Even if you weren’t in the crowd for Gwen Stefani at the Dubai World Cup, you probably would have caught one of the thousands of light beams ricocheting off her bedazzled golden jacket on Saturday night. The snazzy number was so bright, it may as well have been part of the lighting setup.
Stefani has always been known for her extravagant fashion choices that complement her hefty pop-rock sound. On Saturday night, she delivered on both fronts — colours, textures and motifs clashed onstage as the singer mixed red roses with cheetah print, mesh with sparkle, platinum blonde hair with signature red lipstick.
She didn’t show any signs of performance fatigue, either. Stefani’s plate has been full with her ongoing Las Vegas residency — which has been running since last June — but it doesn’t seem to have zapped her energy or eaten away at her internal battery. The 49-year-old singer was animated and dynamic, her vocals distinctly live though sounding as refined as on the records.
Since arriving on the scene in the mid-80s as the front woman of No Doubt, Stefani’s voice has been full, coarse and concentrated. In between tracks, she doled out her signature ‘eeeyeahhhhs’ and made sure her fans knew how grateful she was to be with them: “This will probably be one of the memories that sticks in my brain.”
Stefani also leaned into her heart-on-sleeve appeal. Putting on a mix of solo songs and No Doubt hits, she pulled on personal introductions and sentimental anecdotes, creating the sense that she’s everyone’s long-lost friend, rather than a worldwide music star worth an estimated $100 million (Dh367.2 million). She introduced one song by saying that it gives her a stomach ache (‘Ex-Girlfriend’) and another by admitting it’s tough to sing (‘Rich Girl’); she shared how one track is about how “I hate liars, I just wanna know the truth!” (‘Baby Don’t Lie’) and the other summed up her journey thus far (‘It’s My Life’).
Halfway through, Stefani dashed off for an outfit change after her upbeat dance track ‘Hella Good’, returning in a silver athleisure look to perform ‘Wind It Up’.
She received one of the biggest reactions in the final third of the night, during a trombone-infused live rendition of the throwback hit ‘Don’t Speak’, which got the crowd to their feet with their mobile phones in the air, ready to record a memory.
The singer will return to Las Vegas in July to continue her ‘Just a Girl’ residency, which will run until November 2.