‘Truth’ Tour Review: Live in Seattle, Washington

Photo courtesy of Jenny for Beacon Street Online
Photo courtesy of Jenny for Beacon Street Online

Last night’s concert in Seattle, Washington was awesome. It my first time seeing Gwen (or No Doubt) since 2009 and the show was packed with energy, celebrations and nostalgia from the start. Even for someone that has followed the tour since day one, I was excited throughout and became giddy once Gwen started a new song including a few No Doubt tracks which I admit I was not 100% thrilled about (which I’ll get into a more a little later).

But Gwen is such a charmer and an amazing performer and cemented why I still adore and admire her now 20 years later. Seattle turned out for Gwen and I gauged that Key Arena was about 90% filled. And Gwen’s observations are right: the audience was all over the demographic. It was neat to see generations of fans there to support her from people that followed her back in the early days of No Doubt to children with their parents seeing Gwen for the first time.

The This Is What the Truth Feels Like tour has a little something for everyone and Gwen was really smart and creative with the setlist this time around. Gwen has stated several times in recent interviews that she chose certain songs (including a few surprising choices from No Doubt) because she wanted to tell a story and perform songs that were important to her. Which in case, “Don’t Speak” and “Just a Girl” are perfect examples, and they were huge during the show. Most fans (including the majority of casual ones) seemed to go nuts when the familiar chords of “Underneath It All” and the infectious pumping of “Hella Good” started. Like, really nuts. I’ll admit that it still felt strange hearing and seeing her perform these songs without Tom, Tony and Adrian, but they were still fun and nice additions to the set.

Now on to the show…

Photo courtesy of Jenny for Beacon Street Online
Photo courtesy of Jenny for Beacon Street Online

I arrived to Key Arena a little before 7:00PM and Eve opened up the show about 30 minutes later. I purchased premium seats and had a really nice view of the whole stage. I planned on taking a bunch of videos from the show from my phone and brought my old crappy camera for backup just in case (which was a good thing considering I didn’t think about how much space I actually needed).

Merchanside booths were placed throughout the venue and featured a few tour tees including the yellow one with the surprise Irvine date listed which I picked up for $40 as well as the “Team Gwen” tumbler for $20. Fans were able to purchase a poster with the album artwork, pins, temporary tattoos, bracelets, Harajuku Lovers watches, tote bags and “Anaheim Hillbillies” swag.

8/24/2016 — Seattle, Washington — Key Arena at Seattle Center
Red Flag / Wind It Up / Baby Don’t Lie / Obsessed / Where Would I Be? / Cool / Make Me Like You / Underneath It All / Misery / Luxurious / Harajuku Girls / Let Me Blow Ya Mind (with Eve) / Rich Girl (feat. Eve) / Hella Good / What You Waiting For? / Rare / It’s My Life / Asking 4 It / Don’t Speak / Naughty / Used To Love You / Hollaback Girl // Truth / Just a Girl / The Sweet Escape

Gwen came onstage around 8:40PM and opened up with a video clip behind of herself talking about turning the worst time of her life into something good and her thoughts on thinking she would never tour again. It truly speaks for the show itself and it’s edited nicely with a lead-in into “Red Flag.” While it’s a surprising choice for the opening, “Red Flag” is killer live and Gwen sells it. The background video is full of handwritten lyrics and drawings to go along with the song and it’s extremely powerful. Being one of my favorite songs from Truth, I couldn’t wait to hear it myself in person!

Next, Gwen kicked off with “Wind It Up” which featured an awesome updated breakdown with whistles and trumpet accompaniment. Personally this was a highlight of the show for me and brought back a huge wave of nostalgia. “Wind It Up” has always been a personal favorite and reminded me of The Sweet Escape tour in 2007.

“Baby Don’t Lie” is a track that I’ve grown to love more over the last few months especially after hearing how solid it sounds live. Fans were skeptical of Gwen’s love for the song since it had little to no promotional performances since it’s release in 2014. She seems to really enjoy performing it and her mention of “hating liars” always seems to get the crowd going in a good way. Before going into the song, Gwen got on her knees and thanked God for being there and sincerely expressed how she wanted to spend the night singing her songs and getting to know the audience.

