No Doubt, Gwen Stefani prove age is nothing but a number

Sentinel Staff Writer

Things do get better with age.

No Doubt may have disappeared from the music scene for a few years, but the current rendition of the energetic rock band is better than the original.

Just ask the sold-out, rain-logged crowd at the Ford Amphitheatre in Tampa on Tuesday night.

Gwen Stefani still fronts the band with her beauty and incredible vocals, while the rest of the band looked like it was in a bounce room the entire night, jumping from one side of the stage to the other and laughing the whole time.

It must be nice to be back on top again.

Having not released a new album prior to touring, the show had a throwback feel, where every song was a sing-a-long and every fan felt like belting out the notes.

The 90-minute, single-encore gig left Stefani speechless. At mid-set, she shouted to crowd, "Imagine what this looks like for me to look up at all of you. It's unbelievable. Thank you."

Stefani, who as in Florida during Hurricane Dennis, also confessed her fear of the afternoon thunderstorms that drenched the area prior to the concert, which also left thousands of fans in their cars awaiting a parking space. Many of them only saw No Doubt, but the bouncing around seemed to dry out the crowd quickly.

During a rendition of an early hit, "Different People," Stefani reached out to the "slushies and stinkies" on the lawn in the back. She asked them to jump up and down as she did on stage. And they did, and in unison. The rest of the amphitheatre followed suit and the place literally shook. And, while the song is not one of the band's major hits, it was one of the most memorable from the night.

The band's set was immaculate, including a video screen that acted as the backdrop. Many of the videos were futuristic in nature, showing space ships or planets during songs; but it was a series of videos of the band's start in California that brought back a lot of memories of where the band was and where it is now. Stefani looks baby-faced in the pictures, while the rest of the band had hair that is thankfully stuck in the 90s.

Many concerts can die down as they near the end, but this one picked up the pace. From the deafening applause after "Hey Baby" to Stefani sharing vocal duties with the crowd on "Don't Speak," the hits didn't disappoint.

Stefani also interacted more with the fans near the stage near the end of the show, including bringing three fans on stage, one with a "No Doubt" permanent tattoo across his back, while also hugging a woman who held a sign that said "Plane ticket to Tampa? $200. Ticket to show? $80. Meeting No Doubt? Priceless." Stefani also posed for pictures, while bringing the man with the tattoo back on stage after the final song of the night to take a bow with the six members of the band.

And that infectious, fun type of interaction seems to have rubbed off on both opening acts, Paramore and The Sounds. Both are also fronted by striking females, Paramore's Hayley Williams and The Sounds' Maja Ivarsson.

Paramore has had plenty of airwave success with "Decode," but they are even more fun live. Williams is much like Stefani in her movement on stage, as well as her contagious smile and energy.

And, after Tuesday night, it looks like emulating Stefani isn't such a bad thing.

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