Shania Twain returns to say goodbye

Fort Worth Star-Telegram
By Preston Jones
August 5, 2015

Shania Twain

7:30 p.m. Monday

American Airlines Center, Dallas


The last time Shania Twain toured the country, way back in 2003, she dominated the music industry, earning the title “queen of country pop.”

The Canadian native was just a couple years removed from winning three Grammys, and on her way to selling 85 million albums worldwide, making her the best-selling female artist in country music history.

Then, in 2004, Twain released her greatest hits album, and disappeared to Switzerland for the better part of the decade.

Her personal life disintegrated: Twain divorced producer Mutt Lange in 2010, amid allegations of his infidelity, and remarried the following year.

If that turmoil wasn’t enough, Twain suffered a professional scare, with a diagnosis of lesions on her vocal cords. Through it all, Twain worked, fitfully, on the as-yet-unreleased follow-up to her last studio album, 2002’s Up!

But her public hiatus has fully ended after a successful two-year stint with a residency that began in 2012 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, as Twain has mounted “Rock This Country,” her first American tour in 11 years.

The success of that residency — “Shania: Still the One” reportedly grossed more than $40 million — and reconnecting with her passionate fans inspired Twain to return to the road.

“During the last part of the two-year period in Vegas, I realized I missed being out on the touring stage,” Twain told reporters during a May teleconference. “So I thought it would be fun to go out and visit [fans] in their own hometowns and enjoy that experience and atmosphere again.”

Twain will perform at Dallas’ American Airlines Center Monday, in her first North Texas appearance in 12 years.

“It’s a very exciting time for me,” Twain said. “A lot has happened over the last decade — in my life and [fans’] lives. Music is bringing us back together; we’re going to celebrate and reminisce with all the hits they know and have lived with all these years.”

The 49-year-old Twain (who turns 50 Aug. 28) has been up front about this current tour, which is scheduled to travel to Europe next summer, as being her final, large-scale outing.

“I will be doing music I'm sure until the day I die,” Twain said in May. “I love music too much. ... The time is right now to do other things. I want to write more; I miss making records. I haven’t made enough records in my life and my career. I’ve done a lot more live performance than recording. I just see it as an evolution in my career, really.”

While she freely discusses evolution and a desire to record more, Twain says set lists won’t feature too much, if any, new material. Twain is aiming to release a new record some time in the next year, but she’s keeping her “Rock This Country” shows focused squarely on the hits that catapulted her to superstardom.

“It’s difficult to know when the new album will be ready,” Twain said. “I don’t want to bore people either. I know when I go to concerts, I want to hear the songs I already know. If it’s close enough to when I want to release something, I may work in one or two [new songs].”

For all that’s different since Twain’s last trip through town — pre-YouTube; pre-iPhone — one unchanged aspect of the music industry is the insistence on boxing artists into specific genres. Twain was widely praised as a crossover artist, beginning as a notionally country act which also enjoyed staggering success on the pop charts.

“Ever since I started listening to radio as a small child, the genres have gone in every possible direction I could ever have imagined,” Twain said. “I think [genre is] a moving target and I enjoy that ... I never felt it was necessary to box things in. I never saw myself as any one thing, or labeled myself specifically. It was a pleasant surprise when my music ended up being a cross-genre thing, [by] just being myself and it landing wherever people decided it landed.”

All that time and so much transition — Twain is largely untouched by it all. Her voice has the same sleek power it did when her songs were in inescapably heavy rotation in the early aughts, and her buoyant, country-pop songs have aged rather well — an argument could be made for Twain anticipating Nashville’s pivot toward the bright and shiny a full decade before it actually happened.

Regardless, Twain won’t be thinking about such heady things when she steps on stage in Dallas.

“This tour is really all about the classics,” Twain said in May. “The reason for the tour is to say goodbye to the stage on a high and with my friends, my fans.”