Don’t worry about Shania, she’s back and she’s “alright”

Shania Twain's still the queen of country pop, writes Graham Rockingham

The Hamilton Spectator
By Graham Rockingham
July 1, 2018

There's no denying it. Shania Twain had a rough few years. Her husband-producer took up with her best friend, leading to a messy divorce.

Then there was that nasty bout with Lyme disease and almost losing her voice to a condition called dysphonia.

But the queen of country pop is back and Saturday night at Hamilton's FirstOntario Centre, Shania made it clear that she wasn't there to wallow in despair. She was there to confront it head on.

Shania's battle back from those sad years provided the inspiration for many of the songs on her new album "Now" – her first studio effort in 15 years – and Shania didn't hesitate to showcase them.

She opened her concert with "Life's About to Get Good, " a song that opens with the brutally honest "I wasn't just broken, I was shattered."

She then sprinkled six more of the new songs into her two-hour set, placing them among classic hits like "Come On Over," "Up," "Honey I'm Home" and "That Don't Impress Me Much."

Before singing "Poor Me," her new anthem to self-pity, Shania explained to the near-capacity audience that she made a conscious decision to pour her heart into the new material.

"I decided the new album would be more intimate and personal," she said. "This next song gives you a little bit of insight into the reality of being a human being."

But the theme of the night was expressed in "I'm Alright," a song Shania, 52, said she "wrote about the light at the end of the tunnel."

For the most part, the concert was a highly choreographed and upbeat affair, filled with multiple costume changes and a dazzling array of special effects.

Shania entered the arena from the mezzanine, walking down the stairs into the crowd and crossing the entire length of the floor, high-fiving her fans.

At one point she was hoisted on a swing shaped like a guitar case and floated over the crowd while singing "You're Still the One" with her fans.

Shania, 52, then paced the stage while a team of six dancers and backup singers pranced around her.

The true star of the show, however, was the stage itself, a spectacular piece of high-tech gadgetry dominated by five large boxes which seemed to be in constant movement — up, down, sideways and around, sometimes hiding the backing band and sometimes providing them with high-level platforms. Constantly changing video displays seemed to fill the entire rig.

When Shania finished her closing number "I'm Outta Here," the crowd's demand for an encore was deafening. There was never a doubt and Shania returned with another costume change for "Man! I Feel Like a Woman" and "Rock This Country."

We don't have to worry about Shania. She's more than "alright." She's still the queen of country pop.

Shania Twain

FirstOntario Centre, Hamilton 

Saturday, June 30

1. Life's About to Get Good

2. Come on Over

3. Up!

4. Poor Me

5. Don't Be Stupid

6. That Don't Impress Me Much

7. Let's Kiss and Make Up

8. Any Man of Mine

9. Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under

10. Honey, I'm Home

11. I'm Alright

12. Soldier

13. You're Still the One

14. More Fun

15. From This Moment On

16. I'm Gonna Getcha Good

17. Party For Two (with Bastian Baker)

18. Swingin' With My Eyes Closed

19. I'm Outta Here!

20. Man! I Feel Like a Woman!

21. Rock This Country