Review: Shania's better 'Now' than ever
The London Free Press
By Joe Belanger
July 3, 2018
Shania Twain is back, Now.
The 52-year-old singer-songwriter from Timmins who climbed the musical charts to become known as the Queen of Country Pop brought it all to London’s Budweiser Gardens and more.
Twain is touring in support of her new album, Now, which has spawned several singles to date, including her opening number, Life’s About To Get Good.
But before delivering a note, the diminutive star walked through the entire arena to be greeted by adoring fans, climbed on the stage and started singing.
Dressed in a floor-length black sequined gown and several inches taller on platform shoes, Twain kept the moves to a minimum and sang, clearly enjoying herself and the crowd.
There were six back-up singer/dancers on stage and a very talented band hidden by large blocks illuminated by patterns such polka dots and leopard markings, the blocks rising and lowering at times to reveal the band.
The five-time Grammy winner wasted no time winning the crowd as she launched into Come On Over, reminding all of the 1997 mega-album that catapulted Twain into stardom, the biggest selling album by a female ever.
“I don’t know how many of you know this, but I’m from Timmins Ontario,” said Twain in a teasing tone.
“And look how far I’ve come . . . to London Ontario!”
It was a fun night with a folksy feel to it and Twain’s vocals were mostly strong, although they seemed a bit challenged at times, or just lost behind the music.
She played a handful of songs from her new album with the rest a selection of mega-hits from the last 20 years, as well as a medley of videos of songs, all hits, that led up to her live performance of From This Moment On.
Now is Twain’s fifth studio album, her first in 15 years, but it’s clear she’s lost nothing when it comes to writing and performing.
Having sold well over 100 million albums over her career, Now topped the charts when it was released after more than a year of anticipation. She played Poor Me, I’m Alright, Life’s About To Get
Good and an interesting tribute to the military, Soldiers, that opened with a gorgeous piano solo by one of the talented musicians, who also played fiddle, horn and bass. The drummer was also a treat, performing a solo during a costume change that was combined with kiss cam.
During Soldier, Twain climbed onto a swing and was carried the length of the arena to another stage where she was handed a guitar and played You’re Still The One.
When she returned to the main stage, she put her arm around a woman (Lacey from Woodstock) in the crowd and said, “Why don’t you come with me.”
They walked to the stage together for a selfie.
It’s been a difficult 15 years for the Queen of Country Pop, as she’s called, first having gone through a nasty divorce with producer husband Mutt Lang in 2008 after it was disclosed he had an affair with Twain’s best friend, Marie-Anne Thiébaud. A year after the divorce, Twain remarried to Thiébaud’s husband, Swiss Nestlé executive Frédéric Thiébaud.
She also suffered serious health issues including a severely weakened singing voice caused by Lyme disease and dysphonia, forcing her to retire from performing. But she recovered has been performing off and on for the last decade.
The night’s opening act was Bastian Baker from Twain’s adopted home of Switzerland, a fine singer and competent guitarist who delivered a solid six-song set and then joined Twain on stage towards the end of the show, including a duet, Party For Two.
One of her last numbers was the single off Now, Swingin’ With My Eyes Closed, a fabulous tune the audience cheering and applauding, confirming the star still has the writing chops.
Twain’s costume changes were many, often into another spectacular full-length gown, although her change into a sheer gown with studded leather jacket for Honey, I’m Home was priceless.
If you go:
What: Shania Twain Now Tour with special guest Bastian Baker.
When: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Budweiser Gardens, 99 Dundas St.
Tickets: For ticket prices and availability visit the box office, go online at budweisergardens.com or call 1-866-455-2849.