At a Glance
What is it?
A headlining stint from singer Gwen Stefani (aka Blake Shelton’s girlfriend).
Where is it?
In the Zappos theater at Planet Hollywood on the Center Strip.
Is it worth the cost?
Stefani works hard to make it worth the cost and effort.
Why should I see this show?
Because you like her No Doubt songs AND her solo stuff.
What else do I need to know?
If you’re a big fan, get up close – you might get pulled on stage.
What’s the bottom line?
I’ve always like Gwen Stefani but after seeing this show I kinda love her a little.
Gwen Stefani has had one of those careers that defies easy categorization. She gained fame as the lead singer of the band No Doubt, which has variously been described as SKA, rock, pop, and even punk (although that’s a stretch). They served up hits like “Just a Girl” and “Don’t Speak.”
Her solo work has definitely been more on the pop side with radio friendly jams like “Hollaback Girl” and “Rich Girl.”
But she’s also been known a fashion icon, clothing designer, coach on The Voice, and Blake Shelton’s girlfriend.
If you caught her during her stints on the NBC singing competition, that’s probably the version of Stefani that you’ll refer to after seeing her Just a Girl show at Planet Hollywood. She’s charming, personable, emotional, and works hard to make sure you’re getting the best experience you can possibly get.
The high-energy show wraps up the hits and a few lesser knowns from her No Doubt and solo albums. “Hella Good,” “It’s My Life,” and “Underneath it All” are all sing-along high points but even some of the less obvious choices are still delivered with gusto. “Ex Girlfriend,” which never even made it into the Top 100 as a single, came with an emotional punch with lyrics like “I kinda always knew I’d end up your ex-girlfriend.” And although her more recent material hasn’t gotten the kind of radio airplay she used to get, I defy you to not get wrapped up in the universal theme behind “Used to Love You,” a lament about reaching that point in a break-up where you start to remember there was once genuine feeling before everything went to hell.
Fun covers include “The Tide is High” from Blondie and Rihanna’s “Umbrella,” both done with signature Stefani style and a bit of island beats.
But it’s the parts between the songs that makes it easy to fall in love with Stefani. She’s charming, funny, earnest, and, it seems, genuinely flattered by the fact that 4000 people showed up to listen to her sing. Throughout the nearly two hour set, she told funny stories, gushed about her boyfriend Blake Shelton, and chatted with fans, even posing for selfies with more than a few of them and bringing a few up on stage. She has an ease about her that was infectious.
The staging is mostly done with digital visuals overtaking the backdrop, proscenium, and staircase to heaven set. It allows the look to morph from a garage band setting to a reggae fueled beach scene to a country hoe down and beyond. She’s backed by a tight band and about a dozen dancers who do a great job keeping the energy up during costume changes.
I have always liked Gwen Stefani but after seeing this show I kinda love her a little.