No Doubt @ The Staples Center, Los Angeles CA 11/19/01
I wanted to give No Doubt’s opening set for U2 a separate review. Writing a little blurb in the U2 review wouldn’t do No Doubt justice. I didn’t have any expectations going into this gig. I like some No Doubt songs but was no fan, and wouldn’t call myself an admirer either. But as openers for U2, No Doubt impressed the heck out of us. It was a big party, and the group played a festive and fun set that got the audience moving. It was U2’s gig, but when No Doubt stepped up to play, they effectively turned the concert into a No Doubt gig. The set was brief at 45 minutes but explosively uptempo. The Staples Center crowd got into, responding well to Gwen Stefani’s stage banter. She had excellent command of the crowd and she didn’t have to do too much work to accomplish that. Her stage presence was great and it looked like the group was having a blast onstage. Stefani’s singing style is perfect for this kind of ska-like alternative rock. Her vocals were high pitched, and she would do that sultry croon of hers and she would chirp and squeak her lines at times, much like Dale Bozzio of Missing Persons. In fact the likeness to Dale Bozzio was uncanny: the vocals, the look, the overall colorfulness.
The band was in great form, driving through one song after another, keeping the energy level high and the mood very playful. By 2001, this group was ready for arenas. Somewhat embarrassed to say it, but highlights for me were “Simple Kind of Life” because of the low key nature, and “Hella Good” (haha) because it actually sounds good live. The recorded version just sounds wimpy, especially how they were trying to go for that old school 70s vibe. But live, it really thumped and it rocked. Adrian Young laid it down, giving the drums the power and fullness needed to make the song come alive. It was a skull cracking backbeat that shook the arena. And his kick drum had this commanding Whhhooomp that literally gave us a kicking that night. Great, entertaining group. Cool to see them open for U2.
Simple Kind of Life
Just a Girl