Review: Gwen Stefani at Jones Beach Theater

There’s a few things you need to understand about Gwen Stefani and she’s very good at making sure you don’t miss them. She’s sexy as fuck. And she’s got a voice, as well as a body, that will not quit. She has a solid work ethic, a rigorous physical regimen, an amazing band, and a sincere appreciation for the support of her audience. Also, horns really lift a live band up a notch. But all of these things obscure the most important part of her appeal: Gwen Stefani is a hell of a songwriter.

Like Dylan and Lennon, she writes painfully personal lyrics that somehow turn universal in the ears of her listeners. 

I was fine before I met you
I was broken but fine
I was lost and uncertain
But my heart was still mine
I was free before I met you
I was broken but free
All alone in the clear view, but now you are all I see – From Make Me Like You

I don’t know why I cry
But I think it’s cause I remembered for the first time
Since I hated you
That I used to love you – From Used To Love You

Thursday night at Jones Beach she played a selection of songs from her new album, This Is What The Truth Feels Like, as well as tunes from her two other solo albums and her work with No Doubt. She opened the show with Red Flag from the new album and followed it with Wind It Up from The Sweet Escape including not only Richard Rodgers Lonely Goatherd sample but also the mountains from The Sound of Music in the background.

It was the final night of the Republican Burn-The-Witch Convention and there was a palpable feminine energy in the air, especially when opening act Eve joined her onstage for a couple of songs. Just as Obama’s presidency has dredged up decades of submerged racism in this country, all the sexism and misogyny bubbling under America’s lid is set to boil over with Hillary Clinton’s election in November. Listening to the young woman next to me singing along with I’m Just A Girl gave me hope that it’s going to be OK.

This shit is bananas

Take this pink ribbon off my eyes
I’m exposed
And it’s no big surprise
Don’t you think I know
Exactly where I stand
This world is forcing me
To hold your hand

‘Cause I’m just a girl, little ol’ me
Well don’t let me out of your sight
Oh, I’m just a girl, all pretty and petite
So don’t let me have any rights
Oh, I’ve had it up to here!

The moment that I step outside
So many reasons
For me to run and hide
I can’t do the little things
I hold so dear
‘Cause it’s all those little things
That I fear

‘Cause I’m just a girl
I’d rather not be
‘Cause they won’t let me drive late at night
Oh I’m just a girl
Guess I’m some kind of freak
‘Cause they all sit and stare
With their eyes

Oh I’m just a girl
Take a good look at me
Just your typical prototype
Oh, I’ve had it up to here!

Oh, am I making myself clear?
I’m just a girl
I’m just a girl in the world
That’s all that you’ll let me be!

Oh I’m just a girl, living in captivity
Your rule of thumb
Make me worry some
Oh I’m just a girl, what’s my destiny?
What I’ve succumbed to
Is making me numb

Oh I’m just a girl, my apologies
What I’ve become is so burdensome
Oh I’m just a girl, lucky me
Tweedle-dum there’s no comparison

Oh, I’ve had it up to!
Oh, I’ve had it up to!!
Oh, I’ve had it up to here

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