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(photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Gwen Stefani is apparently not just a girl. She’s actually a massive enough superstar to fill the almighty Bono’s boots.
When U2 had to cancel their appearance at KROQ’s Almost Acoustic Christmas concert this year, due to serious injuries that U2 frontman Bono sustained in a Nov. 16 biking accident, the venerable Los Angeles radio station didn’t have to look any further than its own backyard to find a crowd-pleasing replacement — enlisting local heroes No Doubt to fill U2’s Dec. 14 headlining slot.
"It’s beyond flattering," a gushing Stefani told Yahoo Music before Sunday’s show. "It’s weird, too, because we toured with U2 back in the day and I know Bono quite well. He is, like, a real magical guy, and I can’t believe that happened to him. I feel bad about Bono and the guys; they just worked so hard on their record and they’re so excited, and then that happened. But he’s just so resilient. He’ll get better, and I’ll be praying for him. But yes, we were flattered to be asked [to headline the KROQ show], of course."
(photo: Lester Cohen/Getty Images)
This year’s KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas was, incredibly, the alt-rock station’s 25th, so it wasn’t surprising that the two-night bill was packed with what are known in the music business as “heritage acts.” Sunday’s lineup also boasted No Doubt’s ’90s peers Smashing Pumpkins (who unfortunately lost their audience by playing a set of mostly new and unfamiliar material) and Weezer, plus ’80s legends Tears for Fears (whose hits-packed set, which included a surprising cover of Radiohead’s “Creep,” was very enthusiastically received). Saturday featured Incubus, Linkin Park, System of a Down… and Bush, the band fronted by Stefani’s husband, Gavin Rossdale.
The fact that Stefani, who dedicated “Simple Kind of Life” on Sunday to her other half, got to share this year’s KROQ experience with Rossdale made the weekend especially nostalgic for her. “I met my husband at Acoustic Christmas [in 1995]! That was how I met him,” she told Yahoo Music with a giggle. “Now Gavin plays day one and I play day two. And then Weezer is there — and we once went on tour with them, too. So it’s a really weird flashback, like, ‘Whoa, how did all this time go by?’”
Added Stefani, incredulously: “I can’t believe that we’re able to still play at Acoustic Christmas. KROQ has been one of the biggest supporters of No Doubt, and beyond that, just growing up listening to that station, it’s been the backdrop of my life. So to have the honor of being called up, and to be able to play… it’s just weird!”
No Doubt ended their Acoustic Christmas set with an audience shout-along of the repeated message “GET WELL BONO,” just in case the missing-in-action U2 man was listening to the concert on KROQ or watching the live stream online.
Among the newer acts carrying on KROQ’s quarter-century tradition at the Almost Acoustic Christmas, held this past weekend at L.A.'s recently refurbished Forum, were New Politics, Walk the Moon, Royal Blood, Alt-J, Imagine Dragons, Interpol, and Vance Joy.