Gwen Stefani Winds it Up at ‘This is What the Truth Feels Like’ Show
Just before Gwen Stefani took the stage for her Tuesday night (July 19) show at Camden, NJ’s BB&T Pavilion, she had a confession to make. “I never thought I would be able to go back on tour…
Just before Gwen Stefani took the stage for her Tuesday night (July 19) show at Camden, NJ’s BB&T Pavilion, she had a confession to make. “I never thought I would be able to go back on tour again,” the pop singer said in a taped video preceding the opening number, “Red Flag.”
And yet, there she was, resplendent in a red roses top matched with tartan pants, ready to reconnect with her audience after a seven year hiatus at the high-energy show on her summer amphitheater trek.
“The last time I was here it was Kingston’s birthday, when he was one,” she said of her now 10-year old son. “We had a party for him backstage.”
That was 2007, and since then the 46-year old star has ended her marriage to Bush lead singer Gavin Rossdale, but found love again with Blake Shelton, her co-star from a stint as a coach on NBC’s The Voice. All of this is chronicled in her recent album, This is What the Truth Feels Like, which debuted at No. 1 in March.
The former Voice coach clearly missed the road, and several times said she plans to use her time on tour getting to know her fans again, frequently peering into the crowd and making as many personal connections as she can. “I haven’t seen you in seven years,” she mused.
Backed by a tight four-piece band, Stefani slinked through the show playing off eight dancers — who were incredibly fun to watch as the guys did their best Channing Tatum-style Magic Mike moves for slower numbers like “Luxurious” — through a set that included much of the new album, a mix of solo selections and No Doubt hits.
Opening with “Red Flag”— a song about missing the signs of a cheating lover (and providing the lyrics on the screen so the audience didn’t miss them) — Stefani kicked the show into high gear with “Wind it Up,” yodeling like a new wave Julie Andrews to The Sound of Music’s “The Lonely Goatherd” and invoking that musical with an accompanying visual of Austrian mountains.
“This is actually happening in real life — I can see you!” she called out to the audience. “This isn’t the internet!”
Stefani then addressed her hatred of “liars” with the 2014 single, “Baby Don’t Lie,” playing up the lack of trust sentiment with a male dancer as she antagonized, “am I getting warm?” The first act — which included the crowd-pleasing single, “Cool,” and the upbeat, Shelton-inspired “Make Me Like You,” wrapped up with the ska-flavored No Doubt classic, “Underneath it All,” which melded perfectly with the warm, balmy night underneath a full moon.
With that, came a costume change and the second act, which included an appearance by opener, Eve, for a trip back in time with their 2001 collaboration “Let Me Blow Ya Mind” and Fiddler on the Roof inspired “Rich Girl.” It was evident both women were having a blast, feeding off the energy of the fans in the pit. Stefani wasted no time as she lead the band through “Hella Good,” then departed to change into a crystal green corset to open Act 3 with an epic rendition of the Japanese-inspired song, “What You Waiting For?” and a pretty version of “Rare,” a vulnerable ballad written about Shelton that Stefani said is her “favorite” from the new record.
Loyal No Doubt fans were also rewarded with the band’s cover of “It’s My Life,” by Talk Talk and personal TLC from the singer, who was intrigued by a pair of shoes a fan asked her to sign. “How do I sign a pair of black shoes with a black sharpie?” she asked before she discovered the pen was, in fact, silver. “That’s smart!” she said, before inviting several fans onstage for hugs and selfies (hint: Stefani likes fan signs — if you want to get up on stage, make one before you go).
The Tragic Kingdom breakup song “Don’t Speak” elicited a communal sing-along, as well as empathy for the singer, who delivered the post-divorce examination “Used to Love You” right after. She performed the latter against a video backdrop of herself looking like she was about to burst into tears.
But lest you forget, “it’s not just gonna happen like that,” and Stefani stomped all over that sad moment with the call-and response anthem, “Hollaback Girl.” She returned to the stage one last time in a white corset (Blond Rebel) to wrap the show with a spirited return to 1995’s girl power anthem, “Just a Girl” and show closer, “The Sweet Escape.”
To say the show was B-A-N-A-N-A-S is an understatement.
It was a special evening for show opener Eve, as it was a hometown performance for the Philadelphia native. Backed by four dancers, the rapper entertained with songs from her latest album, Lip Lock. Opening with “Gangsta Love,” and an invitation to go to Jamaica despite the evening being “hot as s–t.” Eve rounded out her inspired set with the Madonna-influenced track, “Who’s That Girl?” from her second album, Scorpion, and the anti-domestic violence song “Love is Blind,” during which she encouraged the audience to listen to the words, calling it “an important song in my career.”
“Wind it Up”
“Baby Don’t Lie”
“Where Would I Be?”
“Make Me Like You”
“Underneath it All”
“Let Me Blow Ya Mind”
“What You Waiting For?”
“It’s My Life”
“Asking 4 It”
“Used to Love You”
“Just a Girl”
“The Sweet Escape”