Note: To fully enjoy the pics, click to enlarge. Also, I have an exclusive from the fan who was pulled on stage (see below) and will be bringing you that soon!
I know "Hella Good" is probably an overused title when it comes to No Doubt reviews, but my gosh...it is SO fitting I just had to use it! I was able to enjoy the band's 2009 tour from the pit at the beautiful Nissan Pavilion in Virginia last night, with more than 21,000 fans surrounding me.
Here's a shot at how far back the crowd was behind me (taken when Gwen asked us all to turn around and acknowledge the fans with lawn seats in the back):
Another cliche that so aptly applies to lead singer Gwen Stefani: She really IS more beautiful in person. As a mom of three in her late thirties, I was in awe of Gwen's ability to have such tight, phenomenal abs after two kids and 39 years on this earth. Neither words nor pictures can accurately portray how amazing she looked, but you can get an idea by this:
Speaking of motherhood, one of the most touching moments of the night, for me, was when Gwen sang the lyric, "I always thought I'd be a mom," from "Simple Kind of Life." The crowd cheered since, as we all know, Gwen is now in fact a mom. And her whole face lit up and radiated pride as she gave a knowing nod back to the crowd.
It's very obvious that No Doubt loves their fans as much as their fans love them. Gwen interacted with the crowd throughout the show and gave several shout-outs to Virginia. Here's Gwen singing "I'm just a girl...from Virginia:"
As fans handed Gwen various gifts, she made it known that she loves to receive. "Is that a present? I'll take it." She donned a backpack from one fan and a flag banner from another, which she called a "butt flap." At one point, something went flying up onto the stage toward Gwen, which was a little unnerving, but she played it off cooly and announced that it was a wedding invitation:
She read several signs that fans held up, including one from a young girl who was turning ten. Gwen wished her a happy birthday and asked her if it was her first concert (it was).
Another fan, Bob, was richly rewarded for his sign, which read in glittery letters, "Hug?"
"Come and get it," Gwen replied, and Bob went onstage for the hug and two photos with her, living out every No Doubt fan's biggest dream I am sure. (As I stated above, I'm in touch with Bob and will be bringing you his story exclusively in an upcoming post soon, so stay tuned!)
Those up front who missed out on the chance to go on stage got their share of the fun when Gwen suddenly jumped down into the audience and sang amongst the crowd, which drew huge cheers and applause. Such interaction really sets No Doubt apart in the realm of fan appreciation, for sure.
The entire performance was flawless, with Gwen's vocals just blowing me away. With a lot of singers who sing live, the sound is so often different from what you hear on an album. But if Gwen hadn't changed up the lyrics to some of the songs and added in the shout-outs, I could've been fooled into thinking she was lip syncing (she was not). It was that good.
There were two costume changes, for a total of three costumes that Gwen wore. First:
The award for most creative costume, however, goes to No Doubt's drummer Adrian, who wore this ensamble, complete with a pink tutu:
The stage set-up wasn't that elaborate but the screen that played in the background made up for it. Some of the cooler shots included:
I didn't get a shot of the best one from the night, however, which was of No Doubt in their earlier days. Gwen looked like a baby on the screen she was so young!
I missed the opening performances by The Sounds and Paramore, so I was thrilled when they all came out on stage with No Doubt during the finale to sing a cover of Adam Ant's "Stand and Deliver:"
At the very end of the show, No Doubt threw out souvenirs for the fans, including drumsticks, guitar picks, sweaty towels, and cups of water. One cup went hurtling my way and my hand got soaked by the water. I never wanted my hand to dry off, let me tell you! You can see the cup coming my way here:
You can see more of my pictures from the show here and videos here.
Many thanks to the AMAZING people at Live Nation and Nissan Pavilion for making this review possible and really going out of their way for me. I got a sneak peek at how much hard work they put into these shows and believe me, it is impressive!
For tickets and information on No Doubt's tour, click here. If they haven't come to your area yet, you DEFINITELY want to snatch up whatever tickets may be left fast. It's SO worth it!