Verizon Wireless Music Center

Saturday, June 2

Saturday night at the Verizon Wireless Music Center was a night of many firsts. It was the first time I’d been in a sold-out crowd of 23,000 or more people that was comprised of roughly 20,000 females and maybe 3,000 males. It was the first time I’d ever stood and witnessed a tidal wave of mostly teenaged girls, half-dressed and screaming “Hollaback Girl.” It was the essence of girl power, and it is how I’d like to be ushered into heaven when I die.

It was also a testament to the diva-lization of Gwen Stefani. She has squarely stepped out from under the shadow of her former band, No Doubt, and put on a show that manages to combine Vegas with Orange County. Opening with a frenzy of glitzy production and costume changes worthy of Cher, Stefani shot out of the gate with two recent hits, “The Sweet Escape” and “Rich Girl.” Keeping the rest of the set even with a mix of ballads and dance-pop candy rock, Stefani gave the packed house a show that sent girls into a tizzy.

Often, she expressed her appreciation for the sell-out, proclaiming it “a big, big night for us.” Every time she did, the ear-splitting roar of fans brought a genuine smile to her face. Late in the set, surrounded by a bubble of huffing and puffing security guys, Stefani sprinted to the top of the pavilion and performed a song to the lawn. She displayed a loose confidence and a little playfulness to the women assembled.

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