So Abby and I went to see No Doubt last night. I think the most disturbing thing I saw was a tween in a Hooters shirt. Here's the rundown:
The first opening act was called Bedouin Soundclash, but you wouldn't have known it because they only said their name once and who actually knows how to spell "Bedouin"? Pretty good, if you like reggae. They played about six songs.
The second act was Paramore, and it was obvious that many, many people in the audience were there to see Paramore. They played well, but I wasn't exactly wowed, but I'm not exactly a fan. The only song of theirs I genuinely enjoy is Crush Crush Crush, but I didn't care for their live rendition. The bass player did a flip at one point, and the band seem to have mastered the mythic "coordinated head-bang" pretty well--well enough that it was featured on at least 3 songs that I saw. They played a few new tunes and dedicated a song off the Twilight soundtrack to "Edward". Buh. Again, I was not engaged, but I was more or less entertained and it's not like I was there to see them anyway. They played a fairly short set.
Finally No Doubt came on, and it was about what you expect from a band with that much experience: high energy, superb technique, very professional, lots of production value. But unlike some other touring-veterans I've seen (Tool come readily to mind), No Doubt managed to engage the audience. Gwen can work a crowd like no one else. It was a greatest hits show, so they played, well, every single song off of their greatest hits album (except Trapped in a Box, because nobody cares, really) plus Rock Steady (the song, not the album) and something I didn't recognize but that Abby tells me is from Gwen's first solo album, during which all the members of the opening acts came and joined No Doubt on stage and played trap sets while Adrien Young (No Doubt's drummer) walked out into the audience wearing a snare drum and a tutu.
So, there was some spectacle. Incidentally, I've decided that Adrien Young and Brian Viglione need to start a compendium for talented-but-clinically-strange percussionists. Anywho.
Perhaps the most memorable moment of the entire night was when Gwen found her "favorite person" in the audience and pulled this person up on stage. The "favorite person" was a girl, neighborhood of 8 years old, who was very nearly Gwen's miniature doppelganger with similar hair and matching black-and-silver-sequence dress. The girl immediately started crying (in that good shaken-with-emotion way, not in a bad-touch way) and then she and Gwen hugged and it was all very precious. There was some brief chatting and picture-posing and the girl gave Gwen something that looked like a hot-pink beach towel, but I couldn't tell for sure.
So I enjoyed myself quite a bit, but not nearly as much as Abby, who had a jumping-up-and-down-while-singing-every-single-word good time. In pigtails. That too was pretty adorable.
Looking forward to Incubus on the 23rd.
Note: Abby and I will be on vacation for a good part of next week. Expect filler.