November 26th, 2012 | Photos

Photos and words by Debi Del Grande

Family. It seems a few of these were together over the holiday weekend and headed over to No Doubt’s first of seven shows at The Gibson, whether they were watching the show or performing on stage.
“You have to see this new band from the OC.” This, of course, was told to me awhile ago when no one knew who No Doubt was. They were a driven ska/pop punk band in the OC who established themselves quickly in the local scene. So as much as I wish musicians all the success they deserve, No Doubt has become so big, so mainstream (that my parents know who they are), that I was hesitant on going to the live show.
But when the family we were all waiting for – Gwen Stefani (always in style), Tony Kanal (gliding across the floor on the bass and keys), Tom Dumont (smooth guitarist) and Adrian Young (still rocking the briefs) and long-time touring members Stephen Bradley and Gabrial McNair came on stage, they wasted no time making fans feel at home. Watching Stefani move around, sing and all-the-while looking stunning is exhausting and inspiring at the same time. After playing a few from Rock Steady, Stefani took it down to the front of the stage with lights lowered and lyrics in front of her. “These are the lyrics in case I forget. Is that weird?” And afterwards, “I still messed it up. But that’s what makes it so special.” And it is.
“Simple Kind of Life” is one of those gems that when the lines “I always thought I’d be a mom” were sung, the crowd roared and Stefani grinned. Stefani, now a mom of two and still has the abs of steel.
The ska vibe was strong on “Settle Down” from the latest Push and Shove. The heartbreak of “Don’t Speak” had several cell phone lights in the air, although I did see a few lighters. The vote was in by fans, and “Total Hate” may never have been played live again, but was definitely my highlight of the night.
One very lucky fan pulled off Stefani’s red jacket and apparently got to keep it. (That has to be one expensive L.A.M.B. item). Another fan handed her a vinyl at the very end of the show as they were bowing which Stefani signed on stage and kissed. Class.
As big as No Doubt has been over the years, they still manage to keep that intimacy in tact on the big stage. They will always be our little band from the OC.
No Doubt plays 11/26, 11/28, 11/30, 12/02, 12/04, 12/06
Push and Shove
It’s My Life (Talk Talk cover)
Hella Good
Underneath It All
Hey Baby
Acoustic Set
Hey You
Simple Kind of Life
One More Summer

Sunday Morning
Happy Now?
Settle Down
Don’t Speak
Just a Girl
Looking Hot
Total Hate

Opening up – Nico Vega. The band is back in action after vocalist Aja Volkman-Reynolds recently had a baby (Arrow) with Imagine Dragons’ Dan Reynolds. Family. She glided across the stage barefoot in a short fringe dress working off of guitarist Rich Koehler, hopping up on Dan Epand’s drum kit and belting out songs as people crowded into the venue. Looking forward to the new album.
After a recent sold-out show at The Wiltern, Grouplove took the stage. The entire group acts as a single cell flowing from one well-known tune after another. It was just over a year ago I caught them at The Hammer Museum for a free show and happy to watch their success in such a short time.

Nico Vega: