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Pop / Rock 15/10/2002

No Doubt Rocks Steady In Chicago-Area Show

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ROSEMONT, Ill. (No Doubt Fans Website) - Marriage hasn't dulled the charismatic stage presence of No Doubt's Gwen Stefani.
On the second night of her band's tour Friday (Oct. 11) at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill., Stefani grinded up against back-up musicians-vocalists Gabrial McNair and Stephen Bradley, shook her behind at the prominently female crowd like a Solid Gold dancer, and wiggled her shoulders while bending down in front of them.

The crowd responded feverishly, often drowning out the muffled voice of Stefani, who recently wed Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale. They confirmed the platinum-blonde singer's status as a strong female role model -- female fans screamed just as loud as the male ticket holders.

While the show was plagued by bad sound and technical problems, the audience stayed with it from the opening number of "Hella Good" - with fans waving green lights like air traffic controllers, transforming the venue into a giant dance club -? to the closing song.

Adding to the excitement of the show, the band played on the main stage, as well as a runway that jetted out into the main floor audience, complete with two different primary-colored drum sets for Adrian Young (clad in red-plaid boxers, pink argyle thigh highs, and Mickey Mouse ears) to rock out on.

During the 90-minute show which spanned the band's entire 10-year career -- Stefani cooed seductively during "Underneath It All," dedicated "Trapped in a Box" from No Doubt's 1992 self-titled album to the band's "old school fans," and turned up the heat on "Ex-Girlfriend," which took a fast-paced punk spin. Not one to shy from raunch, Stefani swapped the word "kissed" for "fucked" in the line, "I should have thought of that before we kissed," which evoked even more screams from her male followers.

Bassist Tony Kanal subtly poked fun of fans as No Doubt played the introduction to the ballad "Don't Speak," which is ironically about Stefani and Kanal's break-up. He swayed back and forth with a lighter, as fans did the same.

The sound problems, however, offered up muffled vocals, which were frequently buried by layers of music. The result? Stefani's between-song banter was met with blank stares during portions of the show, leaving a sense of disconnect between audience and band at times, though the fans didn't seem to mind.
Stefani made up for it with her Mick Jagger-esque stage presence, creeping up and down the walkway, teasing the audience with her overt sexuality.
At one point, she even performed a Russian-style dance, much to the pleasure of the crowd.

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