Gwen Stefani has a pair of complaints about her last solo tour: One, she didn't feel she had as much material to showcase as she did with No Doubt; and two, she was pregnant.
"I was about four and a half months pregnant, which was totally not a good idea," Stefani said. "I highly recommend not getting pregnant and going on tour! So if you're thinking about going on tour, do not get pregnant" (see "Gwen Stefani Confirms Pregnancy While Onstage In Florida").
With no impending morning sickness or mood swings, the singer can't wait to start her 40-city Sweet Escape tour "It's so much fun to create a whole world," she explained. "But last time, it was, 'Here's the record, here's the show, what more can we do?' This time will be more fun. And I love the idea of being able to go into my theatrical side with [son] Kingston on the outside instead of on the inside. It was such a weird experience."
Plus, this time she has more of a body of work to showcase, with two solo albums to pull from (see "Baby On Board! Gwen Stefani's Son Joins Her On LP, Spring Tour").
"It makes it all very real for me to hear and see the people singing the songs back to me," Stefani said, explaining part of touring's appeal. "Otherwise, none of it seems real. You hear the song on the radio, and it's really exciting, but when you see people — they bought the record, they know the songs — you see yourself in them, in the crowd. It kind of makes it all worth it, so I have to go on tour."
Stefani also uses her solo treks as a way to experiment with things she would be less likely to try on a No Doubt tour. "I have, like, nine costume changes," she revealed. "It's kind of me indulging my theatrical side a little bit that I don't really get to do with No Doubt, so the show is a lot sweeter. It's basically a big show. It's going to be spectacular."
Opening the tour will be "two original artists that I have so much respect for": Lady Sovereign and Akon, the latter of whom is featured on the album's title track and current single. "He's a very, very cool guy," Stefani enthused. "He's just so familiar to me. When I first met him, within the first five minutes, I felt like he was somebody I had known a long time. It was very magical."
Tickets for the North American leg of The Sweet Escape tour — which kicks off April 22 and wraps on June 23 — go on sale February 10. Tour dates for Central America, South America, Australia, Asia and Europe have not yet been announced.
Gwen Stefani tour dates, according to her record label:
· 4/22 - Chula Vista, CA @ Coors Amphitheatre (Akon only)
· 4/24 - Fresno, CA @ Save Mart Center (Akon only)
· 4/25 - Bakersfield, CA @ Rabobank Arena (Akon only)
· 4/27 - Universal City, CA @ Gibson Amphitheatre (Lady Sovereign only)
· 4/28 - Phoenix, AZ @ Cricket Pavilion
· 4/30 - West Valley City, UT @ The E Center
· 5/2 - Denver, CO @ Pepsi Center
· 5/3 - Albuquerque, NM @ Journal Pavilion
· 5/5 - Dallas, TX @ Smirnoff Music Centre
· 5/6 - The Woodlands, TX @ The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
· 5/8 - Tampa, FL @ Ford Amphitheatre at State Fairgrounds
· 5/9 - West Palm Beach, FL @ Sound Advice Amphitheatre
· 5/11 - Atlanta, GA @ HiFi Buys Amphitheatre
· 5/12 - Charlotte, NC @ Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre Charlotte
· 5/14 - Raleigh, NC @ Alltel Pavilion at Walnut Creek
· 5/15 - Virginia Beach, VA @ Verizon Wireless Virginia Beach
· 5/17 - Bristow, VA @ Nissan Pavilion
· 5/18 - Holmdel, NJ @ PNC Bank Arts Center
· 5/20 - Wantagh, NY @ Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
· 5/21 - Uncasville, CT @ Mohegan Sun
· 5/23 - Mansfield, MA @ Tweeter Center
· 5/24 - Camden, NJ @ Tweeter Center at the Waterfront
· 5/27 - Atlantic City, NJ @ Borgata Hotel Casino (Lady Sovereign only)
· 5/29 - Montreal, QC @ Bell Centre
· 5/30 - Toronto, ON @ Air Canada Centre
· 6/1 - Auburn Hills, MI @ Palace of Auburn Hills
· 6/2 - Noblesville, IN @ Verizon Wireless Music Center
· 6/4 - Omaha, NE @ Qwest Center Omaha
· 6/5 - St. Paul, MN @ Xcel Energy Center
· 6/7 - Milwaukee, WI @ Bradley Center
· 6/8 - Tinley Park, IL @ First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
· 6/10 - Winnipeg, MB @ MTS Centre
· 6/12 - Edmonton, AB @ Rexall Place
· 6/13 - Calgary, AB @ Pengrowth Saddledome
· 6/15 - Vancouver, BC @ General Motors Place
· 6/16 - Auburn, WA @ White River Amphitheatre
· 6/18 - Marysville, CA @ Sleep Train Amphitheatre
· 6/19 - Mountain View, CA @ Shoreline Amphitheatre
· 6/22-23 - Irvine, CA @ Verizon Wireless Amphitheater