Gwen Stefani opens residency with Las Vegas-inspired show

Gwen Stefani took position in front of a neon-psychedelic ranch setting, wearing a frilly cowgirl outfit laced in golden bling. Her gaze zeroed in on a spot in at the edge of the stage in the VIP section of Zappos Theater.

“I see a lot of admiring eyes on my sparkles. I know, it’s ridiculous,” Stefani said. “You don’t know what it’s like to wear a cowgirl costume right in front of Blake Shelton. It’s like my fantasy come true.”

True, so true. Stefani and Shelton are Vegas’s power couple of the moment, the former opening her “Just a Girl” residency on the Strip before an adoring capacity crowd Wednesday night at Planet Hollywood. Adding a dash of Vegas to her concert show, Stefani donned the cowgirl getup, sliding into a pair of shimmering white boots to complete the ensemble.

No doubt, Stefani arrives with a clear idea of what to present in a Las Vegas Strip production. She opened with Vegas grandeur, performing “Hollaback Girl” on a wondrous staircase with costumed dancers as showgirls. The scene hearkened to the happy extravagance of “Jubilee,” “Folies Bergere” and “Lido de Paris.”

Yes, those shows are gone and the showgirl herself is nearly extinct in Las Vegas. But if you have noble imagination and are generously resourced, she can live forever. Stefani and her team of backing dancers are giving that Vegas icon, and the city’s grandeur of production shows, a new spin in her 25-show residency (shows run this weekend and also select dates in July, December, February and March).

The staging elsewhere was slick and stylish but not overwhelming. Stefani’s dancing image and such elements as Betty Boop and spinning sunflowers were shown on the video panels at flanking the set. She took a rose-shrouded, rising stage for “Don’t Speak” near the end of the show. At one point we were treated to dancers grooving with fake tubas and gigantic bananas (for the callback in “Hollaback Girl’).

A fit and confident 48, Stefani paced the show smartly with a high complement of No Doubt hits. “Spiderwebs,” “Hella Good,” “Hey Baby,” “Ex-Girlfriend,” “Don’t Speak” and the show-titled, “Just a Girl.” She performed solo singles, too, among them “Luxurious” (fortuitously spelled out on the LED screen), “Cool” and the show-capping “The Sweet Escape.”

But in Stefani’s world, you can also sing songs you wish you’d written, and hers were Blondie’s “The Tide is High” and Rihanna’s “Umbrella.”

As it was opening night, the show was marked with a few snags. We had the requisite wardrobe malfunction when Stefani was tangled in one of sparkly corsets (designed by Jeremy Scott, who also got a call-out from the stage). Stefani invited three young girls to the stage to get her out of that mess.

“Someone get up here and take this (expletive) off me right now … See, this is basically our dress rehearsal, and that’s why I said tonight was one of the most memorable of the entire tour.”

She did say that, and also, remarkable to note, Stefani also powered through her own vocals in a theater famous for vocal tracking. She was occasionally out of breath, which is typically an indication that a singer is, you know, singing.

In one of her five costume breaks, Stefani spoke to the audience through a video clip midway through the show. She talked of her personal life, how’d she’d long been “unlucky in love” and had hoped to have many kids and a “perfect family.”

“That’s something I dreamed of for a long time, but my own love life experience wasn’t what I thought it would be,” she said. “I feel like I had so much love to give inside me, but I was unlucky in love, which has been a blessing because I’ve been able to write about that and share that and have this incredibly blessed musical career.

“There was a point in my life where I felt that I was losing everything … When I look back at all the times my heart was broken, it was always music that healed me.”

That clip was in black-and-white, a stark contrast to the splashy spectacle of live performance, and showed Stefani’s face up close. It was a moment that pulled it all together. Artistically, and even personally, this stage show is Gwen Stefani’s way to reflect, cut loose, dress up and show off.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

