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Shelton plays the host to perfection Arena, Los Angeles, February 11, 2022

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

If you enjoy Blake Shelton's casual, lighthearted demeaner on The Voice, you'll likely also enjoy his concerts. Shelton headlined the country-ish portion of the three-night Super Bowl Music Fest 2022, on a bill that also included opener Mickey Guyton and Gwen Stefani (who just happens to be Shelton's wife).

Shelton told the audience early on that he was here for two reasons: to play country music and drink. He then engaged in both of these activities, sipping from an adult beverage between nearly every song. By the time Shelton hit the stage, which was nearly 11, he and the audience had already downed a few, so everyone was in party mode. And Shelton certainly brought the party tonight.

Shelton kids so much that it's sometimes easy to forget how he's also one fine country singer. He sounded strong on hits like "Honey Bee" and "Sangria." He also has a bevy of memorable songs to choose from, so there wasn't any lull during the set. He brought Stefani to the stage early on to duet on "Nobody But You" and "Happy Anywhere." He joked that Stefani normally appears later in his show, but because she was planning on drinking tequila, she had to finish her performance requirements first.

Shelton had his 'phone lights up' moment with "Home," but it was a rare serious moment. His setlist was frontloaded, instead, with fun country songs, like "Hillbilly Bone" and "Hell Right." Shelton played the jovial host to perfection, and it was nearly impossible to find any fault with his show tonight.

Stefani preceded her spouse with a collection of songs that drew upon rock, rap, reggae and dance elements. She and her dancers came on dressed in striped outfits. However, she never mentioned if these tiger-like costumes were meant to express her affinity for the Bengals, set to appear in the 2022 Super Bowl. Stefani had a few wardrobe malfunctions, but these weren't of the embarrassing Janet Jackson variety. Nevertheless, two of her assistants had to come out and fix her black and yellow get-up before she could continue performing.

Stefani sang plenty of No Doubt (the band she fronted previously) songs, including the dance-y "Spiderwebs" and the tender ballad, "Don't Speak." With her backing dancers, Stefani's set was Las Vegas-ready show-biz-y. However, all the girls (and women who were reminded of their girlhood) sang and danced along enthusiastically.

Although there wasn't much sonic difference between Guyton's music and Stefani's, she did perform one really fine country song, "Smoke." Guyton, as a Black female country singer, has a high profile right now. One just wishes she'd sing country-er songs.

Many in the audience were wearing Rams gear, as this year's Super Bowl is a home game or sorts for the Los Angeles team. If their team is as good Sunday as Blake Shelton was tonight, this could turn out to be quite the memorable and fulfilling weekend.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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