From ‘Tragic Kingdom’ to Magic Kingdom, No Doubt brought fun to Starlight Theater Monday night.
Things got under way shortly after 7:30 when Bedoin Soundclash brought their So Cal Ska/Punk flavored sounds to the stage to warm up the predominately female and age diverse crowd. While many were still finding their seats it set the tone for what would be a laid back fun time on an atypically cool July night.
Once Bedoin Soundclash completed their set the the female front woman of Paramore Hayley Williams
took to the stage with her band. Paramore is arguably a modern day spiritual successor to No Doubt with more emo and angst that lacks some of the light-heartedness and straight out dance pop of their predecessors. When Paramore took the stage, the age divide in the crowd quickly showed as younger tweens and teenagers took to their feet to sing along in unison to songs about break ups and failed relationships.
Paramore had decent energy but the show came across as some what robotic. The rhythm, lead and bass guitar players were often all rocking the exact same attitude at the exact same time as if they were animatronics at Chuck E. Cheese. I do have to give respect to Williams as she tried to reach out to the crowd and brought good energy to the show. Unfortunately her angsty lyrics and the bands heavier sound proved a bit too much for some of the older No Doubt fans in the audience and had a hard time winning everyone over. I have little doubt that their tween and teen fans were satisfied as they played all of the radio (and Rock Band) hits.
For a Pessimist
I’m Pretty Optimistic
Crush Crush Crush
When it Rains
Where the Lines Overlap
That’s What You Get
Let the Flames Begin
As the sun set, the capacity crowd’s anticipation for No Doubt could be felt through out Starlight. As a screen dropped the shadows of the So Cal. Ska/Punk/Raggae/Pop veterans began to appear walking toward the front of the stage.
When the screen finally dropped No Doubt appeared in all white outfits on an all white stage with ramps going various places. They started off with what would prove to be a proverbial greatest hits set list with the 1995 hit ‘Spiderwebs’. Following ‘Spiderwebs’ was ‘Underneath It All’ off of 2001’s ‘Rock Steady’. The large display behind the band played clips from the music video of the song and various others through out the night. This brought them back to the earlier hit ‘Excuse Me, Mr.’ and later hit ‘Ex-Girlfriend’ from 2000’s ‘Return to Saturn’.
The first non smash hit and tip of the hat to hardcore fans was ‘End it On This’ off of their 1995 breakthrough album ‘Tragic Kingdom’. At this point the band took it’s first break with lead singer Gwen Stefani reading signs that had been brought in by fans. This lead to one eager, aggressive fan making a run for the stage and giving her a shirt with ‘Total Hate’ written on it. This was in reference to a track off of 1995’s ‘The Beacon Street Collection’ that was at the time a duet with So Cal punk/ska counter parts Sublimes deceased lead singer, Brad Knoll. This lead to an abbreviated version of the song with just the very punk chorus of Total Hate being shouted out. Stefani mentioned that she was surprised that she even remembered the lyrics.
The band played a couple more hits with ‘Simple Kind of Life’ & ‘Bath Water’ followed by a cover and a show of respect to early ska pioneers Skatalites/Specials ‘Guns of Navarone’. At this point it was obvious that the band was having tons of fun and it was certainly infectious as every one in the crowd seemed to be having a great time. It was nothing but hits, and a Stefani costume change, after Guns as they played ‘New’, ‘Hey Baby’, ‘Running’, ‘Different People’, ‘Don’t Speak’, ‘It’s My Life’, and ‘Just a Girl’. Somewhere during that list, your intrepid reviewer was having too good of a time to recall; the band read some more signs and a lucky fan got to get on stage and have her picture taken with Gwen for bringing the band gifts. At this point it was on to the pre encore break.
The first song of the encore was ‘Rock Steady’ off the album of the same name. This was followed by the only “new” (no pun intended to the ND song of the same name) material of the night a cover of the Adam and the Ants hit ‘Stand and Deliver’. This saw the band joined on stage by members of Bedoin Soundclash and Paramore. Bedoin Soundclash and Paramore’s leads singing parts of the song and bandmates playing drums or randomly dancing around.
Closing out the encore and show was ‘Sunday Morning’. I got the impression that the show was meant to close out on Stand and Deliver as there seemed to be some discussion on stage between the band about how much time they had left assuming that they had an 11PM curfew. ‘Sunday Morning’ while being a great song just didn’t quite finish with the same level of fun and excitement that Stand and Deliver did. What ever the case may be, it was still a great show and similar to the happiest place on earth in their home town located in Orange Country, Disneyland. Every one left with a smile on their face as every one seemed to have a great time.
Underneath It All
Excuse Me, Mr.
End It On This
Simple Kind of Life
Guns of Navarone
It’s My Life
Just a Girl
Stand & Deliver
By John Coovert