No Doubt Brings Rock Steady Vibes to Invigorating Coachella 2024 Set

“I didn’t think this was really going to happen, did you?” shouted Gwen Stefani halfway through “Hella Good,” the opening song from No Doubt during their reunion set at Coachella 2024.

Indeed, it’s been 12 years since the SoCal quartet reunited for their last album “Push and Shove,” and they last performed together in 2015. (Stefani pointed this out numerous times throughout their Coachella set.) In the time since, Stefani has become something of a cult personality and evergreen TV presence as a judge on “The Voice,” releasing a handful of one-off singles as a reminder that, yes, she is still a singer first and foremost, even if her glory days as No Doubt’s frontwoman and a solo juggernaut in the 2000s are far behind her.

Perhaps, then, No Doubt’s reunion at Coachella served as a worthy reassurance — or a colorful, energetic statement — that there are no signs of rust more than 30 years after they debuted with their 1992 eponymous album. The band, consisting of Stefani, bassist Tony Kanal, guitarist Tom Dumont and drummer Adrian Young, played an 80-minute set filled with vigor and spark, as if they were still the spunky teenagers that were shown in vintage footage on the screens behind them.

It would have been an easy out for No Doubt to come across as one of the de facto nostalgia acts of the weekend. And in some ways, on the lineup, they were, gracing the same main stage that Sabrina Carpenter and Lil Uzi Vert had touched the day prior. But it’s a testament to the chemistry they’ve had since their formation and subsequent mainstream ascent that they can still harness that same energy with conviction, especially for a band whose members are all in their mid-50s.

Of course, it helps that Stefani is such a magnetic and charismatic frontwoman. Her tone was almost entirely perfect throughout and she didn’t waste a single breath, even when she was ska dancing across from Kanal or bounding across the stage to rouse the crowd. But it was the way the band members were so in tune with one another, almost a decade after putting the group on ice, that gave the songs renewed life, whether it was with a callback to their early days on “Total Hate ’95” or the fiery “Hella Good,” which opened the performance.

The group, which formed in Anaheim, California in 1986, embraced its ska aesthetic, right down to the dance moves, horns and fashion choices. Plaid was splashed everywhere across the stage, from Stefani’s black-and-red boots to Young’s kilt. They paraded through hits, including “Ex-Girlfriend,” “It’s My Life,” “Hey Baby” and “Don’t Speak,” peppering in a few deeper cuts like “Different People” and “Happy Now?” (It was curious, though, that they didn’t play a single song from “Push and Shove”).

Stefani herself seemed surprised that so many attendees decided to watch their set. After all, for the Gen-Zers on the festival grounds, No Doubt is probably the band that their parents grew up on. But No Doubt came across as relevant and fresh. Even when Olivia Rodrigo came out to duet with the band halfway through the set on “Bathwater,” it didn’t come across as a bid to win over the audience; that part had already been accomplished.

That’s likely because No Doubt was just having fun and they didn’t make it seem like work. (Particularly when Stefani got on the ground and did 10 push-ups before “Just a Girl.”) “I was putting my makeup on and I was just thinking, is this actually happening right now?” she said before launching into the feminist anthem, which recently had a resurgence on TikTok. “Because we’re absolutely in the future right now with you guys. and I want to do this next song with the band here, with No Doubt. We wrote this song back at the Beacon Street house in Anaheim, California, and I feel like… You tell me, but I feel like this song could possibly be more relevant now than it’s ever been. You tell me.”

No Doubt’s relevance has been dormant for some time, but it was hard not to feel like this was a triumphant return to form. It wouldn’t be surprising if their Coachella performance was a testing ground for a massive tour to come. If the roars from the crowd and the participation during the call-and-responses were any indication, then they may just have another chapter to write in their future.

No Doubt’s Coachella Setlist:

“Hella Good”
“Sunday Morning”
“It’s My Life”
“Different People”
“Hey Baby”
“Total Hate ’95”
“Bathwater” with Olivia Rodrigo
“Simple Kind of Life”
“Underneath It All”
“Happy Now?”
“Just a Girl”
“Don’t Speak”

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