About 8,000 Vancouver fans went b-a-n-a-n-a-s for Gwen Stefani last week, as the former No Doubt frontwoman delivered a remarkable show that spanned her two decade-long career.
Stefani is on the road promoting This Is What The Truth Feels Like, her third solo effort and very first to top Billboard’s Album chart. The album was a major departure for the singer – instead of waxing poetically about Egyptian cotton and cashmere, Stefani is all about heartbreak and healing on Truth.
“Did you buy the new record?” she asked the Vancouver crowd to huge cheers (but seriously, was anyone gonna shout “not yet”?). “Thank you! Imagine how happy that makes me!”
She performed two-thirds of the new album including “Me Without You” and “Used To Love You”, a pair of ballads about the end of her marriage to singer Gavin Rossdale. But Stefani turned her pretty frown upside-down for most of her two-hour show, and kept fans on their feet with party anthems like “Wind It Up” and “Hollaback Girl”.
Also included were a handful of tracks yielded from Stefani’s on again-off again relationship with No Doubt. The singer told us that the band performed at Vancouver’s tiny Town Pump in 1995, shortly after the release of their seminal album Tragic Kingdom. “I never thought I’d leave Anaheim, so this is a miracle,” she told us. “Where would I be without you, Vancouver?”
Stefani spent a good ten minutes interacting with audience members and even invited a few lucky fans onstage for selfies. “Isn’t this just like The Price Is Right?” she asked.
Stefani was accompanied all night by a fantastic live band and a troupe of highly-skilled backup dancers, but the highlight of the evening came when she was joined on stage by Eve, her opening act.
The Philly rapper got the party started with a 45-minute set that included hits like “Who’s That Girl?”, and fans who couldn’t get enough of her block rockin’ beats were stoked when she returned later on to perform duets of “Rich Girl” and “Let Me Blow Ya Mind”, her 2001 Grammy Award-winning collaboration with Stefani.
After a fiery version of No Doubt’s “Just A Girl”, the singer wrapped up with “The Sweet Escape” from the 2006 album of the same name. The audience screamed along to every “wooo-hooo” and “yeee-wooo” and Stefani was clearly feeling the love. “The crowds that come to my shows are a reflection of the music I put out,” she said.
“There are so many incredible people here – I can’t understand it! It’s so incredible, and it’s all because of music.”