For our TK20 section, we wanted to look back and feature some of our personal favorite live television performances from the band over the Tragic Kingdom era. The band was everywhere during 1996-1997 and were able to treat everyone all over the world with appearances ranging from intimate studio performances to shows for thousands of fans. Enjoy!
We presented three from each single release and added a few bonus videos that were icing on the cake.
“Just a Girl”
While promoting “Just a Girl”, the band stopped by and performed on The Late Show with David Letterman back on March 8, 1996. Gwen was in full pout mode and rocked her famous Vivienne Westwood floral corset that she wore in the “Spiderwebs” video (which she later shared was her very first designer piece she bought.)
Gwen’s legendary “G-W-E-N” top, Adrian’s devil horns, the band’s fast paced energy — this “Just a Girl” performance is amazing. MTV introduced this live version from Spring Break into their music video rotation shortly after.
No Doubt’s performance of “Just a Girl” live on top of Radio City Music Hall is where it all started for me. I remember tuning in to MTV’s VMAs and seeing No Doubt and their infectious energy and I was hooked. I begged my mom to buy Tragic Kingdom for me but she refused at first since Gwen said “the f word” on TV (I was only 11 at the time). But my mom caved in and surprised me a week later with it and I became instantly head-over-heels for this band and a Gwenabee for life.
After rocking Spring Break a few days earlier, No Doubt took the stage at the MTV Beach House and performed both “Spiderwebs” and “Sailin’ On”. Both the band and crowd were so into the performance and this one is still one of No Doubt’s best. And for the record, we will forever be obsessed with Gwen’s yellow pants.
Another one of No Doubt’s iconic television appearances was from their return to The Late Show with David Letterman on January 23, 1997. Obviously the band’s performance was killer but Gwen stole the show towards the end while having fun and taking over the set. She jumped on Letterman’s desk and the guest’s chairs and brought everything to another level.
No Doubt’s biggest appearance and performance at the time was at the 39th annual Grammy Awards on February 26, 1997. The band incorporated a mystic-looking backdrop into their performance which is similar to the one used on the Tragic Kingdom tour later that year. No Doubt returned to the Grammys the following year after being nominated for Best Pop Performance by a Duo and Group with Vocals and Song of the Year (for “Don’t Speak”).
For more on “Spiderwebs”, check out our Song Saturday feature.
One of the most unique performances from the era came from the band “live” on UK’s Top of the Pops in March 1997. It was common for the variety show to not have the bands perform live so during the song, you can clearly tell the boys were playing along to a backtrack. Gwen’s vocals are the real deal though and she did an amazing job. While No Doubt looked incredible, it’s still pretty cringe worthy seeing Tom play “acoustically” along to his solo in the song.
In the midst of their Tragic Kingdom tour, No Doubt stopped by the MuchMusic studios in Toronto and performed a mini-version of their set. “Don’t Speak” was starting to hit big and was a highlight from the performance.
No Doubt performed “Don’t Speak” for MTV Sonic (Italy) which was played in heavy rotation afterwards on MTV channels overseas including MTV Hits. The full performance is hard to come by but you can tell that No Doubt was full on “tour-mode” and knocked it out of the park.
“Excuse Me Mr.”
In one of their most early televised performances, No Doubt treated fans to a rocking version of “Excuse Me Mr.” on MTV’s Alternative Nation in January 1996.
No Doubt stopped by the MTV studios again in 1997 and performed six songs from Tragic Kingdom, including “Excuse Me Mr.”, which captured the band’s high energy while on tour. MTV’s Live N’ Loud was special treat for No Doubt fans and songs from the performance continued to air in the next year.
In April 1997, No Doubt appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and performed their final single, “Sunday Morning”, for NBC viewers. It was one of No Doubt’s final televised performances of the era and as always they brought their unique flair to the show.
In 1997, No Doubt performed a couple of showcases for MTV (Live N’ Loud) and MuchMusic (Intimate and Interactive) which treated fans to additional performances of songs from Tragic Kingdom and “Oi To the World”, which was released in 1997.
No Doubt stopped by MTV’s Beach House in 1996 and performed their special cover of Bad Brains’ “Sailin’ On”, which was featured on the compilation MOM: Music for Our Mother Ocean. Their cover was loved by fans and the band returned to the song’s original vibe for this performance which is still one of the most memorable from the era.
No Doubt stripped down and played their acoustic version of “Hey You” which they had been performing nightly while on tour. Fans loved and seemed to appreciate the acoustic breakdown which became a staple on all of their future tours.
On November 14, 1997, No Doubt were invited to perform at VH1’s Race to Erase MS Concert benefit. The show aired the following month and featured performances of both “Don’t Speak” and “Oi To The World”, No Doubt’s cover of The Vandals’ Christmas song. It was a great way to wrap up the era considering the band took some much needed time off shortly after wrapping up the Tragic Kingdom world tour earlier that month.