“Obsessed” was a welcomed surprise to the setlist considering it’s only available on deluxe editions of Truth, including the special edition released by Target. Thank goodness, because it’s a monster live. “Obsessed” takes on this crazy-rock sound that is absent from the album version and Gwen has so much fun with it onstage. This song in particular had me excited for my seats since I would be able to check out the background video finally. The clip features Gwen glammed up and driving to the song with text bubbles appearing to go along with the lyrics. It was one of my favorite parts of the show.

Another personal favorite from Truth, I was really excited to hear “Where Would I Be?” live for myself. I’ve always been a sucker for anything reggae-tinged from Gwen so I was instantly drawn to this track at first-listen. The band sounded so tight during this one and it was really fun seeing Gwen jam out onstage. Her little shout-out to “you in the beard right there” during the chorus was cute and she turned the theme around and directed it towards the asking where would she be without them. It was awesome!

Next, “Cool” drew one of the biggest responses from the night and had literally everyone on their feet singing along. You could tell that Gwen was truly basking in the moment and the song is just as gorgeous today live as it was back in 2005.

Before going into “Make Me Me Like You”, Gwen pulled up huge fan Reyna onstage that notably had made it out to 14 shows on the tour and was celebrating a birthday in Seattle. Gwen had the audience sing “Happy Birthday” to Reyna and called her her “Twitter girl”. It was a touching moment and well deserved for someone who has supported the tour so much.

Fans were asked to not bring in homemade signs into the show which are typically used to grab Gwen’s attention for a chance to get onstage. A couple from Australia were sneaky enough to get theirs in and caught Gwen’s eye and she immediately brought them up for a selfie. Gwen called out another fan in the pit for wearing a Kelly Clarkson t-shirt; he was brought onstage too and jokingly she asked him why he wasn’t wearing a Gwen Stefani tee.

“Make Me Like You” was also a pretty big song during the show that had everyone on a high. The single sounded really good live and it was fun to sing along with Gwen and dance. The background clip included shots from the video shoot with Target with graphic twists and turns reminiscent to the video itself.

Diving into the first No Doubt song of the night, Gwen introduced “Underneath It All” into the set after a few shows into the tour. You can tell that she really loves this song and her delivery is as smooth as ever. Though the video cuts out before the middle section (being the first time my phone died), Gwen’s band also incorporates the amped up ska breakdown that No Doubt mixed in on tour in 2004 which had her skanking around the stage like old times.

“Misery” was up next which featured a cool extended intro to allow Gwen her first costume change of the night. Her latest single came off as a powerhouse track which featured some incredible choreography from her dancers.

Next, “Luxurious” was another song that really got the crowd hyped and had Gwen asking where all of her “Love.Angel.Music.Baby. homies” were at. “Luxurious” also got an updated intro that sounded fresh but seemed to be cut short (or maybe I was just waiting for that amazing solo that bassist Gail Ann Dorsey did back on the Harajuku Lovers Live tour).

Gwen kept with L.A.M.B. and jumped into another surprising song in the set with “Harajuku Girls.” When keeping to the theme of her career while heading back out on the road, the song is completely appropriate and was a pleasure to hear live since she passed on it during her last tour in 2007. The background video was also really cute and fun and the Harajuku Lovers-ness brought on another wave of nostalgia.

But it only got better. It was obvious to everyone that Eve would eventually join Gwen onstage for their collaborative hits “Let Me Blow Ya Mind” and “Rich Girl”, but seeing them onstage together in that environment was surreal and really, really cool. These two women have such chemistry together and you realize again just how big and exciting these tracks were and it was such an amazing moment. The crowd went bananas (no pun intended) for “Rich Girl” and again it felt like a special moment in time that took me right back to 2005.

Before going into “Hella Good” (which is one of my favorite live songs from No Doubt), Gwen told a story of how the band drove up to Seattle for the first time back in the day and only played to five people in the audience. She laughed and then thanked everyone for coming out to see her. Oh Gwen, if only I wasn’t 6 back then, I would have been there! She joked around saying that Seattle fans are a little stuck-up considering the music that has came out of our area over the last few decades. Gwen took everyone to “the next level” with “Hella Good” and this was another song I was excited to check out the background video for. The energy was insane and Gwen still had everyone in the audience on their feet and jumping along. It was undeniably really fun.

