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Representing The Bay Area for over
up the Night "
July 28, Berkeley, CA
almost non-stop barrage of high-energy pop, No Doubt rocked the house with
perfectly executed and dance-happy, to the delight of the predominantly teenage
audience at the outdoor Greek Amphitheater in Berkeley CA. Delivering an
enthusiastically rendered, 85-minute performance, the combo, propelled by Gwen
Stefani, the frontwoman with bubblegum-tinted hair, served up large chunks of
their multimillion selling 1995 breakthrough "Tragic Kingdom" and
their recently released fourth disc, "Return Of Saturn." Emerging in
a fuchsia pink jacket to match her hair with a white rhinestone leotard top
underneath, Stefani has grown from a doll-like figure, into a stunning woman
since we last saw her. Where before her moves were more like something off a
Taibo tape, she now slinks and vamps like a junior Mae West. Leaping into
"New," off the new album, Stefani owned the stage straight off. The
group's New Wave, ska-influenced pop remains a bubbly confection that not even
a muddy sound mix could flatten. Coming off like the test-tube spawn of '80s
rock icons Cyndi Lauper and Missing Persons' mouthpiece, Dale Bozzio, Stefani
bounced non-stop about the stage like a pinball, albeit a squeaky-voiced one.
Her bandmates, guitarist Tom Dumont, bassist Tony Kanal and drummer Adrian
Young, plus a pair of auxiliary horn players and dancers kept up with their
fearless leader admirably, following her everywhere from the opening rush of
"Ex-Girlfriend" to the speed reggae of "Sunday Morning"
through the wistfully lyrical "Simple Kind of Life" and beyond. When
not doing cartwheels or scampering up the scaffolding to the top of the
lighting rig, Stefani managed some seriously impressive singing along the way.
Her coos helped make the relatively introspective "Magic's in the
Makeup" work, while she turned it up on the claustrophobic rave-up
"Trapped in a Box." No Doubt ended this often chaotic evening of
music in typically chaotic fashion, inviting both opening acts back to join
them for an encore sprint through their peppy hit "Spiderwebs." No
Doubt still throws a great live show.
By Randy Cohen
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