Show Review: No Doubt, Paramore and The Sounds at Concord Pavillion, 7/21/09

by Gordon Elgart on July 22, 2009

Our group pulls back the curtain on the No Doubt show.

Our group pulls back the curtain on the No Doubt show. Thanks to Flickr user Eytonz for the photo.

About two weeks ago, I sent out an invite to a select group of friends reminding them that the No Doubt concert we kept saying we were going to see was coming up, and it’s time to decide if we’re really going or not.  We ended up with a group of seven, including four founders of Spinning Platters.  But since all of us who went are music nerds in one way or another, I asked everyone there to write a brief recap of the show to post as a giant group review.  Of course this limited the post-show conversation because everyone was saving their best nuggets for the blog (we hope).  This is our first time trying this, so please let me know what you think about it in the comments.

And now, on to our first review.

From Marie Carney

When I bought tickets to this show I immediately regretted it. I hate large stadium shows, the traffic to Concord is awful, it was a Tuesday night and I haven’t really been into No Doubt for a long time. But as I got closer and closer to the venue (sitting in traffic, hiking up the hill) that inexplicable sense of excitement kept building in me until the moment when we got to our seats just as Paramore started their set with “Misery Business” and the teenager behind us let out the most intense fangirl screech ever. I turned to Vanessa, she said “tear” and I knew it was going to be an awesome night.

No Doubt is amazing live. They give so much energy and excitement it is impossible not to give it back. Gwen Stefani looks amazing and she was so emotionally present and fit. My favorite moment was during “Simple Kind of Life” where she gave the biggest grin to the audience as she sang “I always thought I’d be a mom” and the crowd of loyal fans screamed back their support for her dream coming true.

I could write about 500 more words but I’ll leave it at: it was a fabulous evening and I consider myself privileged to have been there.

From Gordon Elgart

The Sounds were on first, and they got play only five songs. A couple of them were long, and they deserved to play longer, so I wish they had played six songs, and that the sixth one had been “Tony the Beat.”

Then Paramore came on, and after a few songs of them, I realized I was way more bored than the screaming teenage girls who absolutely love Paramore. The only louder screaming the whole night was when the text message board read “Scream if you think Edward Cullen is hot.” Who’s Edward Cullen anyway?

No Doubt started up, and sounded really bad during “Spiderwebs.” The vocals were tough to hear, and the sound quality was pretty poor. Most of the bad sound can probably be attributed to our bad seats, but we weren’t about to spend $100 each for better seats. (This is a non-commercial blog, after all.) As they started up my favorite of their newish songs, “Hella Good,” the sound got pretty good, if not hella. After a while, I stopped worrying about the sound quality and started dancing. When the two people at the end of our row left early, we ended up with plenty of dance space for the finishing kick of the set.

My personal highlights were the last two songs of the night, a spirited cover of the Adam Ant classic “Stand and Deliver” with Maja of The Sounds and Gwen trading verses, and “Sunday Morning,” which to me–but not others–is the definitive No Doubt song. All in all, I was pleased with my first ever No Doubt show.

From Heather Beaudry

No Doubt cashed in on their star power and their fans came out in droves, with a nearly sold out show at the Concord Pavilion. Personally, I thought that the staging was very well executed. Although not necessarily the most original theme, the visuals and costumes were perfect. With that said, the sound was awful, it felt to me as if someone at the sound board had a muffle switch that was being flipped on and off by a psychotic monkey. Furthermore, they had an overabundance of slow songs which contributed to the lackluster energy of the crowd. Basically, there just wasn’t the right mix of songs.

To give credit where credit is due, I think every member of the band put their heart and soul into this performance and they all looked like they were having a great time. However, there seemed to be a disconnect between the band and audience. And as a performer, it’s your job to entertain, so no matter what you do, if the crowd isn’t enjoying themselves, you haven’t done your job. So, the real issue at hand is, was it the fault of the band or was it the fault of the crowd?

The one song where the band and the audience were in synch with each other was during their performance of Don’t Speak. It was too bad the audience couldn’t give back this way the whole show.

From Vanessa Romero

I did not realize I was a No Doubt fan girl until last night. Though it may have something to do with the fact that it was a reunion show and without a new album to promote it was pretty much hit after hit. The one slight disappointment for me was “Excuse Me Mr.” which they played as a slowed down version of the original, since it’s actually one of my favorite No Doubt songs because of its energy. But that energy certainly was not lacking in the rest of the show.

You could tell that this was a show for the fans. Gwen certainly didn’t need to do this reunion, which I especially noted looking around at members of the crowd wearing her clothing line, Harajuku Lovers. The best part was the band actually seemed happy to be there. Their energy fueled the crowd in a way I haven’t seen in a long time. Gwen said jump and we jumped.

From Joel Edelman, who sent us a direct transcript of his daily video blog, so I’ve left it exactly as is.