Another all-time favorite of mine, “What You Waiting For?” was next which had Steve Bradley up first leading a new and stellar reggae instrumental intro. The break also gave Gwen time for another costume change before coming back onstage. The background video was pretty cool too and it featured artwork of Gwen and the Harajuku Girls by Danny Roberts and we’re assuming shots of Japan that may have been captured earlier this year during Fashion Week Tokyo.

For initially being one of my least favorite songs from Truth, “Rare” blew me away. The song is so sincere and beautiful and I couldn’t get over the serene backdrop video that featured stunning visuals of outdoor scenery over Gwen. She called it her favorite song from the album and it was obvious she was living in the moment. It was one of my favorites from the night and helped me appreciate the song even more.

Another song that Gwen holds close to her heart at this point in her life is “It’s My Life”, No Doubt’s cover of the Talk/Talk 80s hit. This was another one that you could tell she really enjoys performing and the backdrop video featured clips of Gwen dressed in a gorgeous gown and loose curls going up-and-down what looks like a hotel hallway.

Next, Gwen performed “Asking 4 It” which sounds pretty good live. It was impressive to see Steve come down and rap out Fetty Wap’s part which is darn near indistinguishable on the album version. The visuals were also really cool that featured a raging bond fire in the background with Gwen’s dancing silhouette in front of it.

After saying a little prayer to herself, Gwen performed a touching version of No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak”. It was pretty surreal hearing it in this environment but really special in these circumstances. Gwen’s emotions were running high and the audience seemed to love every second of it. It was cool to see the lighters and cell phones open up creating a sea of lights throughout the song. Steve came out and performed Tom’s solo on trumpet which was a really nice touch.

Being my favorite song from Truth, “Naughty” definitely lived up to the hype for me and is so good live. I was curious how the band was going to pull off the low bass drop during the chorus but they delivered. Gwen was so spicy during this one which was impressive since she just finished the biggest ballad of her career. “Naughty” is such a theatrical song so the bright illuminated backgrounds were a perfect match — especially the “YOU DID IT” and “YOU HID IT” lyrics flashing throughout. So good.

The song that caught me off guard the most during the night was “Used To Love You”. When the track first came out, it hit me like a ton of bricks due to the timing, it’s nature and my love for Gwen, and then the new album came and other songs ranked higher for me. But seeing it live gave me goosebumps. Even though I feel like I’ve seen the music video a million times, it’s still so raw and powerful and brings the performance to another level. I felt really emotional throughout the song and all I could do is stare at the screen and feel for Gwen all over again. Her vulnerability and strength is so inspiring and the biggest regret I have from the show is not capturing this one on video — but I felt like I was on another planet during “Used To Love You”. It was really moving.

“Hollaback Girl” was a monster. As soon as the beat dropped, everyone was on their feet and singing along. When the lights came on during the B-A-N-A-N-A-S part, it literally looked like you couldn’t fit anyone else in the building — it was massive. “Hollaback Girl” and Gwen’s energy was so infectious and it was pretty funny seeing everyone of all ages jamming out!

After another extended costume change break, Gwen came out for her encore with “Truth” which was just as beautiful as the album version. The background video featured stunning visuals of ocean waves sweeping in-and-out and Gwen’s vocals were lovely. She pointed to the audience throughout “Truth” during the “thank you for saving me” parts and it looked like she was truly in Heaven towards the end of the song.

Gwen took another moment in the show to wish good friend and bandmate of 21 years Stephen Bradley a Happy Birthday. Gwen jumped on his back and raved about him to the audience about how talented and incredible he is and asked for everyone to join in singing “Happy Birthday” to him. Her assistant Lizzy brought Steve a cake out onstage; it was adorable!

Next, Gwen kept the energy up with “Just a Girl”. While Gwen held off on the the push-ups and climbing rafters, it was still cool to hear the song again that got me hooked on No Doubt in the first place. All of the girls around me were freaking out as soon as the guitar kicked in and it had everyone on their feet and thrashing around. Gwen ended up dropping her microphone shortly into the song and ran over to the other side of the stage to grab a new one from a mic stand… which didn’t work either. It was a pretty funny moment and Gwen handled it like a true professional (and eventually a stagehand brought her out a new one that worked). Plus hearing “I’m just a girl in Seattle” again pushed me over the edge!

And finally, Gwen closed out the show with her huge hit “The Sweet Escape”. It was another one of those songs that brought me back in time and it was so good. “The Sweet Escape” is still super fun and it resonated with everyone in that arena. Gwen looked like she was having the time of her life onstage and she introduced her band and dancers towards the end. Everyone came together after an extended outro of the song for a bow to the audience with smiles on all of their faces.

