Gwen Stefani’s show delights fans of all ages

Gwen Stefani is shown July 15 at Rockefeller Plaza in New York. Stefani also performed Sunday at the Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek in Raleigh. / The Associated Press

By Lauren Kalo
Times-News correspondent

   RALEIGH — Gwen Stefani has been making music for more than 30 years, but she hasn’t been on tour in almost a decade so you might wonder if she is still a driving force in music.
Don’t worry; she is.
First of all, Stefani was shrewd in her choice of opening acts. Sunday’s show at the Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek kicked off with the rapper Eve, who’s a force of her own to be reckoned with and Stefani’s friend. Stefani provided guest vocals in Eve’s smash 2002 hit “Let Me Blow Ya Mind” (which won the very first Grammy ever awarded to Best Rap/Song Collaboration).  Eve opened the night with a fun, invigorating show that got the audience ready for the main attraction: Stefani.
Secondly, at almost 47, Stefani still has a great stage presence.  She opened the show with her song “Red Flag” and the crowd jumped into it.  Stefani is an energetic performer, with a liveliness and vitality usually reserved for teenagers. She and her backup singers never stopped moving, and the audience responded in kind.
Through 26 songs, Stefani sounded energetic and just like she does on her recordings. Highlights of the show included “Let  Me Blow Ya Mind,” featuring opening act Eve, and “Rich Girl,” which doesn’t feature Eve on the recording but did in concert. It was a treat seeing these two powerhouse women perform together and witness their positive reactions and genuine respect for each other. The energetic “Hollaback Girl” brought the crowd to its feet, dancing and jumping, and shouting the refrain “I ain’t no Hollaback Girl.” On “The Sweet Escape,” her voice sounded as fresh and new as if it was the first song of the night.
The crowd was a nice mixture of older fans, from her No Doubt days, and younger audience members as well. Stefani remains a strong singer, performer and a great female role model. If you get the chance to see her in concert, you should definitely go.

Lauren Kalo is a rising senior at Western Alamance High School and a Teens & 20s writer.


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