REVIEW: Avril Lavigne brings her hits to Shoreline show

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Avril Lavigne is in the midst of a renaissance thanks to the rebirth of pop-punk, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. As Lavigne stepped onstage at Shoreline Amphitheatre on Tuesday and looked out at the thousands in attendance, she made an observation.

“Wow, there’s a shitload of people here,” Lavigne said.

She wasn’t wrong.

Lavigne is four dates into her Greatest Hits tour, which appears to be a smashing success. The pop-punk icon is selling out dates across the country on her first headlining tour U.S. tour since 2019’s jaunt supporting her sixth album, Head Above Water.

As the lights dimmed, logos representing each of Lavigne’s eras were traced on a video screen. The chants of “hey hey, you you,” nearly overwhelmed Lavigne during anthemic opening track, “Girlfriend.”

The show’s production was significantly bigger than all her prior tours. From pyrotechnics to visuals and stage arrangement, it felt like a spectacle. Lavigne looked more at ease interacting with the crowd; before she was more awkward, but not on Tuesday.

Avril Lavigne performs at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, Calif. on May 29, 2024.

“Cheers to never growing up!” she said, raising a red cup and toasting “Here’s to Never Growing Up.”

Lavigne represents generational angsty youth, or the nostalgic connection back to that angsty youth. There was no better reflection of this than when she brought a young fan on stage during her duet with All Time Low on “Fake As Hell.”

“You were my mom’s first concert in 2004, and now you’re my first concert,” the fan’s sign said. Another time, Lavigne asked how many were seeing her for the first time, to a roar of approval.

Lavigne’s biggest strengths are the songs and her voice. Whether on kiss-off punk anthems or soaring ballads, Lavigne added an instantly recognizable texture to her vocals that commanded attention. The 18-song set was quick and punchy, sticking to the staples; some songs like “Hot” and “The Best Damn Thing,” were shortened. The backing band was the connective tissue through the set, playing extended intros, outros and compelling interludes that infused some of Avril’s prior works.

Lavigne performed in front of a stack of amps, bordered in neon lights, flanked by massive video screens. During a trio of songs from Under My Skin, her strongest work, red X’s lined the back of the stage to match the album art.

Avril Lavigne performs at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, Calif. on May 29, 2024.

Multiple times, Lavigne thanked fans for the support over the years and reflected on her humble beginnings in a small town in Canada.

“I’ve got these stairs in front of me tonight; I can’t not use them,” she said, using Shoreline’s unique configuration to walk down to the front row during “Losing Grip.”

“I wrote this song when I was 16, super emo and feeling everything,” she said. “Now I’m 39 and living my best life.”

Songs like “My Happy Ending” and “When You’re Gone” brought big singalongs, while newer tracks like “Bite Me” and “Love It When You Hate Me,” off 2022’s Love Sux, were complemented with smoke, fire and confetti. Lavigne and All Time Low’s Alex bite threw T-shirts and other merch into the crowd before playing together, to varying degrees of success.

“I’ll do better next time,” Lavigne joked.

After closing with the crowd-pleasing “Sk8er Boi,” Lavigne returned for an encore that traded in the pop-punk for more mature tracks, which showed off her vocal prowess. Appearing at the top of the stage, shrouded in the dark, wearing a flowing white dress, she belted out “Head Above Water” before returning to the front of the stage to lead the crowd in “I’m With You.”

All Time Low performs at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, Calif. on May 29, 2024.

The evening’s openers paid homage to the role Lavigne played in their own musical upbringings, thanking her multiple times during their sets.

For All Time Low, the gig also had a little extra meaning.

“The last time we played this venue, we were the very last band to play the very last Warped Tour show,” guitarist Jack Barakat said. “That was one of our favorite shows we’ve ever played.”

It was all about energy for All Time Low, who just performed at BottleRock Napa last weekend. The pop-punk band stuck to upbeat tunes. Early on in the set, Barakat ran all the way up to Shoreline’s lawn and back.

“Whether you know us or not, for this next song, act like we’re your favorite band,” Gaskarth said.

Royal & the Serpent perform at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, Calif. on May 29, 2024.

The band mixed played songs old and new, such as “Lost In Stereo,” “Dark Side of Your Room” and “Something’s Gotta Give.”

“I wrote this song for Reese Witherspoon,” Gaskarth said as the band rolled into “Perfect Day,” from the “Legally Blonde” soundtrack.

The band wrapped up with a the rousing “Monsters” and “Dear Maria, Count Me In,” brining attendees to their feet.

Royal and the Serpent leaned heavily on new material. Playing tracks like “American Spirit,” the band mixed pop, electronica and a hint of Southern rock on one song, before concluding with on a high note with the dramatic “Overwhelmed.”

“I don’t know about you, but I loved Avril my entire life,” vocalist Ryan Santiago said.

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