Entertainment
Meow Wolf opening an "otherworldly" art experience in Las Vegas
Meow Wolf opening "otherworldly" art experience in Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Celebrate Margarita Day With The Hot Damn Margarita
Celebrate Margarita Day With The Hot Damn Margarita (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Yard House margarita changes color in the glass
The cocktail, as made by lead bartender Taylor Cole at Town Square in Las Vegas, changes from deep blue to magenta because of a chemical reaction between its butterfly pea flowers and citrus agave. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Black History Month Festival
Las Vegas residents gathered on Saturday, February 16, 2019, at Springs Preserve, 333 S. Valley View Blvd, to celebrate Black History Month. (Katelyn Newberg/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
You Can Design With 3D Printers, Laser Cutters And Ceramics At Discovery Children's Museum
You Can Design With 3d Printers, Laser Cutters And Ceramics At Discovery Children's Museum (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Champagne vending machine at Waldorf Astoria in Las Vegas
One of only a few in the country, the Moët & Chandon machine at the Waldorf Astoria in Las Vegas is stocked with Imperial Rose for Valentine’s Day. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Las Vegas Valentine’s Day desserts
Mio Ogasawara of Sweets Raku and Rebecca Bills of Gen3 Hospitality in Las Vegas create elaborate Valentine’s Day desserts. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal
One Night For One Drop
Cirque du Soleil cast and crew donate their time and talent to this year's "One Night For One Drop" performance at the "O" Theatre in the Bellagio. The event takes place March 8, 2019, and benefits the One Drop organization. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Chinese New Year Parade
Chinese New Year parade takes place on Fremont Street. (Bill Hughes/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Manzo restaurant a key part of Eataly
Nicole Brisson, executive chef of Eataly, at Park MGM in Las Vegas, talks about new restaurant.
Designer Makes Festival-style Crowns
Designer at MAGIC trade show Makes Festival-style Crowns (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Excalibur Raises tent that will house "Fuerza Bruta" show
Workers at Excalibur raised a tent, which will be the home of "Fuerza Bruta," a temporary show that will run from March 7 to September 1, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Roc Boots Make For Glittery Festival Wear
With 3-inch-tall chunky heels, cleated platforms, and sparkly glitter, you’ll want to wear these to dance the night away. Sally Cull, product and development for Roc Boots Australia, assures you that you can. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Get A Custom-painted Jacket At Las Vegas Fashion Event
On the first of the two-night Commotion event, clothing brands connected with consumers, offering shopping, giveaways and customization opportunities. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Venetian Celebrates The "Year Of The Pig"
The Venetian hosted dancers to celebrate the Chinese New Year and "Year of the Pig." The dancers performed a traditional eye-dotting ceremony and lion dance. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Pepe the truffle-hunting dog
Jose Andres knows that quality black truffles can also be found in his native Spain. He’ll be sharing some with the world for a week, starting Monday. From Feb. 11-17, his Cosmopolitan restaurant Jaleo will be showcasing four special dishes made with Spanish truffles discovered by the truffle-hunting dogs of his friend Nacho Ramírez Monfort. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tony Abou-Ganim mixes drink at Libertine Social
Tony Abou-Ganim, The Modern Mixologist, helped change the cocktail culture in Las Vegas. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Masaharu Morimoto talks ramen in Las Vegas
Masaharu Morimoto talks about bringing a ramen restaurant to Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Morimoto considering full-time Las Vegas ramen spot
Morimoto talks about a full-time ramen spot in Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Hard Rock Cafe guitar sign moves to new home at Neon Museum Boneyard
The famous and newly restored, Hard Rock Cafe guitar sign is working it's way to a permanent home at the Neon Museum Boneyard in downtown Las Vegas. It will be moved in six pieces and take five days for reconstruction. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Hard Rock Cafe guitar sign moves to Neon Museum Boneyard
The famous and newly restored, Hard Rock Cafe guitar sign has been moved to its permanent home at the Neon Museum Boneyard in downtown Las Vegas. It will be moved in six pieces and take five days for reconstruction. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Hard Rock Cafe guitar sign moves to new Las Vegas home
The famous and newly restored Hard Rock Cafe guitar sign has moved to a permanent home at the Neon Museum Boneyard in downtown Las Vegas. It will be moved in six pieces and take five days for reconstruction. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas band Otherwise release song and video in tribute to slain cousin
Adrian and Ryan Patrick, brothers in the band Otherwise with drummer Brian Medeiros, talk about the release of a tribute song to their deceased cousin Ivan. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @rookie__rae
Artist Joshua Vides created a "White Wedding" chapel for Billy Idol's Las Vegas residency
Artist Joshua Vides created a "White Wedding" chapel for Billy Idol's Vegas residency (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Try the Burning History cocktail at Zuma In Las Vegas
Try the Burning History cocktail at Zuma In Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES final night showcases Drake at XS Nightclub
Drake performed for CES attendees and club-goers at XS Nightclub in Encore at Wynn Las Vegas in the early morning hours of Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. (John Katsilometes Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES Happy Hour party at Hangover Suite at Caesars Palace
Conventioneers mingled during the Hardware Massive CES 2019 Happy Hour Bash at The Hangover Suite at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
CES 2019 Has A Cordless Hair Dryer
CES Has A Cordless Hair Dryer (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES Opening Party in Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace
CES conventioneers packed Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace, and let loose as they danced to DJs into the night. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Print intricate designs, your pet or your face on your nails
Print intricate designs, your pet or your face on your nails (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
ad-high_impact_4
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing