Concert review: Shania Twain show full of fun, spectacle and the Phoenix Suns gorilla
By Ed Masley
July 31, 2018
Shania Twain kicked off Monday's show at Talking Stick Resort Arena with a musical promise that life was about to get good after making her entrance from the back of the arena.
And by the time she brought the Phoenix Suns Gorilla out to join her after soaring high above the crowd on a swing made to look like an open guitar case on her biggest hit, "You're Still the One," she'd definitely gone the extra mile to make good on that promise.
The set list touched on nearly all the singles that continue to define her as the biggest-selling female artist in the history of country music, from the song that sent her on her way, "Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?" to "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!," which she wisely held off for the one-song encore.
There was even a video montage of hits she didn't get to, including "The Woman in Me" "You Win My Love" and "Don't."
She also shared several songs from last year's "Now," her first release in 15 years, in the course of a nearly two-hour performance that offset Vegas glitz and hi-tech spectacle with bittersweet emotion.
It's been nearly three years since the singer said her last goodbyes on a farewell tour that clearly didn't stick and she made several references at Monday's show that seemed to indicate that this could be the real goodbye.
She also talked about her music a the "upside to experiencing difficult things" in her life.
"I get to put all of that into music," she said. "I've often not shared a lot of that music with you guys in past years, but on this current album, I decided that it was much more therapeutic not only just for me but for everybody out there to understand that, you know, when you do have a low, you're not the only one, you're not alone and you can get through it."
This was all by way of introducing "Poor Me," a song from "Now" that Twain said has become her favorite "pity-party song that I've ever written," reminding her fans "You're allowed to be down every once in a while."
Despite the therapeutic nature of the new material, inspired by the breakdown of her marriage to Robert John "Mutt" Lange, the man who produced all her hits, and the medical issues that damaged her vocal cords and demanded a lengthy hiatus, she never went too deep into the pity party.
The prevailing mood was much closer in spirit to the chorus of another song on "Now": "More fun is what we need."
That's the song she performed after sharing the stage with the Phoenix Suns Gorilla.
The stage show
The stage show was state of the art, from the flying guitar case to the use of large video cubes, which dominated the stage and were constantly reconfigured as she moved from song to song, providing an ever-changing backdrop for the "wild and crazy" night the singer promised after "Come On Over."
At times, the cubes all came together as one massive screen with Twain, her backing musicians or her dancing backup singers performing on top.
There were plenty of costume changes, from the shimmering gown with a mile-high slit that she wore on the opening song to the top hat and coat from the "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!" video.
And when Twain disappeared through a trap door after the "sexy grooving music," as she called it, of "Let's Kiss and Make Up," the spotlight shifted to drummer Elijah Wood, who managed to earn the most enthusiastic reaction I've seen to a drum solo since Rush's final tour.
She invited a mother and daughter on stage to talk about what brought them to the show together in one of the concert's sweetest moments.
Bastian Baker, who opened the set with a solo acoustic performance, returned to the stage to join the star on "Party for Two" and "Swingin' With My Eyes Closed" before Twain brought the set to a crowd-pleasing climax with "(If You're Not in Love) I'm Outta Here!"
And with that, she was outta there, returning for a one-song encore that ended in a shower of confetti.
"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 (with Bastian Baker)"
"Swingin' With My Eyes Closed (with Bastian Baker)"
"(If You're Not in It for Love) I'm Outta Here!"
"Man! I Feel Like a Woman!"