taken from: NJ
Before singing “Simple Kind of Life” Saturday night at the Event Center of Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City, No Doubt singer Gwen Stefani said that this was the first time she had sung it in public since her two sons were born, in 2006 and 2008.
Originally released on No Doubt’s 2000 album “Return of Saturn,” this is a bittersweet ballad where she yearns for motherhood, and describes herself as selfish for putting it off too long.
If she had any trouble getting into the spirit of the song, which no longer applies to her personal life, she didn’t show it. Similarly, the band — presenting the first show of a reunion tour that also comes to Holmdel and Camden in June — basically picked up where it left before it went on hiatus in 2004. It was a high-energy, glitch-free tour opener, with the band, lacking new material, free to focus on highlights of its previous years together.
When the band announced the tour schedule, in February, its festival-closing appearance at the Meadowlands’ Bamboozle festival tonight was the first show. Then it added, as a warmup, the concert at the Event Center, which has a capacity of 3,000. It will spend most of the tour headlining amphitheaters that have a capacity of five or more times that.
Originally the band planned to release an album before touring, but the songs turned out to be frustratingly long in coming. Stefani said, from the Borgata stage, that the band hoped to get inspiration from the tour to write some new music.
So the show was devoted to old stuff: hits like “Don’t Speak,” “Just a Girl,” “Underneath It All” and “Spiderwebs,” as well as more obscure songs like “Excuse Me Mr.” “Different People” and “End It On This,” and a cover of the Talk Talk new-wave hit, “It’s My Life.” There was a bouncy, retro feel to “Bathwater,” a celebratory, good-time groove to “Keep On Dancing,” and some venomous anger to “Ex-Girlfriend.”
Throughout the show, the band moved smoothly from reggae to ska, punk-pop and power ballads, with Stefani, bassist Tony Kanal, guitarist Tom Dumont and drummer Adrian Young ably supported by longtime associates Stephen Bradley and Gabrial McNair on backing vocals and a variety of horn, keyboard, string and percussion instruments.
Stefani, who established herself as a successful solo artist during the band’s hiatus, couldn’t have looked happier, back onstage with her old friends, and with many of the group’s longtime fans crowding close to the stage. She beamed when fans sang along, and graciously took audience members’ cameras and snapped photos of herself, with them behind her. Before the sarcastic feminist anthem “Just a Girl,” she flexed her biceps, showed off her rock-hard abdominal muscles, and dropped to the floor to do 10 push-ups – a 39-year-old mom, still feeling empowered by the song’s defiant message.
The new intergenerational power-pop supergroup Tinted Windows opened the show. Taylor Hanson of Hanson sang lead, James Iha of Smashing Pumpkins played guitar, Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne handled bass and most of the backing vocals, and Bun E. Carlos of Cheap Trick was on drums.
The group, which released its self-titled debut album on April 21, seemed modeled, to a large degree, on the clever-but-catchy formula of Fountains of Wayne; that’s not surprising, since Schlesinger is the primary songwriter. Still, the group had a personality of its own, with Iha’s guitar riffs flirting with dissonance, and Carlos, with his unwaveringly buoyant playing, adding more personality than your average drummer.
The musicians’ other commitments will likely make Tinted Windows a fleeting side project. But this is a band worth checking out, for as long as they may stay together.