St. Louis concert review

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch posted a review for Gwen’s St. Louis Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre. You can read it here and can also check on their website.

Gwen Stefani brings playful energy to Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre show
By Kevin C. Johnson

There’s no doubt Gwen Stefani’s proper place is on the concert stage — not on “The Voice” stage.

Her concert Wednesday night at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre was a bouncy blast of Stefani’s playful energy and pop confections. The singer, long absent from touring as a solo act, returned with “This is What the Truth Feels Like,” the tour named for her latest solo album.

Though not hugely attended (around 7,000, which made the concert feel a little too comfortable), Stefani was game for a fun evening, even if she had to get her fans going at one point.

 She said she wanted to take the show to the next level but worried her “shy” audience was holding back. She briefly stopped “It’s My Life” when she didn’t hear enough fans singing.

Flanked by a crackling band, several dancers and overhead video projections, Stefani opened with “Red Flag” and “Wind It Up” before telling fans how grateful she was to see them again in “real life.”

“I’ve been starving for you,” she said.

Wearing a number of spunky, punky outfits with her blond ponytail dipped in black, Stefani’s “huge pile of love” (translation: songs) included a mix of tunes from the new album, songs from earlier solo albums and some crowd-pleasing No Doubt songs.

“Misery,” “Asking 4 It,” “Rare” and “Used to Love You” were among the most potent of the new material; the latter is said to reflect her recent divorce from Bush singer Gavin Rossdale.

She didn’t talk about the song’s origins in concert, letting the lyrics and the emotion speak for themselves.

 She called “Rare” her favorite song on the album. There has been speculation that it was written about her current boyfriend, country singer Blake Shelton.

Stefani was fairly generous with the No Doubt tunes, to the pleasure of her longtime fans. She started with “Underneath It All” and sprinkled in other hits, including “Hella Good” and “Don’t Speak,” all well received and delivered with aplomb.

In one of the night’s highlights, rapper Eve joined Stefani for the two songs they turned into hits together, “Let Me Blow Ya Mind” and “Rich Girl.”

Stefani said she was afraid of what would happen as soon as she started “Hollaback Girl,” which was appropriately bananas, as its lyrics state.

“Luxurious” came with its fat, funky Isley Brothers’ backbeat.

An encore included a new song, an old song and a No Doubt song: “The Truth,” “Just a Girl” and “The Sweet Escape.”

Eve, introduced as the First Lady of Ruff Ryders, the rap clique she was in with DMX, Swizz Beatz, the LOX and Jadakiss, delivered a basic set of her greatest hits, including “Tambourine,” “Who’s That Girl,” “Gangsta Lovin’” and “Hot Boyz.” Folding Eve’s set into the middle of Stefani’s set might’ve worked better, judging by how great and in her element she seemed for their two songs together.

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