“You’re singing the words to the new songs… I can’t express… how happy I am that it touched you and connected to you… thank you for that… it’s the greatest feeling ever.” Gwen Stefani taking a moment (one of many) to chat with her fans at the sold out show at the 6,200 capacity Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City – the sixth of their “Seven Night Stand” special residency shows running late November through tomorrow. Having recently released their first new album in 11 years, Push and Shove, the audience of mostly dedicated fans flocked from all over the U.S. and beyond to see this amazing band perform live truly better than ever. In addition to putting on a phenomenal show, front woman Stefani took many moments to reach out to fans – sometimes literally – and all the members of the Anaheim band (Tony Kanal, Tom Dumont, Adrian Young, Stephen Bradley, and Gabriel McNair) seemed to be having the time of their lives on stage. Hopefully this will serve as a prelude to a full tour next year, given the reception of these shows and the strength of the new album, which is fantastic. Truly an epic night that will not be forgotten by those lucky enough to have attended this show or one of the others.
Who: No Doubt
Supporting: Best Coast
Venue: Gibson Amphitheatre at Universal CityWalk
Where: Universal City, California
Promoter: Live Nation
When: December 4, 2012
Seating: VIP Party Package – General Admission Pit (was in front row in front of Tony Kanal for No Doubt)
NOTE: Click on any image in this article for higher resolution
As part of this special engagement, No Doubt enlisted a variety of up and coming acts to give them exposure at these shows, including GROUPLOVE (who I covered in their own headlining act in October), Nico Vega, IO Echo, Blaqk Audio, Fitz and The Tantrums, The Aggrolites, Noise of Rumors, and JJAMZ. For this show, we got to have Kitten and Best Coast on the supporting sets. Kudos to No Doubt for helping other artists with such great exposure.
- Chloe Chaidez
- Lukas Frank
- Bryan DeLeon
- Waylon Rector
I was not familiar with this band prior to the show, but they were very entertaining and definitely high energy. Lead singer Chloe Chaidez never really stopped moving, and ended up running all over and climbing and jumping off of staging. One funny moment was when an unidentified flying object hit the gentleman next to me, and those of us in that group kind of looked at each other like “what the heck was that?” I searched the floor with my iPhone light and found that a necklace that Chloe was wearing flew off her head… we tried to get her attention to give it back, and ended up giving it to a roadie after they finished to return to her.
All in all, a really cool group and I’m interested to see how they develop. In addition to their own EP, they’ve got an excellent cover of The Smiths’ “Panic”. Streaming tracks can be heard on their official site HERE – definitely worth checking out. They have a unique sound and Chloe has a captivating voice with some real versatility.
Below are some photos of Kitten performing on stage:
- Bethany Cosentino
- Bobb Bruno
Showcasing contrasting styles, while Kitten’s Chloe never kept still for a moment, Best Coast’s Bethany had a completely different (much more relaxed) stage presence, which suited their music well. Described as “surf pop”, I think they also remind me a bit of some 4AD bands during the late 80s/early 90s (Pixies, Throwing Muses, etc.).
Their music was also unfamiliar to me, but I am inspired to check them out and pick up their two studio albums – Crazy for You and The Only Place. Really great set.
Below are some photos of Best Coast performing on stage:
No Doubt is an Anaheim band that formed in 1986, though it was with 1995’s Tragic Kingdom where they had their phenomenal mainstream breakthrough, with a series of hits. With their unique blend of ska, punk, and pop, they were part of a second New Wave of acts associated with the 90s that were rebranded Modern Rock, and then as well as today the band is at the top of that group.
Most fascinating for me is that each of the band’s albums from Tragic Kingdom on (Return to Saturn in 2000, Rock Steady in 2001, and now Push and Shove) have been excellent, which is unusual for most groups, who often struggle along the way in trying to find a balance between reproducing and building on success while trying new things artistically. For whatever reason, with No Doubt it just seems to work. I would personally have a difficult time ranking their work as each album has real stand out tracks but at the same time are great albums through and through.
