Review: Gwen Stefani shares the love with Tampa
Gwen Stefani was in love with Tampa on Tuesday night, professing her adoring affection throughout her two hour set at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater.
“There’s no way that I won’t remember this forever. You guys gave me extra love tonight,” she told the crowd.
Only the eighth stop on her This Is What The Truth Feels Like tour, the ska-princess turned dance queen seemed unable to contain genuine enthusiasm about being on stage again after almost a decade.
“I’m just going to talk to you guys all night,” she said. “By the way, it’s been 7 years since I was on stage. So, I’m counting on you every night to get me off, basically.”
The Tampa crowd filled with thirtysomething Gwenabees did not disappoint.
Flanked by about a dozen high-quality dancers (I could not take my eyes off them all night), Stefani started her set with Red Flag, a track off her new album, This Is What The Truth Feels Like.
It is an appropriate opener because it’s a fresh song that shows off Stefani’s genre-blending vocal skills and band-girl bravado. Red Flag features a sing-song chorus wrapped around lyrics that Stafani delivers in a punkish, alto vocal that is essentially rapping.
Almost all twelve of her new tracks were mixed throughout the setlist, including the poppy-rock tune Make Me Like You (a song about Blake Shelton) and the synthpop ballad Used To Love You (a song about Gavin Rossdale).
I immediately fell for Misery, the opening track on Stefani’s latest album. She performed the electropop ballad with her dancers hopping and swinging to the beat accross the stage and lots of shimmery lighting effects.
The tune about being addicted to a new lover took center stage about a quarter of the way into the show. It was perfect for jolting more energy into the audience, right before Stefani began feeding us fan favorites from her 20 years as a songstress with No Doubt and as a solo artist.
“This is real life,” she gushed to the crowd. “I’m just so grateful to anyone who has ever listened to any of my songs.”
We were told by the skilled showwoman that we would be taking the night to the next level and the second half of the set crescendoed with many notable hits – Rich Girl, Hella Good, It's My Life – that left us in a dancing frenzy.
“I’m scared right now. I’m scared to do this next song because I’m scared it might explode you,” Stefani said before launching into Hollaback Girl.
Then the beat dropped, Stefani sang Ooh this my s***/ All the girls stamp your feet like this, and we all went bananas.