Avril Lavigne: 17 again

Here were only about 1,000 ardent Avril Lavigne fans at Kowloonbay International Trade & Exhibition Centre (Kitec) for the private 30-minute showcase, but she received an arena-sized welcome.

Never mind that her new self-titled album is not due to hit stores for a few more months.

Her fans sang along, waving light sticks in the air. Lavigne appeared on stage in an all-black get-up - complete with hooded leather jacket and shades - and launched into the catchy new single, Here's To Never Growing Up.

True to the lyrics, watching her on stage, it felt like she was immortalised at 17.

As if she read my thoughts, Lavigne went on to the aptly-titled 17, a song that speaks of living wild, young and free.

She capped off the night with a beautiful performance of the ballad I'm With You, from her debut 2002 album Let Go, arguably one of the best renditions ever. But it wasn't over yet.

Surprise

While Lavigne was backstage, a group of fans in return planned a surprise for her, individually showing up in their own interpretations of her multiple signature looks.

Pink and green streaks in their hair, guitar, checkered shirt, black elastic wrist bands, white tank tops and striped ties - you name it, there they were.

No effort was spared and one male fan even took the effort to don a long stringy blonde wig. They delivered their own mini-performances on stage, lip-syncing and playing air guitar to Lavigne favourites like Girlfriend and Complicated.

They were no Avril Lavigne, that's for sure, but the woman herself gave them an A for effort, calling them "rawesome" - a combination of "rock 'n' roll" and "awesome".

Then there was full-time national serviceman Bryan Christopher Yeong, who scored an all-expense-paid trip to Hong Kong after winning a competition organised by local radio station Hot FM 91.3.

The 21-year-old was also one of the lucky few who managed to squeeze in a "hello" with Lavigne during the meet-and-greet prior to the show.

Mr Yeong said: "I don't usually get starstruck but I was very nervous and had butterflies in my stomach. "It lasted a couple of minutes and I thought we would get more time to at least chat a bit or ask for an autograph. But that wasn't allowed.

"I had 10 seconds to speak with her so I thanked her for 11 years of music and for being an inspiration, before handing her my gift."

It was the limited edition Singing Bones Hello Kitty plush toy, as Lavigne is obsessed with Sanrio's famous cat and even has a song named after it.

Mr Yeong had trawled the web and chanced upon one for $30, which he immediately bought.

"She seemed really grateful and said 'awww, thank you'. I mentioned that I can't wait for the album before I was soon chased away," he said.

"Chad (Kroeger) was there ensuring no one messed with his wife."

 

ashikinr@sph.com.sg

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