Avril Lavigne waited five years to return to the road -- and when she did, the preparation process was a scramble. She needed new guitars and straps, as well as a refresher on the bridges of hits like “My Happy Ending” and “When You’re Gone.”
“It’s funny,” the 34-year-old Lavigne tells Billboard. “I’m relearning, but it’s total muscle memory. I’m like, ‘Wait, it goes like this, right?’ Then without even trying I’m like, ‘It’s right here.’” (Even so, she always has a teleprompter onstage, “just in case.”)
Since the pop mainstay -- who has sold 12.5 million albums in the United States, according to Nielsen Music -- wrapped her Avril Lavigne Tour in Japan five years ago, she largely stepped out of the spotlight as she battled Lyme disease. For a long time, Lavigne (who at one point was bedridden) wasn’t sure if she would ever release another album or be physically able to tour again. Now that she has recovered, Lavigne says her 15-date trek that began in mid-September and runs through Oct. 11 in support of her long-awaited album, Head Above Water (which hit No. 13 on the Billboard 200 in February), is her most intimate yet.