In music today, the notion of the album is definitely (and in my opinion unfortunately) in the decline, with younger music fans being pretty fickle and being very song/track-oriented… in the music world of my own youth, we bought albums. Today, many simply buy the one or two tracks from an album via iTunes, etc., and disregard the rest of the album (and in some cases don’t pay much attention to the artist that created it).
Which brings us to Push and Shove. Given that the band has not worked together for some time, I candidly had low expectations about this one, so was completely shocked at how awesome it is… definitely among the top of my grouping of favorite album of the year, and certainly one of the songs on the album will be in the top ten list of favorite new songs of the year as well.
When I heard about these special shows, I knew I had to come down to L.A. to catch at least one of them. The only real downside was that I missed the fan club pre-sale, and the only way I could score a GA Pit ticket was to buy the “VIP Party Pass”, which amounted to nearly $400 with fees. Yikes. So if that doesn’t tell you that I’m a fan, I’m not sure what will.
Waiting in various lines as part of the will call process though, I found that today’s No Doubt fans are all really cool people – truly one of the best collections of people I’ve run across at shows all year – so that aspect was very enjoyable.
As part of the package, we did get some cool swag, and there was a party with an open bar… but my whole objective with the tickets was to get to the front. So I bypassed the party, and went straight for the floor once I was able to, and found it was two to five people deep across the entire stage by the time I got in, which was a bummer.
I met some more fans on the floor – all really cool people – and by the time No Doubt came on, they were kind enough to fit me in on the rail, right in front of Tony, which was awesome (THANK YOU, my friends).
As far as the concert itself goes, it was such an awesome experience. Unlike the new album, in which I held low expectations before listening, I had really high expectations about the concert – and the band absolutely exceeded those as well.
Such an awesome band – great songs (obviously), great performers, high energy… superb sound and they played really tight and intuitively together – really a joy to be part of it.
Below is a photo of Tony’s set list (since it was taped down right in front of where I was standing):
- Push and Shove
- It’s My Life
- Hella Good
- Underneath It All
- Hey Baby
- Hey You (acoustic)
- Sparkle (acoustic)
- Simple Kind of Life (acoustic)
- One More Summer (acoustic)
- Sunday Morning
- End It On This
- Settle Down
- Don’t Speak
- Just A Girl
- Looking Hot
- Total Hate
One funny thing about setlists… early on Gwen started talking to the audience, and someone asked for her setlist, and she pulled her own up off the floor and handed it to him. Never seen an artist do that before.
Gwen did bring a number of fans up on stage for photos, hugs, and what not, but there was one that was such a cool moment, and I’m happy to have captured a bit of it on film… Gwen brought this girl on stage, who produced a portrait sketch of Gwen in a notebook. Gwen kissed it and imprinted her red lips on it, and autographed it as well. Below are some of the photos from that fan encounter… Priceless…
Update: A member of the No Doubt Forum posted a link to a video by the girl who was invited on stage above, Lacey, talking about her dream to meet Gwen Stefani after having seen one of the shows last month:
Another cool moment was when Gwen jumped into the audience to take a photo with a fan (per request on a sign)…
The band have so many great songs in their catalog, that make for quite a surplus in trying to figure out the ultimate gig without going too long, and I think they did a great job in selecting what they did.
Truly an awesome show… I could go on and on, but I’m really just glad that the band got together, made more great music, and are still very relevant with a vibrant and dedicated fan base.
A highlight for me, of course, was when Gwen came over to me after the show and reached down and grabbed my hand – the photos below are just before that moment:
A funny side note in closing… the last time I was at the Gibson Amphitheatre, it was called Universal Amphitheatre… Halloween night in 1995 – the very last Oingo Boingo concert ever (which was turned into a live VHS and double CD). So after the show tonight, after the band cleared off the stage… what was the first music that came on as people left the venue? Oingo Boingo.
I shot a few videos with my pocket/consumer camera to capture a sense of the show and evening as part of my “gig archive” here…
Below are a few examples…
“It’s My Life”:
“Simple Kind of Life”:
“Just A Girl”:
Below are some photos of No Doubt performing on stage… and apologies to Adrian Young, Tom Dumont, Stephen Bradley, and Gabriel McNair (and their fans) – since I was in a fixed position, I was limited consequently limited to the number of quality photo opportunities for some of the band members…