taken from: Time Out Chicago
Live review: No Doubt + Paramore + Bedouin Soundclash at First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
Posted in Music by Raf Miastkowski on July 13th, 2009 at 4:21 pm
After all these years, why would the 39-year old Gwen Stefani choose to go back on tour with her old SoCal bandmates and ex-boyfriend? Considering she got married to Gavin Rossdale, had a pair of kids, launched a massively successful solo career, and cashed in on a couple of clothing lines, jumping around on stage and screaming “I’m just a girl!” at the top of her lungs just doesn’t seem to make much sense anymore. Perhaps Gwen simply misses strutting around as a rock goddess as opposed to pursuing the pop-star-turned-entrepreneur career track of someone like Diddy. After all, many people forget just how instrumental the strikingly spazzy songstress was in shattering the glass ceiling for female rockers in the 90’s. Why is it so hard to believe she wants to re-capture some of that old magic? No Doubt has said the new tour is about reconnecting with its audience and inspiring the band to write new material. Sure, there’s all that cheddar too, but maybe Gwen would prefer to recruit another generation of fans as a bona-fide rocker rather than a quirky pop diva. After experiencing the ska-pop group’s epic, indefatigable, nostalgia-fueled show Saturday night at Tinley Park’s First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre, that’s not such a hard pill to swallow.
Walking up to the stage as a quartet of silhouettes projected onto a massive white scrim, No Doubt showed early on that everything was going to be turned up to 11. As the white fabric dropped, it revealed a massive, spider-like walkway structure with Adrian Young’s drum kit resting in the middle. The band sported white wardrobes and matching blonde-mohawked haircuts, with Gwen rocking black boots, a tiny tank top, and a toned figure that rivaled G.I. Jane’s. The stage was so polished, so impressive, that the band’s previous Rock Steady tour looked like a county fair gig in comparison. Launching into “Spiderwebs,” No Doubt instantly riled up the noticeably older crowd and soon had the capacity crowd of 25,000 people jumping up and down to “Hella Good.” By the time “Underneath It All” finished up, Gwen was proclaiming that it was “The loudest show of the tour so far.” During “Ex-Girlfriend,” a retro-cool spy montage featuring the band appeared in the background, with the entire stage turning red as the songstress screamed “Why am I so Jealous!?”. Surprisingly, The Beacon Street Collection’s “Squeal” made an appearance, though it was truncated because Gwen admittedly forgot the lyrics. Before “New,” Stefani made sure to freshen up with a new outfit consisting of a sparkly checkerboard hot-pants dress and black tights. Undoubtedly, one of the highlights of the night was when Gwen got the entire lawn section going absolutely bonkers with concertgoers up front looking on in awe during the funky, trumpet-backed “Different People.” Of course, the obligatory push-up demonstration occurred before the set ended with “Just A Girl.” Gwen effortlessly pumped out ten reps before amping up the seething crowd to a memorably ear-splitting boy vs. girl shout-off.
For the encore, Gwen dressed down to more comfortable camo pants and a sparkly polo before picking up the action again with “Rock Steady.” Though I liked how the band decided to play their go-to power pop ballad “Don’t Speak” earlier on, I thought that opening the encore with “Rock Steady” didn’t sustain the frenzied energy of the crowd. Next came the band’s new cover of “Stand And Deliver,” which saw the entire band and a young boy from the crowd banging on drums at the front of the stage while Adrian pranced around the stage hilariously in a pink tutu. Hoping that the band would close out the evening with the barreling “Sunday Morning,” I was pleasantly surprised when they actually chose to do so. The crowd summoned whatever energy they had left to close out the night with a bang, and stuck around to applaud the band copiously as No Doubt lingered on stage waving to their fans. Sure, No Doubt chose to postpone developing new, mature material for this tour, instead wanting one more go-round with their old catalog of songs about breakups and youthful enthusiasm. Though at first glance it doesn’t seem like a winning formula, when it’s pulled off with this much shimmer and swagger it’s not to be missed.
Opening for No Doubt was a pair of compatible and competent bands. First up was Bedouin Soundclash, which skillfully performed crisp, uppity, reggae-influenced jams reminiscent of the Clash. This time around No Doubt didn’t pack quite as much dancehall ammunition, so Bedouin Soundclash’s reggae flavor and tiki lounge vibe was a welcome addition. Then came Paramore, a tight, energetic pop-punk group that features 20-year-old orange-haired banshee Hayden Williams. Though some of the band’s songs felt a little stagnant and manufactured, riot girl Williams showed some serious spunk while hopping around on stage just like Stefani did when she started out so many years ago. The band also exhibited some surprising showmanship, which was appreciated by the numerous fans cheering them on.