|Concert Review of Gwen Stefani at Xcel Energy Center on Mon Nov 14, 2005|
|Mon Nov 14, 2005|
|Concert Review Preview|
|Stefani offers more style than substance|
BY ROSS RAIHALA
Pop Music Critic
When Gwen Stefani launched her solo career last year, she swore she wasn't going to tour. But, Monday night, there she was, up in front of 14,393 intermittently screaming fans at the Xcel Energy Center.
The erstwhile No Doubt lead singer even addressed her broken promise from the stage, dubbing the night a stop on her "illegal tour." People just kept buying her "Love.Angel.Music.Baby" album, Stefani said, so she just had to hit the road.
The real reason for Stefani's live show popped up at the end of her 80-minute set — her insanely infectious and slightly stupid hit "Hollaback Girl." It's this year's "Hey Ya," the sort of pop song that breaks through beyond radio and MTV and into the national consciousness. (How many moms, or grandmas for that matter, have asked their embarrassed kids to explain just what the song's title means?)
Stefani tricked out "Hollaback" with video projections, break dancers, backup dancers, a costume change and every last bit of smoke-and-mirror flash in her arsenal. She even invited a few dozen gleeful fans onstage to dance along to her makeshift pep rally.
But without her old No Doubt bandmates — nor the group's deep catalog of hits — to back her up, Stefani relied too much on gimmickry throughout the evening. In addition to hopped-up cheerleader and thugged-out faux rapper, Stefani also posed as a globetrotting fashionista ("Harajuku Girls"), sleek R&B crooner ("Luxurious") and '80s-era Madonna ("The Real Thing")..
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