After 6 months of waiting (yes, I bought the tickets as soon as it came out- and yet I still had less than ideal seats....) I FINALLY went to see the Gwen Stefani Sweet Escape concert a few weeks ago in Chicago. I was SOOOO looking forward to it, because after seeing the Cold Play and Maroon 5 concert- which were good but not really as exhilarating as I'd imagined, I decided that I most wanted to see Gwen Stefani because I love her and her music. Plus then at least I'd know and like most of her songs and from all her music videos, she seemed like a good performer. That turned out to be an understatement because Gwen is a BRILLIANT performer and the whole concert was just AWESOME.
First of all, the location was great. Even though we had to drive about 1.5 hours away from the city to get there and it was literally in the middle of nowhere (and I am not a fan of the middle of nowhere), going to a concert at the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre was an experience in itself. I've probably just not been to my share of concerts, but the experience of being in a open stadium listening to a concert with 20,000 other excited people expanding far behind on the green lawn on such a beautiful spring night was just overwhelmingly brilliant.
Shopping wise, I must say, they had a pretty good selection. Tank tops, many really cute printed tees, posters, badges, beanies, scarves, dolls, toys and such. But what I was REALLY looking for, was a black cap that says "The Sweet Escape 2007" on in swirly handwriting with a small squigle of Gwen's signature on the corner in silver or black (this is purely from a figment of my imagination, but I think that it SHOULD exist!). I'm confident that I'd at least wear it once or twice. Whereas if I got a tshirt, it would end up rotting in my wardrobe (like my Corrs tank top) and me never wanting to ruin it by wearing it. So in the end, I got a booklet (above) on the show, and in the end I think that was a good investment.
We had seats at towards the center on the second pavilion (I don't understand why I couldn't buy tickets in the first pavilion when I started booking tickets the day it was out....) and had an ok view of the stage. The opening act of the opening act was Lady Sovereign, which I've kind of heard of. But not exactly my type of music.
Half an hour later, the actual opening act comes out- AKON! Personally I don't really know much of Akon's songs besides Lonely, but it was a brilliant opening act. He really got the crowd going and he has inspired me to listen to his music some more. Another half an hour to an hour later (I never understand why they make you wait), Gwen FINALLY comes out in a golden cage that pops onto stage, singing the Sweet Escape and we all go wild. And the BEST thing I love about her is that she sang music from her last cd (which I liked better) too. She danced, she sang, there were matching themes according to her songs. (sidenote: don't you just love how the stage setting improves as you get along towards the "main" course?).Like when she sang Yummy, she changed into this apron outfit (right) along with her dancers and the background screen showed multicolored candies dancing around. And I think there were even a treadmill and two mini trampolines on the stage to help with some of the excellently chereographed and executed dance moves. Definitely a great performer.
Costume wise, there were some that really only Gwen can carry off. Like this kimino wrap thing...what IS it? From afar, it looked like a short pink bubble dress, but from the book......I have no idea. And the whole showing the midriff thing, I hope that remains in the 90s. But this whole thing made me realise the place for overdramatized clothes. Like this simple blue/white striped shirt for example. From afar it looked like a simple shirt with a slight twinkle, but on a closer look, it is actually made of sparkly blue/white sequins. The sequins really made her stand out from afar.
My favourite outfits in the whole show were these two. I love the preppy yet edgy look she has here. I am totally going to look into those prints next fall. Her long trench coats were just SOOOO pretty. I think towards the end at the encore, there was this other similar coat that was just as amazing. I bet these are all available from LAMB as part of her smart marketing technique. And her SHOES. Even from afar I could tell they were sexy gorgeous shoes
At one point, she even ran off stage and into the audience. Luckily we were on the right side of the pavilion, because she ran to our side and stopped just 3 meters away from us and started to sing, Cool (love that song)!!!! We were all kicking ourselves for not buying tickets a few rows backer! And WOW she has amazing abs for a mother (or anyone!). Its hard to remember that she looks pretty with all the make-up and costume thing Gwen wears all the time on her MV's.
So in case you haven't gotten the message yet, it was an AMAZING SHOW. I loved it sooooo much, that just writing about it now makes me excited all over again :D Even my friend who doesn't even like Gwen Stefani thought it was an awesome show. Sigh.... it was the one concert that left me happy and smiling for at least a weekend after. The PERFECT end to my school year :)
ps. Sorry, my scanner broke and I had to use my camera....