Shania Twain review: A country star is reborn

London Evening Standard
By Gemma Samways
October 3, 2018

4 out of 5 stars

“I wasn’t just broken, I was shattered,” was the opening line of Shania Twain’s first full London show since 2004.

Taken from her new song Life’s About To Get Good, the lyric references the emotional and physical trauma the country-music megastar has suffered this past decade, including betrayal, writer’s block and dysphonia, the vocal cord disorder that almost destroyed her career. Now back from the brink and boasting an earthier vocal timbre, Twain displayed the infectious Carpe Diem spirit of a survivor during the first of her two dates at the O2.

As excited as she was to forge forward with empowering material from her most recent album — 2017’s Now — Twain clearly took pleasure in embracing her past too. Donning a cowboy hat and sparkly red boots for the more traditional, fiddle-flecked hit Any Man Of Mine, she and her band performed line-dancing-inspired choreography.

Elsewhere, a thousand phones twinkled along to the gorgeous rendition of You’re Still The One, featuring Twain on guitar, stationed on a podium in the middle of the arena.

Songs from crossover smash Come On Over dominated, with sparkling versions of That Don’t Impress Me Much, Don’t Be Stupid et al transporting the audience straight back to the Nineties. Unfortunately, the show’s production values didn’t appear to extend much beyond that decade either, featuring some tacky set design, clunky choreography and an ill-advised segment featuring LED suits.

But these concerns were rendered insignificant, such was the calibre of songwriting and the feelgood power of Twain’s stage presence. Whether serenading a couple or chatting with the comedians Rob Beckett and Romesh Ranganathan in one particularly surreal segment, the Canadian singer-songwriter was radiant throughout. “This is what I do this for,” she exclaimed, admiring the rapt arena. It was a triumphant comeback.