After a five-year hiatus from touring, Avril Lavigne, has hit the road to support her newest release ‘Head Above Water.’ The State Theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota was packed and you could feel the energy bouncing off the walls even before the show started. Jagwar Twin was faced with the difficult task of opening the night in a theatre that was counting the seconds for Lavigne to hit the stage.
Singer, songwriter, musician and record producer Roy English is Jagwar Twin. His debut studio album, ‘Subject To Flooding,’ was released in 2018. His set featured songs that blended rock and hip-hop that had groove and soul intertwined within it. His band was really tight and his positive vibe won over many of the fans in the theatre. The closing song “Loser” really hooked my ears, as it closed out a successful showcase of what Jagwar Twin is all about.
The State Theatre has permanent seating but when the lights dropped those seats remained empty for the rest of the night as people jumped to their feet with cell phones held high to record the moment Avril Lavigne took the stage. Wearing a white flowing dress, like the one in the “Head Above Water” video, she unleashed the powerful ballad with soaring vocals and emotion that you felt run through your body. It was a song was inspired by her battle with Lyme disease, the tick-bourne infection to which she was diagnosed with after her 30th birthday. The song has done exceptionally well on Christian radio and it clearly points to the singer’s adjustment in image and growth.
It has been seventeen years since we were introduced to the rebellious pop princess and her 2002 smash record ‘Let Go.’ She injected a punk influence with a bubblegum flavor and inspired a generation of young women with her spirit and not conforming to the look and sound of so many other female artists at that time. That movement may be gone but the lasting effect it had on her fans was in full force throughout the night. Ditching the white dress she returned with “My Happy Ending” and “Here’s To Never Growing Up.” Things were amped up even more as the massive hit “Complicated” had the crowd singing every word.
Lavigne spent the evening balancing the set with both old and new songs. Along with the title track we got “Warrior,” “Dumb Blonde” and “ I Fell In Love With The Devil” from the newest record. It was a testament to that material that the fans embraced the songs and reacted so favorably to it. Although the nostalgia of hearing her back catalog of hits was probably what brought most of the crowd in, she was able to show her growth as a singer and a songwriter to an audience that wanted to experience what she is in 2019 and not just relive 2002. With that said, Avril didn’t abandon the past as she rocked out with “He Wasn’t,” and threw in a surprise cover of Kelly Clarkson’s “Breakaway,” a song that Lavigne penned for her first album but didn’t use.
One of the highlights for me was her band bringing the house down with “Hello Kitty” and then kicking into the massive sing-along song “Girlfriend.” There wasn’t anybody not moving to its infectious hook and then the evening jumped to a whole different level when “Sk8er Boi” was played as the video was shown on the screen behind the band. The show closed with the iconic “I’m With You.”
With the long layoff from touring, Lavigne’s fans were more than ready to see her. Jagwar Twin did a good job to open the night but the excitement that she had finally returned to Minneapolis was extremely high. It was hard to get in the door as people were getting pictures of themselves in front of the venue. The merchandise line was never ending as people were soaking up every second of the night. I couldn’t help but notice the number of parents bringing their kids to show and sharing the experience together. I think that might be the biggest compliment of all. The fact that Lavigne had such an impact on a person that a decade and change later those fans are sharing their passion for her to their kids. I not sure you can pay any bigger tribute to an artist than that. A fun show and I think everybody was quite happy Avril Lavigne is back.
Review & Photos Credit: Jeff Kunze of Jeff Kunze Photography