last night, avril played in town at the summer shed venue (it used to be called Great Woods but emily named it The Man Center since it is owned, booked and run by The Man) and i was giddy as a school girl. i got there during the second opener (gavin degraw, wins Most Wholesome Boy Ever award), found my seat, released my judgement and waited to have an Avril Experience. alas...poor avril, she looks pretty bored up there. but she's certainly giving more than she was on the DVD, where she looked kind of like a punked-out wind-up doll who barely left the microphone, myabe due to the newness, maybe due to nerves, maybe due to just what she was....but last night she smiled more, addressed the crowd, clapped her hands and seemed to be more comfy. she's grown. despite this, the show was still pretty repetitive and i spent the majority of my time looking at the audience, which was fascinating. there were huge numbers of girls under ten (yikes) and the two standing on the seats to my left knew EVERY SINGLE WORD of EVERY SINGLE SONG. there is something surreal, terrifying and yet deeply satisfying about seeing two blond 9-year-old girls singing "I CAN'T HANDLE THIS CONFUSION" at the top of their lungs. i was instantly transported to the whipping nostalgia of my first concert, seeing Cyndi Lauper at the Worcester Centrum when I was 12. I went with four 12-year-old friends of mine (my kindly step-father escorted us and sat pretty motionless beside us, observing the whole affair with a kind of athropological query on his brow and his hand under his chin a la "the thinker" statue...what a trooper). we were so far back that cyndi was about the size of a little ant but i'll never forget the pound-pound in my heart and the rush of adrenaline being part of the Concert Expereince.
so i watched these girls and felt my heart go pound-pound because i knew their hearts were going pound-pound and i think that's maybe why i went to the Man Canter. not to See Avril so much as to See People Seeing Avril. i am jealous. i want my pop childhood back, i guess. i will continue to work on it. but i will not put out any terrible 80's-nostsalgic solo records. i promise. i promise.
avril played the piano (a steinway grand) for a few songs and for the encore she sat in on drums while her band covered blur's "song 2" (the WHOO-HOO song). she's a renaissance girl. nobody truly understands my feelings about avril. i wonder who she is, i wonder how she is able to handle never having had a real adolescence, i wonder what this touring and recording life does to you when it hits you at 16 and not 25, when it hit me, i wonder whether she actually has an original musical voice under there that actually feels heard beneath the veneer of pop and celebrity culture that surrounds her like a toxic moat. i was unable to personally give her my "together" DVD (www.dresdendolls.com/music/karaoke/index.htm) because my request to get backstage was strangely rejected from her management (theory: we think she's actually aware of the video i made and thinks it's Mocking Her, which it's NOT, fucking...it's a Heartfelt Work Of Art). i went to bed feeling very empty. i wanted more. i wanted to feel.