Gwen is back and ready to once again blow your mind. 2016 marked quite a historic year for Gwen Stefani on both personal and professional fronts. The recently released “This Is What The Truth Feels Like” seems to sum up perfectly the madness that has surrounded her life this past year. From a very public heartbreaking divorce from long time partner Gavin Rossdale of Bush, to the newly found romance with musician Blake Sheldon, to her new solo album and all the struggles in between.
When No Doubt first “exploded” on just about any radio station, I was in college and of course I remember the catchy beats that were quite literally “ear candy” as Rolling Stones put it, but most of all I remember looking at an all male band fronted by this powerhouse girl who just seemed to outshine anyone around her. Her voice somehow equally seductive and powerful that seemed perfect to sing what I think became a coming of age album for a generation of girls. Years passed, albums dropped, and Gwen Stefani was able to show off her chameleon skills becoming one of the biggest trendsetters in both music and fashion, and also feminine empowerment.
Then all of a sudden her personal life unraveled before our eyes and it felt as though everyone just paused awaiting some kind of a crash or public meltdown of a sort. Instead we got a very humble and refreshingly open Gwen who responded to tabloid’s cheap headlines with candid interviews that allowed fans an extra intimate view of her heartache, her fears, and subsequently her newly found joy and happiness. With an unmatched grace, she picked up the pieces and delivered the ultimate “Burn” with a newly discovered romance, a chart topping album, and a tour that is lighting up the summer.
I feel very lucky I got to catch her at the MLB All-Star Concert Series here in San Diego. I went to the show not knowing what to expect, as a lot of other attendees. “Will she play any No Doubt songs?” a woman asked her husband, “Will Blake sing a song with her?” another woman asked. I was curious to see how the crowd would respond to her new songs and yes of course I wanted to hear “Hollaback Girl.”
After a little delay Eve took stage and got the crowd going, easily setting the tone right from the start with eye catchy choreographies and feet tapping beats that were hard to resist. Her set seemed very short, but luckily as she was about to leave the stage she decided to walk back on and perform “Let Me Blow Your Mind,” …would have been pretty amazing if Gwen joined her on stage but it was still a highlight of the night for sure.
A very small change time and Stefani hit the stage starting the evening off on a personal note from the start with, “Red Flag” and then quickly turning up the fun factor with “Wind It Up” and “Baby Don’t Lie” which wheeled the crowd right in. The setlist seemed to artfully navigate through the emotional roller coaster that served as background to the album, creating an intimate but fun night that kept everyone engaged, eyes fixed on the stage.
Stefani made a few brief pauses in the show during which she engaged the crowd explaining this album and tour were sort of a healing patch she desperately needed. Her album might have gotten mixed reviews from critics but one thing is for sure: No one can leave her show unsatisfied. She pours her heart out in every song and gets even the most stubborn photographer to put their lens down and stomp around.
So to answer the curious minds out there: no, she did not sing any No Doubt songs. Strangely I didn’t miss that. No, Blake did not join her on stage (Begging note: if that ever happens please make it in the first three songs. Yes, photographer speaking here.) The crowd seemed perfectly content to hear her new material. Everyone seemed to be singing along to “Make Me Like You.” Yes, she did play the “banana song,” yes, I sang along to it and it has been driving my kids insane since it has been on constant replay ever since.
The only downfall of the night was that due to the event type and venue her concert was way shorter than it could have been, pesky fireworks. Although she did end the night on a high note with “Sweet Escape.” Hoping to catch her full concert in October in Los Angeles, wish me luck!
Gwen Stefani Setlist:
Wind It Up
Baby Don’t Lie
Where Would I be
Send Me A Picture
Make Me Like You
What You Waiting For
Asking For It
Used To Love You