Avril Lavigne gives fans a free show in Mesa - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

Avril Lavigne gives fans a free show in Mesa

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Posted: Wednesday, April 14, 2004 1:03 pm | Updated: 5:51 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

Nearly 6,000 people — mostly giddy, screaming girls — swarmed Mesa’s Fiesta Mall on Tuesday to see "Sk8er" singer Avril Lavigne.

View Slideshow.

Fans waited in line, some since 7 a.m., before the mall opened, to see the skate-punk styled pop musician play a free acoustic concert announced just 48 hours beforehand.

Chellsea Nowell, 15, and Carrie Quackenbush, 14, both of Tempe, had a front-row spot, despite arriving "late" about 2:30 p.m. for the 5 p.m. concert.

Nowell carried a bright yellow sign with "Avril Rocks We (heart) You" written in thick black letters. She colored the sign during her reading class earlier in the day, she said.

A security guard handed Nowell Lavigne’s coffee cup after the show. The plain white paper cup still halffilled with warm coffee was like gold to her.

"I’m shaking," she said, showing the cup to her friend. "She touched it. She drank from it."

Mall security had to turn some fans away.

Sisters Stephanie and Isabel Howie, both 15, were stuck at the edge of the concert area, being told by a mall security guard that he was "under orders."

"I think it’s actually quite stupid because they have the room," Stephanie Howie said.

Though not huge fans of Lavigne, the two said they owned the singer’s album and wanted to ditch school to come to the mall earlier — but their parents wouldn’t let them.

"I’m on a mission to get in," Stephanie said, "I will get in."

"It’s not going to change what I think of Avril," Isabel Howie said. "It’s not her fault."

The company that owns Fiesta Mall, General Growth Properties, worked with the tour’s producers to secure several dates at their malls, said Fiesta Mall marketing manager, Tami Ivy. Fiesta was included in the deal.

A strategic planner from General Growth attended Tuesday’s concert and Ivy said he told her it was the "most heavily attended" concert in their malls yet.

Mesa fire and police were at the event, but said there were no serious problems.

"We had a plan and it worked flawlessly," Ivy said.

Lavigne’s half-hour set included "Complicated" and "Sk8er Boi" from her last album and "Don’t Tell Me" from her new album "Under My Skin" to be released May 25.

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