I really hate the Comcast Center. Well, the venue itself isn’t horrible, just a cookie cutter copy of all other amphitheaters across the country, but the parking is hell. Right now, if you take anything away from this site, I’m telling you, leave 5-1o minutes before the show ends, right as the band is playing their last song or right as the encore is starting. Yes, you’ll miss a song or two but you will get out of the parking lot in five minutes, rather than getting stuck, and waiting two and half hours just to leave your spot. This is what we did at the No Doubt show and therefore I have much more positive feelings thinking back to the show.
I was probably more excited to see Paramore since I had never seen them live before. What surprised me the most was how tight they were as a band, and what a beast Zac Farrow is behind the drums. The band opened with “Misery Business” and tore through “Pressure,” “Decode,” and “That’s What You Get” (video below). While I could barely see singer Haley Williams bouncing around the stage from my lawn seats, her vocals were powerful and right on point. With the addition of a second guitarist, Paramore are a much heavier live band, and from the two new songs they tested on the crowd, it looks like their new album will be even more successful than Riot.
No Doubt hit the all-white stage and gave the crowd exactly what they were looking for. The band cranked out hit after hit from “Spiderwebs” to “Don’t Speak” to “Ex-Girlfriend.” But while they certainly knew they had to deliver the singles, the band kept it fresh and entertaining by throwing in rarer songs like “Tragic Kingdom” and a ska instrumental (for Gwen’s wardrobe change), along with changing the arrangements of more popular songs like “Excuse Me Mister” and “Underneath it All.”
The set was really all about Gwen Stefani though. After her two solo album detour, the performance announced that she is back with the the band that made her a star. Gwen commanded the stage with incredible swagger and looked hotter than ever. It’s hard to imagine what musical direction No Doubt will go in after this tour wraps. Do they go back to their ska roots or continue their reggae-dub vibes? As they’ve proven, I don’t think it matters; they’ll rock regardless of genre and remain relevant. This tour is a great opportunity for Haley and the guys of Paramore. I hope they’re taking notes.