"We’re Just Like My Ken and Barbie Dolls"

On Saturday night I saw the Gwen Stefani show at a packed Cricket Pavilion. The outdoor venue is notorious for being inhospitable to Phoenix summer concerts, but after Saturday afternoon’s green-sky dust storm, things had cooled down a bit and the air was breezy and comfortable.

Gwen came out on stage and remarked on how amazing it was to see 20,000 people at her show. She started off with some fun songs from The Sweet Escape and folded in a few of her older hits like “Hollaback Girl” and “Rich Girl.” She’s good live, a true performer who clearly loves to be on stage and feeds off the audience’s energy.

The show itself had good production value, inventive and interesting costuming, and talented back-up dancers. The Harajuku Girls are still around, but now she’s got some hot male breakdancers in the mix, too. Gwen made a point of introducing each and every dancer and band member to the crowd, telling us where they were from to boot.

Highlights of the show included “What You Waiting For” and “Orange County Girl,” which featured huge pictures of Gwen at all stages of her life on the monitors behind her. It was so interesting to see her grade school photos, her performing in the early days of No Doubt. I liked it.

But the best moment was when she ran through the pavilion to sing a stripped down version of “Cool” in the center of the seating area, surrounded by flabbergasted fans. She ran by me and was only four feet away! She’s adorable.

What I most appreciate about her is that, after the show, she made everyone on stage come down and take a bow with her, then accepted a bouquet of flowers from the crowd—and then she sort of hung out on stage for a few minutes. As her handlers walked her off, she saw some guy holding up a t-shirt and a sharpie, so she stopped to sign it for him. It was hot.

In honor of this, Gwen is my Dreamboat of the Week this week, and I’ll be celebrating her by listening to Tragic Kingdom over and over again. My favorites: “Sunday Morning,” “Happy Now?” “Excuse Me Mr.”

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