as many current performers it is more than enough for the music she has chosen. Her tonal control is far beyond her years and emotionally involves her listeners.
As an aside I have to note that when Avril Lavigne belts out a song she has one of the largest, square shaped mouths since Fairuza Balk. She just opens wide and lets the song form a tidal wave that flows over the audience.
Avril Lavigne certainly can relate with her followers. Mostly the audience is composed of young girls that apparently know the lyrics to each and every song performed. Baggy clothes and loose fitting ties seem to be the outfit of choice for the Avril Lavigne fans, emulating the causal fashion of this singer.
Her performance comes across as a young girl having fun, doing what she wants to do in life. There is a feeling that she is singing from her life, albeit one that has not racked up a whole lot of years. There is an undisputed energy that surrounds Avril Lavigne.
I hope that success does not spoil what she has going for her. Her matter of fact, in your face manner is not as off putting as it may sound. Avril Lavigne demonstrates a determination that carries over to her music.
While not in the league of the performers of my youth she is one of the better acts around today.
Fox has gone above and beyond for this DVD. The audio is a crisp, clear Dolby 5.1. The rear channels are mostly reverberation from the audience; the sub woofer punctuates the bass line but does not overwhelm it. The stereo separation is better than many of the concert discs I have heard.
The full screen video provides a well-balanced color palette and very good contrast between light and shadow. You get a good feeling of being at the concert. Aside from a full length concert the disc sports a number of extras.
There is a bonus CD that features six songs including four previously unreleased titles. There is ‘Fuel’ mastered from an MTV live performance, ‘Unwanted’, ‘Basket Case’ and ‘Sk8er Boi’ recorded at a Dublin concert, ‘Knockin' on Heaven's Door’ recorded in Buffalo and ‘Why’, the ‘B’ side of the UK release of ‘Complicated’. Even this little CD is well mastered.
The DVD extras include the music videos for "I'm With You", "SK8er Boi", "Complicated", "Losing Grip", and "Knocking On Heaven's Door". There are also behind the scenes footage of Ms Lavigne et al as well as some out takes to round things out.
While older audiences may tend to overlook this DVD those who are in the typical demographic and those with kids in that age group will enjoy this disc.
You get a lot for the price including a performance by a young, rising star of the music world. I didn’t think it would happen but I enjoyed myself while listening to it, just don’t tell my daughter.
by Doug MacLean of hometheaterinfo.com
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