Venue: Air Canada Centre
There’s no doubt about it; No Doubt’s still got it.
The Anaheim, Calif., band played to a sold-out crowd at the Air Canada Centre last night, its first stop in Canada since 2002. Lead singer Gwen Stefani, more recently known for her solo stint, joined Tom Dumont on guitar, bassist Tony Kanal and drummer Adrian Young, playing in advance of their forthcoming 2010 release.
The pop-rock band that rode the 1990s ska wave to fame hasn’t released an album together since 2001’s Rock Steady. But despite the hiatus, the foursome played a quick, co-ordinated collection of favourites, to much excitement from the packed crowd.
Following opening sets by Tennessee pop punk band Paramore and Toronto’s ska-meets-reggae duo Bedouin Soundclash, the quartet emerged, dressed all in white, all of them rocking Stefani’s trademark blonde hair.
The crowd roared as the guitarists and Stefani played before a futuristic white pod with thick spider-like legs jutting out in which Young’s drum kit sat, flanked by keyboard and trombone players. No Doubt opened with Spiderwebs as Stefani jumped about the stage, amping up the audience and inviting them to wave their hands as they sang along.
The band went from ska to rock with Hella Good, with Stefani punching the air as her glittering black-and-white costume flew in the air behind her. At the bridge, Young pulled down his underwear, slapping his rear, eliciting squeals throughout the stadium.
Fittingly, Stefani removed her jacket as the band travelled from rock to reggae for Underneath It All as Dumont whipped out a hot pink guitar.
At their first chance for a break, Stefani yelled, “We love Canada so much! It’s crazy!” proving her outburst by pulling a fan from the audience up on stage so he could show off his cursive No Doubt tattoo and snap a picture with Stefani.
Playing with variety and vigour, No Doubt proved it hasn’t lost its crowd-pleasing capacity, poising fans for what’s to come.
• If you couldn’t catch No Doubt in Toronto last night, the band will play London, Ont.’s John Labatt Centre June 30.