It’s the Joel Shit Show, featuring Joel Shit! Hi, welcome to the Joel Shit Show. I’m your host, Joel Shit. So yesterday I went to the Concord Pavilion, er, the Chronicle Pavilion, er, Sleep Train Pavilion to see No Doubt, Paramore and The Sounds. There was a promotion with State Farm in which I could play Rock Band, and if my band did the best rendition of “Spiderwebs,” then we’d win free upgrades to VIP seats, which were likely available because they charged too much for them in the first place. We did not win. Some kids played on Expert and got more than 800,000 points, and we were no match for that. We tried twice, both with me on drums. Whether I was on medium or hard it did not really matter. We got about 570,000 points both times.

And then some other stuff happened. And No Doubt played a bunch of songs. The set list is on my Twitter. [Editor’s note: I’ve transcribed it and posted it at the bottom of our group review.] You know the drill: Then after the show I met someone who fucked Adam from Link 80. She recognized my shirt.

Well, that’s all the time we have for today. Visit us on the Web at E-mail [email protected].

From Caroline Hernandez

Gwen Stefani is the reason I wear black eyeliner religiously.  This is an epiphany I had last night while watching No Doubt play at the Sleep Train Pavilion.  She is the epitome of cool, with a “wicked” sense of style that had, unbeknown to me, greatly influenced my own style. As I’m sure many women of my generation can attest to.  Having not listened to No Doubt since I was in high school, and largely forgotten about them in general, I never realized how much I still enjoyed their music and could actually sing along to many of my old favorites.  It was important for me to see the show however, as “Tragic Kingdom” was one of the first CDs I ever owned and led to the first mix tape I ever made for a friend.  What an enjoyable experience it was! Colored lights flickered to animate the entirely white stage set, and illuminated the 6 figures, also dressed in white (Save for Adrien, who wore a pink tutu).

Compared to the openers, The Sounds and Paramore, No Doubt exuded that Rock Band swagger–the type you can only exude after years of touring and making albums that illustrate a person’s generation. However, judging by the crowd of screaming adolescent girls, Paramore may share that same destiny.  It didn’t bother me at all that No Doubt aren’t touring to promote a new album. In fact I’m glad I didn’t have to sit through songs that I didn’t know and couldn’t sing along too. I’ve been to plenty of “Legends” shows where I sit in amazement at others who are so enraptured by the music, and sing and dance. I felt like this was my moment, and I didn’t have to wait until I was 45 to enjoy it.

From Dakin Hardwick

First of all- The sound was terrible. It was extremely muddy. Everything sounded like we were listening through a wall.

Next, The support acts:

The Sounds played a very brief set. (5 songs!) And stuck with tracks off of the most recent record, leaving out hits like “Tony The Beat” and “Living In America.” They looked good on stage, but they sounded a bit off. They seemed to struggle with the fact that the venue was nearly empty while they played, and I understand how hard it is to play to nobody, but they really could have put a bit more soul into it if the goal is to win over new fans.

Paramore are one of my favorite bands right now. That being said, they also didn’t translate well to the outdoor-shed setting. The band attempted classic arena rock moves, such as the synchronized head bang and the rhythm guitarist doing backflips over the back of the bassist. The set list was composed with scientific precision, opening with “Misery Business,” the first single of their breakthrough record, Riot!, and evenly placed their 3 other hits throughout the set. The two songs they previewed off their next record blended well with the older tracks, but nothing stood out the same way the classic tracks did.

No Doubt are, arguably, the greatest live act to come out of the 90’s alternative rock explosion. They were the only band from the 3rd wave ska scene to make the move to arenas, and maybe the only band that understands how to connect with such a huge audience. Again, the sound was still muddy, but the playing was spot-on. The bulk of the songs were from the three big records, primarily because those are the songs that people know best. I enjoyed the slowed down reading of Excuse Me Mr, despite the fact that it made for difficult skanking. Actually, my only other complaint about the show was related to the choice of venue. It’s really hard to dance to ska music while confined to the space in front of your seat. Still, I give the show an A.

No Doubt Setlist from the Sleep Train Pavilion in Concord, CA, 7/21/2009

Hella Good
Underneath It All
Excuse Me Mr.
End It on This
Simple Kind of Life
Guns of Navarone (Skatalites cover)
Hey Baby
Different People
Don’t Speak
It’s My Life
Just a Girl
Rock Steady
Stand and Deliver (Adam Ant cover w/The Sounds)
Sunday Morning

Gordon Elgart

A music nerd who probably uses that term too much. I have a deep love for bombastic, quirky and dynamic music.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Marie Carney July 22, 2009 at 4:38 pm

I love that the boys talked about sound quality and the girls talked about how awesome Gwen is. lol.

I also was frustrated by lack of skanking room, but once everyone else in our row left the skanking was ON! It was like 1996 all over again. 🙂


Joel July 23, 2009 at 1:19 am

I’d just feel dirty skanking to No Doubt. I didn’t discover them until Tragic Kingdom, and when I subsequently bought Beacon Street Collection, I realized I was looking at the tailpipe of the band while standing in the ska-rking lot.

I agree with everyone’s reviews. It was a pleasure to have attended the show with all of you, and I appreciate the invite.


Vi July 23, 2009 at 8:34 am

I’m glad someone else mentioned the Simple Kind of Life moment, since that was another “tear” moment for me.


dwight May 10, 2010 at 5:39 am

gwen’s abs were amazing!


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