Air Canada Centre, Toronto - October 24, 2011

JANE STEVENSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:37 AM ET

TORONTO - To quote Avril Lavigne: “Why’d you have to go and get so complicated?”

The pride of Napanee, Ont., burst onto the scene in 2002 when she was just 17 years old with her winning debut disc, Let Go, and such teen pop-punk hits as Sk8er Boi and Complicated, selling multiple millions of albums worldwide, moving to L.A. and picking up numerous awards.

Three discs later, Lavigne’s a divorced 26-year-old (from fellow Canuck Deryck Whibley of Sum 41 fame) trying to shape a new musical identity with her more acoustic and mellow album, Goodbye Lullaby, released earlier this year to much less fanfare.

For example, Lavigne’s so-called Black Star Tour pulled into the Air Canada Centre on Monday night where only 6,800 fans - if still loud and lively and mostly of the female variety - greeted her.

Three years ago, Lavigne sold out the same venue.

Overall, there was just very little in the way of wow factor over the course of 90-minutes on Monday night, with virtually no production on the stripped-down stage and Lavigne just doing okay but no great shakes as she did the occasional scissor-kick, ran and skipped around the stage and strummed an electric guitar.

Where she really came alive vocally was when she hit big notes on such songs as I Always Get What I Want and Alice, the latter featuring her sitting on top of a piano, about midway through the show.

The night began with the lights dimming and her fans waving green lit-up stars, while she and her five-piece band emerged to perform Black Star (also the name of one of her perfumes) from Goodbye Lullaby while she waved a green star of her own before moving onto that album’s first single, What the Hell.

But it was oldie but goodie Sk8ter Boi that got the crowd really riled up

“It’s so cool to be here in Toronto - obviously I grew up two and a half hours away in Napanee,” she said, pointing out that many of her family members were in the crowd.

“Thank you guys so much. It’s an incredible honour to be touring across Canada. It’s so beautiful. I’m ready to move back now.”

Other hits like When You’re Gone and Girlfriend – with the crowd following Lavigne’s lead and doing the arm-wave-over-the-head move – got the audience going as well but Lavigne was more invested in her latest single, Wish You Were Here, which just never really caught on fire.

“How many crazy bitches are out there?” asked Lavigne before introducing another Goodbye Lullaby song, Smile, that had a little more energy to it.

Marginally better was her cover of B.O.B’s Airplanes featuring Paramore’s Hayley Williams – despite some mic feedback – which segued into her own My Happy Ending as the crowd came alive again and the show ending I’m With You, which produced another big singalong.

Lavigne left the stage after just over an hour, before returning with just Evan Taubenfeld, her first ever guitar player and now one of her opening acts, as they performed an acoustic version of The Best Years of Our Lives.

Their interaction was kind of cute as Lavigne admitted they lived seven minutes apart from each other in L.A. and she often called him when she was scared to come over and sleep in her spare bedroom.

That was followed by another ho-hum Goodbye Lullabye song, I Love You, before she finished with her uber-hit Complicated.

SET LIST:

Black Star

What the Hell

Sk8er Boi

He Wasn’t

Don’t Tell Me

I Always Get What I Want

Alice

When You’re Gone

Wish You Were Here

Girlfriend

Smile

Airplanes

My Happy Ending

I’m With You

ENCORE:

The Best Years of Our Lives

I Love You

Complicated


Photos