Gwen Stefani Pre-Celebrates LA: At the time of writing, it’s Monday morning and many of us here in L.A. can enjoy the fact that the Rams won the Super Bowl in our own backyard. Yes, it was tight. Yes, there were a lot of flags thrown at the end. But sometimes you’ve got to grind it out and that’s exactly what the Rams did. After years of toiling in Detroit, quarterback Matthew Stafford has the Super Bowl ring that he richly deserves. There are stories all over the place.

The Arena (it’s still weird that it’s called that) hosted Super Bowl Music Fest concerts on the preceding three days, with Machine Gun Kelly and Halsey performing on Thursday, and Miley Cyrus and Green Day taking the stage on Saturday. On Friday, we showed up to celebrate SoCal ska-turned-pop queen Gwen Stefani, bookended by two country artists. Mickey Guyton, who would sing the National Anthem on Sunday, went on first, while Stefani’s husband Blake Shelton went on last.

Both put in crowd-pleasing sets. But “Anaheim Hillbilly” (she has a range of clothing that say exactly that) Stefani knows these people and goddamn, she has them eating out of her from the opening “WOO HOO” of “The Sweet Escape.”

From there, it’s a greatest hits set and it’s wonderfully heavy on the No Doubt tunes. We get the later stuff such as “Hey Baby” and “Underneath it All.” But it’s the fiery ska tunes that set this place ablaze. “Sunday Morning” comes early. “Don’t Speak” has everyone singing with every inch of lung. And “Spiderwebs” and “Just a Girl” are simply magnificent.

Her tendency to swipe bits from musicals makes for some gloriously odd moments, specifically her use of Fiddler on the Roof in “Rich Girl,” and later, the Sound of Music refrain of “High on a hill was a lonely goatherd” in “Wind it Up.” But she absolutely pulls it off. So she’s nowadays offering a blend of ska/reggae, pop, country and Broadway. And killing it!

“Hollaback Girl” is really the only way she could conclude the set, and there’s not a butt in a seat when she swaggers through it. As she says herself, “I feel sorry for Blake Shelton, having to go on after me.” She would later come back to sing “Nobody But You” and “Happy Anywhere” with her husband.

The mood inside and outside the arena was celebratory all night, as L.A. took full advantage of the party vibe that the Super Bowl affords. A Rams victory was the icing on the cake.

Gwen Stefani Pre-Celebrates LA

LA Weekly