ACC, Toronto - April 7, 2008

JASON MACNEIL -- Special to Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:32 AM ET

TORONTO - Avril Lavigne has dubbed her current trek The Best Damn Tour. And if it is indeed the best damn tour of 2008, well it's going to be a long eight months.

Lavigne, touring in support of her 2007 album The Best Damn Thing, tore through a 20-song, 75-minute set last night at a sold-out Air Canada Centre with flags, dancers, cheeky choreography and at times a rather ordinary vibe throughout.

That isn't to say the crowd, made up predominantly of teenage and pre-teen girls and parents who accompanied them, weren't into it. Shrieks, screams and sing-alongs were in abundance right from the start beginning with Girlfriend off the new album.

Lavigne, wearing a black top and matching pants, looked at times like the dancing was something out of her comfort zone as she smiled, waved to the crowd and played to the cameramen running around behind her.

"What's up Toronto? Are you guys ready to have a good time," Lavigne said early on before going into the up-tempo, punk-tinged I Can Do Better. The audience lapped it up but Lavigne definitely did better with her "first single ever," the mid-tempo and radio-friendly staple Complicated.

However, when Lavigne strapped on a guitar, as she did during My Happy Ending, she appeared to be in her comfort zone, strumming along as hordes of glowsticks and camera flashes dotted the arena. Later on when she sat behind a pink piano for When You're Gone, she looked quite at ease.

With the show apparently being filmed for a future release, most likely a live DVD, Lavigne pretty much stuck to the set she's been playing since the tour began. Highlights of the first half included the power pop of I Always Get What I Want which had her giving a quick pouty look before wrapping up the song.

Perhaps the biggest drawback with the performance was the interaction among the five supporting band mates and Lavigne. There was none, with each content to stick to his spot on the multi-level stage. Even the introductions left people wondering if in fact the guys had last names as Lavigne simply introduced them by their first names.

After the Alanis-ish Don't Tell Me that had Lavigne seated for a quasi "acoustic" set, Lavigne loosened up a bit just prior to a rather limp reworking of Losing My Grip. Thanking the crowd for coming and asking if all were having a great time, Lavigne stated her mother, grandmother and mother-in-law were in the audience. "It's my grandma's first concert," she said proudly.

Following a quick costume change as a rapid, two-chord punk of Bad Reputation was shown on the large video screen behind the stage, Lavigne returned to sit behind her own drumkit, marginally holding her own for Runaway and a quick snippet of the '80s cheerleader ditty Mickey.

With the set roughly an hour old, Lavigne looked like she was wrapping things up. And sadly she was despite three albums of material to her credit. The chipper title track off the new record came off quite well but I Don't Have to Try with its poor Gwen Stefani-ish rap to kick it off fell flat. Fortunately, the bouncy He Wasn't brought the crowd back on its feet as signs with sayings like, "Your (sic) the best Avril!" and "We Love You!" could be seen throughout the venue.

After leaving the stage and returning with her dancers, Lavigne performed a remix version of Girlfriend before rounding the night off with Sk8er Boi that had its desired effect.


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