Gwen seemed incredibly humbled and excited to be back in Seattle and praised my hometown city throughout the show. She really did have a pile of love for everyone and I’m sure we all felt a piece of it — I know I did. With the tour wrapping up soon, I hope fans were able to make it out to the shows or plan to in the near future. Don’t miss it. The Truth tour is obviously toned down compared to her previous tours but it’s understandable and her passion and music speak for itself.

It was an incredible show!

Thank u Seattle ❤️👏🏻🔥Gx

A photo posted by Gwen Stefani (@gwenstefani) on

26 thoughts on “‘Truth’ Tour Review: Live in Seattle, Washington

  1. I had similiar feelings about Rare. Fans loved it and I was scratching my head wondering what the big deal was. Then she performed it live and I fell in love with it. Now I listen to it several times a day. Rare and Loveable are the best written tracks on the album IMO. It’s such a shame Rare isn’t a single.

    Her moment with Stephen was quite special! I’m surprised you didn’t get meet and greet passes? Her people must know who you are! LOL

    1. Aw! Yeah, they invited me back in 2009 so I was crossing my fingers this time around and it didn’t work out. I’m too shy to ask plus I’ve heard everything has been super strict and tight this time around. I appreciate it though — maybe next time! 🙂

  2. Best part of the show was when Gwen lost the mic. The show went on and Gwen recovered nicely. Glad to see that human side of her.

  3. I wish we would get one more single from the album in september. For the fans. I want to see another music video. I still feel kind of cheated regarding the music videos for this album and I really want something memorable to be released.

  4. Rare was my favorite until I saw it butchered live. I thought maybe the Tampa performance was just a mess up, but seeing Seattle, while better, was about the same. All the no doubt songs should have been scratched. You’re my favorite should have definitely been added and where would I be should have been a summer single. Also, the low chorus of where would I be makes the song not as appetizing. I liked truth live. The show overall was sorta a snooze fest. I was happy to see her live and did enjoy a lot of it, but after seeing the singles tour in Seattle, I had high expectations.

  5. Gwen is too worried to flop once again, that’s why she doesn’t release another single. All she wants is commercial success guys, that’s all she cares, that’s why this album sounds so basic en generic. She always says she made this record because she wanted to tell the “truth”, to save herself and blah blah, such a lie. Also, she said she didn’t care about the “sound” of the new album, come on, she obviously wanted to sound modern like any current pop star nowadays since BDL and STF flopped so hard. All she wants is to be famous and rich again, but she’s too old now (even if she looks like 20, everyboy knows she’s almost 50). Sia is old too but she’s popular now only because she basically has not “face” (lol) and her voice sounds exactly like Rihanna’s. I’m just saying Gwen needs to realize she “doesn’t exist” for most of younger people, she’s trying so hard, is embarrassing. Old fans like US deserve more respect, I don’t want her to be another Katy Perry, I want her to make cool music like she used to, fuck commercial success, she’s destroying her own music carreer.

    One more thing, she basically doesn’t exist for people outside America. I’m from Latin America and only a few people remember who is she. Radio stations don’t play her music. She’s not touring outside America, she’s not promoting her album (now is too late I guess) outside America… she’s not even promoting her album in her own country, lol. I’m sorry, she’s my idol but she’s over and she truly deserves it. This is what it happens when all you want is fame.

    It’s funny because she’s always said she wants to be unique and different, but now she’s just trying to be like anyone else. She’s not cool anymore, she’s boring.

  6. Ps: The only reason why she’s still my idol is because I know she’s talented and unique and she’s better than this, she’s better than Lady, Katy, Megan, Rihanna, Sia, etc, etc, etc. and I have big hopes she will understand she’s over for mainstream pop music… She’s over. I don’t want her “fame”, I want her “talent”.

    1. You forgot she is better than Demi, Selena, Taylor, and yes Beyonce.

      Going to calm down before I address the bitter Batcaver, and Cellboy comments.

      Big thanks Jenny, I loved reading your review and seeing all the videos!

