Strutting in shimmering black combat boots to the beat of “The Sweet Escape” with her platinum blonde high ponytail, Gwen Stefani kicked off a show of her greatest hits to thousands of fans at the Iowa Speedway in Newton.
Stefani – who got her start in the early 90s as the lead singer of No Doubt before embarking on a solo career – warmed up the crowd with No Doubt hits ‘Sunday Morning’, ‘Underneath It All’ and “Bathwater”. ”
Performing at 12:10 p.m. Sunday afternoon ahead of the Hy-Vee Salute to Farmers 300 presented by Google, part of Hy-Vee IndyCar Race Weekend, Stefani addressed the crowd directly, urging fans to jump and congratulating fans who dressed up like her.
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“I love you guys, I love you,” Stefani happily shouted.
Flanked by her band and six backup dancers, Stefani sang “It’s My Life” and “Rich Girl” before teasing the behavior of the crowd.
“I like you,” Stefani shouted. “A bit awkward at first, I admit, but you’re getting better. You are so cute.
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Stefani’s latest stop in Iowa came during a surprise appearance at last year’s Iowa State Fair with her husband, the country music star and “The Voice” trainer. Blake Shelton, whose show continues after the race on Sunday night.
The couple celebrated their first wedding anniversary on July 3 this year.
“Some of these songs are actually painful for me to sing, revisiting the horrors of my love life,” Stefani confessed before performing “Ex-Girlfriend.” “I hate this song.”
Addressing fans in the stands waiting for the IndyCar race, Stefani asked the crowd to get up to jump and enjoy the music.
Stefani neared the end of her hour-long set with “Don’t Speak,” “Hey Baby” and “Spiderwebs” before throwing a shirt over her face for some relief from the 80-degree heat on the speedway .
“I feel like this will be my first tan in 20 years,” Stefani said earlier in the set. “You’re witnessing it right now. I don’t like tanning very much, so you’re welcome.”
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Stefani’s penultimate song was “I’m Just a Girl”, a song she said she wrote at her parents’ house when she “didn’t know who she was”.
“That’s just how I felt and now I feel like all these years later, it’s more relevant than ever,” Stefani said.
“Hollaback Girl” ended the set with the crowd singing the song’s iconic lyrics to Stefani and spelling out the word “bananas.”
“You’re welcome for getting ready and all sweaty for Blake Shelton,” Stefani said before leaving the stage. “That’s how he likes it.”
What else happened before the IndyCar race started?
Shortly after Stefani left the stage, Gov. Kim Reynolds, Hy-Vee CEO Randy Edeker and actor Mark Wahlberg – who is co-owner of Hy-Vee partner Wahlburgers burger chain – addressed to the crowd before the race.
Clarksville native Maddie Poppe, winner of 2018’s “American Idol” Season 16, performed “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Wahlberg served as the grand marshal of the race, giving the traditional order to the drivers to start their cars.
Hannah Rodriguez covers retail for the Des Moines Register. Contact her at email@example.com or on Twitter @byherodriguez.