Shania Twain's farewell show proves she's still the one despite hiccups
By Brian Anthony Hernandez
August 21, 2015
LOS ANGELES — Before Carrie, before Miranda and before Taylor, we had Shania.
The '90s queen of country, who claimed that decade's title for best-selling album of any genre, reminded fans at her farewell tour stop on Thursday that she hasn't toured in 11 years and confessed her fears of returning, a fitting segue into "I Ain't No Quitter."
But the 49-year-old entertainer, exuding more energy at Staples Center than performers half her age on any given night at this venue, demonstrated why her reign isn't quite over.
A few hiccups, however, slightly derailed an otherwise impressive 19-song set.
A power glitch, caused by a nearby explosion, during "That Don't Impress Me Much" abruptly halted the show, with the animated leopards on the big screens disappearing and the stadium lights oddly turning on to expose Shania's stunned face.
Shania left the stage before returning minutes later, but when she restarted, her microphone malfunctioned, and she was forced to stop again. Only slightly upset, she filled time to regain her composure by giving a shoutout to a rocket scientist in the audience to coincide with the song's lyrics: "OK, so you're a rocket scientist — that don't impress me much."
Another moment didn't go according to plan. Shania brought an 8-year-old girl onstage and asked her what song she would like to sing. The girl awkwardly responded, "I don't know any of your songs." The crowd gasped in unison, as the honest statement clearly unmasked a generation gap. The girl's sister redeemed the family by adorably singing with Shania.
Shania bookended the show with tour opener and namesake "Rock This Country" and used smash hit "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!" as the encore — both songs are from 1997's Come On Over, which remains the top-selling album of all time by a female artist.
The voluptuous lips on Shania's Rolling Stones-branded sequence top matched her red microphone as she dramatically rose from beneath the stage for the opening number.
Shania powered through country hits "Honey, I'm Home," "You Win My Love" and "Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under" before taking a breather to talk to the fans.
"Thank you for the amazing welcome. I love Los Angeles. Boy, I haven't seen a lot of you in a very long time," she said, transitioning into performances of "I Ain't No Quitter," "Love Gets Me Every Time" and "Don't Be Stupid (You Know I Love You)."
For classic country jam "Any Man of Mine," Shania went into the crowd with a selfie stick to capture footage that was projected onto the big screens. The stunt was a fun, modern addition to the night's traditional staples such as fireworks, confetti and laser lights.
Shania's first outfit change came in time for the ninth song, "I'm Gonna Getcha Good," a single that paved the way for the show's more mainstream tunes.
She switched her Rolling Stones' shirt for an AC/DC top and, pardon the wordplay, proceeded to shake the crowd all night long in her red knee-high boots.
The title track from Come On Over led into her "Party for Two" duet with opening act Gavin DeGraw, who filled in for Billy Currington. The back-and-forth vocal bout seemed to bring Shania's vocals up another notch, her long notes sounding more powerful than earlier.
Shania ended the duet with an emphatic double-fist pump, but her stoic veneer soon revealed candid venerability, when she talked about losing confidence during her 11 years away from touring and deciding to return to the stage.
"Psychologically, it's a giant leap for me," she admitted. "I'm happy to be here, and all I can say is there is no way but up from here." The comment led into the motivational "Up."
At this point, the best version of Shania took over — the balladeer. "Today Is Your Day," with Shania sitting on a stool strumming a guitar, incited fans to use their smartphone lights like lighters of yesteryear, creating flickers that resembled fireflies.
After "No One Needs to Know," which was used in the 1996 film Twister, Shania quietly jumped into her sing-along monster "You're Still the One," her highest-charting song ever on the Billboard Hot 100. It peaked at No. 2 in 1998. Couples moved closer together and swayed as one to the ballad as an animated moon and clouds set the mood on the big screens. The song acted as the night's couples' dance.
An overly dramatic video sequence featuring Shania in a red gown gave her
ample time for an outfit change. She emerged in a black sequenced sundress. The
drama intensified with climactic violins and fireworks during "From This Moment
The aforementioned tech woes took over during "That Don't Impress Me Much." The hitches subsided for the main set's final track, "(If You're Not in It for Love) I'm Outta Here!"
To no one's surprise, radio-friendly crossover hit "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!" wrapped up the farewell concert in blazing style. Fire blasts soared from the stage straight up into the air. The heat of the flames could be felt many rows up.
It was the proper fiery ending to a feel-good show despite the night's live road bumps.
But this won't be the final time fans hear from Shania. She plans to release a fifth studio album, her first since 2002's Up, sometime after her 50th birthday on Aug. 28.
The simple fact of impending new music, for lack of better words, impresses us much.