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Saturday, May 2, 2015

No Doubt performs at Jazz Fest

Posted By on Sat, May 2, 2015 at 9:35 AM

click to enlarge Gwen Stefani leads No Doubt at Jazz Fest. - ANNA GACA
  • Gwen Stefani leads No Doubt at Jazz Fest.

No Doubt has excellent timing — including the wisdom to go on hiatus at the band's peak and to re­-emerge as a group amid the current ’90s revival. Even so, the band hasn’t played in New Orleans for 13 years, lead singer Gwen Stefani told crowd at Jazz Fest on Friday.

The show on the Acura Stage certainly felt like a trip back in time. Opening with 2001 club jam “Hella Good,” No Doubt played nearly every single from its three best­-known albums, as well as several songs from 2012 comeback album Push and Shove. Though new songs are rumored to be in the works, there was no trace of them Friday.

Halfway through the show, guitarist Tom Dumont and bassist Tony Kanal picked up acoustic instruments and drummer Adrian Young shifted to conga drums to perform “Simple Kind of Life” and “Magic’s in the Makeup,” two of the more reflective tracks from 2000’s Return of Saturn. The laid­back second act wrapped up with a gentle, breezy version of the usually frenetic ska­punk song “Excuse Me Mr.”

Stefani has always been No Doubt’s center of gravity, with her effusive style and easy mastery of an audience, now magnified by the celebrity of her solo career. “Why am I so lucky to get to sing songs for you, I don’t understand! Why me?” she asked at one point. Later, she led a men­ only singalong to the line, “I’m just a girl,” before encouraging the crowd’s women to drown out the guys completely.

Even so, longtime touring band members Gabrial McNair and Stephen Bradley gave Stefani a run for her star power, garnering surprise, delight and bobbing umbrellas as they performed second­-line style horns during a brief intermission. Young also copped some New Orleans swag, appearing first in a black ­and ­gold boa and later in a New Orleans Saints jersey. One questionable moment occurred early in the show, when Stefani appeared to flub some of the more forgettable lyrics from “Ex­ Girlfriend.” The moment passed, however, and after a dozen songs and countless pogo jumps, the band closed with its 1995 hit “Spiderwebs” and an expertly choreographed bow.

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