  7. While a bit harsh, I have to agree with buttcaver. Her time seems to have come to an end. No doubt is over. Her solo career is over. We got some good songs out of her solo career, but let’s face it, no doubt music was always better. We all got what we asked for. We kept asking for her solo stuff and it literally killed no doubt. Push and shove was actually a great album and could have gone far with promo. I guess with all her personal shit going on, she just couldn’t do it. Looking hot and one more summer should have been major hits.

    Why have we only had these crybaby ballads released from truth? Where would I be or even you’re my favorite would have probably done better on air. Anyway, I will be surprised if we ever get new Gwen music and just blown away if we ever even see no doubt perform together.

    Also, let’s put the no doubt songs on her solo tour debate to rest. She basically cancelled their push and shove tour, not being able to tour with the band. Now she wants to sing their songs on her solo? To me this really feels like a farewell tour.

  8. I’m interested in what’s gonna happen after the tour. I know she talks about wanting to be back on the Voice, but if that doesn’t work out maybe she’ll take time off? As much as some people say her career is “over”, I think this has been a really successful era for her overall and she seems really fulfilled and happy.

  9. Batcaver, I do think Gwen craves commercial success. However, the fact she is even out there and that Used to Love You was a moderate success, is a big deal for an artist her age. Where are the other musicians from the 90’s? They are not around anymore, maybe they stopped caring, trying, whatever. Gwen has managed to stay somewhat relevant all these years. It’s pretty amazing. I am sure she wanted big hits with Truth and didn’t get it. Yet she seems genuinely happy. I think at the end of the day, Gwen is just happy to be out there doing her thing. While musically her CD was meh. The lyrics were very Gwen and this album has spoken to me on an emotional level. I do believe Gwen had a big part in writing it. It will be interesting to see where her career takes her at this point. I don’t really see her giving up and I will take any kind of Gwen I can get, because I can usually find something to like about her art.. unless it STF 🙂 .

  10. Batcaver it’s sad that you relate true artistry with poverty but art cannot survive poverty. Van Gogh’s artistry wasn’t appreciated during his time precisely because of that and not cutting your ears doesn’t make a person less of an artist. You locked artistry in a box and refused to let it evolve which is why push and shove didn’t make it despite it’s worldwide promotion because it didn’t evolve with the times. Gwen evolved that is why she has the longest career and the artists who didn’t were forgotten. Music should be able to resonate with everyone and not just a handful of people stuck in an era that has long gone

  11. Nice review I enjoyed it – thank you.
    I’ve been following the tour on Twitter and have to say that each show on the hour seemed like it was better than the last. There was a ton of engagement with international fans, at least a dozen who flew to shows from Brasil, Portugal and Mexico. Everyone has been responding that Gwen seems incredibly happy energetic and engaged while performing. I’m happy for her.

    Would love to get a live concert DVD of this tour- hoping she will film one of the October shows.

    Personally I believe this album is a real and honest representation of where she is in her life after her divorce and I have all the empathy and love in the world for her and thankful she was able to make more music.

    I too wish that P&S had done better and that she was not solo but still working with the band but right now I remain a fan of hers no matter what. She gave so many fans on this tour such joy and love – a pretty rare thing in the music industry of today.

  12. sometimes we have to be realistic about these things……….. i personally wanted to see her on tour this year if she came around my area because i have always liked her as a person and a performer but even years ago she was never know as a powerhouse singer by any means so i do not know what all the critisicism of her is. she always made things work with her performing and presence and i am not saying that she has never had her good singing it is just that as a pure vocalist that was never her style with or without no doubt.

  13. Anybody know if Gwen said motherf—– during Naughty at any of the other shows? I love it when she’s fiesty and ad-libs stuff like that. Naughty is so great live. It’s a shame it wasn’t a single. Imagine the video they could have come up with!!

  14. I still think that maybe one of her Trolls songs will be a single in September and that’s why they didn’t release anything after Misery. At least that’s why I hope.

  15. I think it’s funny that some of you think Gwen is only worried about commercial success, because by looking at how this whole era was handled I really think that nobody cares at all about commercial success lol. The videos weren’t made for commercial success, the most commercial songs on the album (A4I and SMAP) weren’t singles, the tour didn’t have any interesting supporting acts, they didn’t make a radio deal for any of the singles like they did with BDL… I really don’t see how Gwen is longing for commercial success with this era. In fact I’d say this is her “independent” era lol. She was lucky to score a #1 album, but apart from that I’d say this is her least commercial album/era EVER. Including her work with ND.

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