No Doubt played another yet again impressive show in Phoenix, and azcentral.com gave them a great review. Gwen actually ended up pulling a cute little Gwenabee onstage right before “Excuse Me Mr!” Gwen also reflected about the old days when the band traveled to Arizona the first time they didn’t have a van with them. “Out first show in Arizona, we didn’t even have a van,” said Stefani. “We drove all the way here and played on top of the table . . . well we didn’t even get to play because the cops came.”
Saturday’s No Doubt concert at the Cricket Wireless Pavilion should be a model for how all reunion shows need to be done.
The fun-loving band that dominated the airwaves in the ’90s with their ska/reggae-rock hits and colorful style, returned to the stage with a fierce set after a four-year hiatus, giving fans the perfect blend of youthful familiarity and mature confidence that only comes with years of touring.
Fans waited in nervous anticipation for the lights to dim while roadies constructed an elaborate set behind a black curtain, even laying down slick white flooring.
With the drop of a massive white curtain, the shadowy figures of the foursome appeared, sending the venue into an uproar. In a quick swoop, the sheet collapsed to reveal a sleek, futuristic stage set and the band in polished white outfits and instruments.
Drummer Adrian Young, his hair sculpted into a spiked Mohawk with black tips, and touring multi-instrumentalists Stephen Bradley and Gabriel McNair were elevated on an ultramodern platform that looked like it belonged on the “Star Trek” USS Enterprise.
They leapt into “Spiderwebs,” singer Gwen Stefani sounding pitch perfect, wailing out the lyrics “It’s all your fault” with a searing intensity.
The chemistry between the members of the band is undeniable and never looks contrived. Sequences from the video for “Running” flashed in the background during that song, portraying old tour footage when they were just a wide-eyed quartet. None of that seems to have changed after all these years.
“Out first show in Arizona, we didn’t even have a van,” said Stefani. “We drove all the way here and played on top of the table . . . well we didn’t even get to play because the cops came.”
This time, as a spirited Stefani later told the screeching thousands packed into the venue, was the biggest show they’d ever played in Arizona.
They fired through hit after hit including “Hey Baby,” “It’s My Life” and “Ex-Girlfriend.” Each band member was armed with drumsticks during the performance of new single “Stand and Deliver,” a cover of the Adam and the Ants track. Young took a break from the kit to move around the stage on a marching snare drum while bassist Tony Kanal and guitarist Tom Dumont tackled bass drums.
Dumont impressed on guitar, playing doubly on his electric and switching to the acoustic resting on a stand in front of him during his solo on “Don’t Speak.”
Young did not disappoint, not only with his energetic drumming but also his outfits, or lack thereof. For most of the set, he wore only striped long underwear bottoms. During the encore, he surprised the audience in tighty whities and a tutu.
On “Just a Girl,” Stefani urged all of the men in the audience to scream “I’m just a girl” at the top of their lungs, resulting in decent response considering No Doubt’s typical fan base.
It’s always refreshing to see a lead singer interact with the audience, and Stefani took it a step further by pulling a weeping teenage clone of herself onstage for a hug and photo, and going in the audience to snap a picture with a mom and her young daughter.
When your eyes weren’t on the magnetic Stefani, you couldn’t help but gravitate toward Bradley with his long braids and inspiring dance moves.
On “Underneath It All,” guest vocals are handled by DJ Lady Saw, but Stefani filled in with her own edgy version of the reggae-infused solo.
Staying true to her fashion-icon status, Stefani left for two wardrobe changes, returning in a sequined black-and-silver checkered jumper and black tights, and later a pair of tie-dyed jeans, a glittery black polo and a flashy cape-like fabric hanging from the backside of pants. There is no question that she is the only woman who can pull these looks off.
“Rock Steady,” which Stefani called her favorite No Doubt song, and “Sunday Morning” kept up the energy for the encore.
Loitering after the last song, the band members graciously took several bows together at the end. Young and Kanal chucked drumsticks and guitar picks to the crowd, and in the ultimate gesture for her diehard fans, Stefani wiped off her signature red lipstick on two towels and tossed them into the sea of flailing hands.
The six bandmates giddily danced off stage like they just played their first show to a crowd of 15 people. Yes, No Doubt is back stronger than ever.