Still the One! Shania’s Back to Rock This Country
Photo credit: Renée Doiron
“This has been my dream since I was 3-years old,” squealed one of the Shania Twain triplets that had just been pulled on stage by the real reigning queen of country herself. Standing alongside her were two friends, all three bedecked in outfits from Twain’s videos, all three of them also wearing looks of disbelief.
Twain, having just soared above the crowd amidst the twinkle of cell phone stars while cooing “You’re Still the One” atop a guitar case swing, spotted the look-alike trio and couldn’t resist a reunion of sorts with her past selves.
“It’s like looking into a mirror but the mirror is from 20 years ago,” the singer said with a chuckle before some hugs and selfies. “I mean, this is bringing back some wonderful memories but look at that flat stomach!”
This was but one highlight in a highlight reel of a show that started with the Instagramable moments right out of the gate. Twain, always one for a grand entrance (remember that team of sled dogs pulling her through a blizzard at the Grey Cup?), descended from the upper levels of the Canadian Tire Centre in a glistening gown looking like she was off to the ball and not a country rock pop concert extravaganza.
“It’s really great to be back home in Canada. I started in small town Canada and there were a lot of ups and downs on my way to the top,” said Twain as the stage set lifted her skyward. “From where I’m standing there’s no way but up from here!”
Ups and downs was really the theme of the night, and I’m not just talking about the mammoth set pieces that shifted and stacked like building blocks throughout the night, the elevator lowering the singer through the smoke, and that previously mentioned swing. Though you couldn’t tell on this night, there was a moment where Twain questioned whether or not she’d ever sing again after battling Lyme disease and a bitter divorce. After starting the show with three tunes featuring the usual fare you’d expect from a Shania show –glorious outfits, amazing choreography and tunes that blur the borders between a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll—Twain opened up to the audience about her decade of peaks and valleys.
“Everything that goes up must come down,” relayed Twain in her intro to new song “Poor Me”. “This song has been a very therapeutic one that I’ve relied on more or less just to vent a lot of my emotional stuff. I think that through all the negative in our life something good always comes out of it. We learn a lesson or we just come to realization that we have to have crappy moments to appreciate the good ones.”
Twain didn’t dwell too long in the struggles of the last 15 years, however. Her comeback album’s title tells you that she’s living in the Now. This party wasn’t going to be filled with pity, especially with a collection of balloons stage side and two confetti blasters set up in the arena. As she sang, yeah, “Life’s About to Get Good.”
While known for her mesh of genres that helped coin the phrase “new country”, she can squeeze out some Twain twang when the tune calls for it. I mean, she’s not the best-selling female country musician for nothing, you know? Sporting outfit number three of what would be eight –this one a black leather jacket, dress and cowboy hat– the mid-set kicked up some boot scoot boogie in a honky-tonk bar setting for “Any Man of Mine” and “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under”.
For two hours, Twain belted out the hits like these showing that she still has the chops (most evident on the powerful crescendo to “From This Moment On”) and the moves, even if it means doing a rollback to get one just right. During the crowd pleaser “That Don’t Impress Me Much”, she hurried up a flight of steps to jump into the arms of one of her male dancers. Admittedly out of breath from the jaunt, she called for a redo and nailed it with a delight scream.
All smiles, Twain was obviously happy to be back in the saddle, jamming everything she had into one hell of a show that brought a little of that Vegas strip spectacular to O-town. You had lasers, dizzying heights, holographic dancers, those cherry-red boots ready to shimmy, shake, make an earthquake and, oh yes, there was a whole lotta’ confetti.
Shania may have gone through the ringer in recent years but she’s a survivor that’s come out the other side with more spunk, freedom, and grace. After a show like this there can be little doubt that the Queen of Country has reclaimed her crown.
Life’s About to Get Good
Come on Over
Don’t Be Stupid (You Know I Love You)
That Don’t Impress Me Much
Let’s Kiss and Make Up
Any Man of Mine
Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?
Honey, I’m Home
You’re Still the One
From This Moment On
I’m Gonna Getcha Good!
Party for Two
Swingin’ With My Eyes Closed
(If You’re Not in It for Love) I’m Outta Here!
Man! I Feel Like a Woman!
Rock This Country