Shania Twain rocks MSG: Sparkling set marks whopping farewell
By Bobby Olivier
July 1, 2015
New York — She's still the one.
Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood may be credited with the most recent blurring of pop and country lines, but Shania Twain is indisputably the queen of crossover.
Notching the best-selling country album of all time -- and launching most of its tracks into regular rotation on Top 40 radio stations -- deserves a tip of the 10-gallon hat.
And Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden, the lovely Canadian songstress and longstanding genre icon celebrated her success, as well as the bittersweet conclusion of her career as a touring artist.
Twain, 49, has publicly said this roadshow, titled the Rock This Country tour, will be her last. If she holds to her word, at least she gave her fervent supporters one more chance to dance and sing to "I'm Gonna Getcha Good!" and "Come On Over."
Tuesday night's concert was only the second U.S. show of the tour so far, as Twain just wrapped a 13-date stint Sunday north of the border. But with her newly blonde locks in tow, she seemed prepared for the long, American leg ahead and delivered an engaging and infectiously fun two-hour set for the big city crowd.
Twain will ride into Newark July 7 for a date with Prudential Center and a new batch of loyals anticipating the brassy synth of "Man! I Feel Like A Woman!"
- No, Twain has not toured in the traditional sense since the Up! tour in 2003 -- in support what's still her most recent album 13 years later -- but that's not to say she hasn't been performing. At Caesar's Palace, her three-year residency pumped out 105 shows, which featured virtually the same, crowd-pleasing set list as Tuesday's show, just re-ordered a bit.
Consequently, Twain's purpose on this tour is certainly not to promote new material. It is meant to remind her '90s-nostalgic fans why they fell in love with her to begin with, and to produce a whopping sendoff as she heads for a quiet, family life and the land of "special guest" award show cameos.
Tuesday's set absolutely achieved both objectives. Twain was endearing and gracious, thanking fans for their longtime support and unafraid to joke about her age. After spotting her grand-niece in the front row, Twain jabbed "who wears fishnets and has a great-niece?"
But she was also the lively, commanding frontwoman who told the crowd early on: "This is my last go-around and I'm going to make the most of it." Strutting and bouncing in her shimmering mini-dresses and leather shorts, she was captain of the farewell party cruise on "Don't Be Stupid (You Know I Love You)" and her smash "That Don't Impress Me Much." Her platinum-white smile radiated throughout the venue -- she had a ton of fun up there.
- Twain's production crew spared no expense in upping the visual "wow" factor and bolstering the singer's bon voyage. Fireworks and showy pyrotechnics accompanied many songs, and her seven backing musicians were constantly rearranged. She worked in two costume changes, and for the buoyant "Up!" Twain rode a leather-clad mechanical bull, which was attached to a huge steel arm that lifted her three stories high and swung out over the cheering crowd. Most everyone was able to get at least one good snapshot of her. Huge theater curtains were hung from the rafters for an acoustic session incorporating "You're Still The One" and the oldie "No One Needs To Know." Of course, this was a concert, but it was also a show -- there was much to see.
- During "Any Man Of Mine," Twain traded the stage for a small, plexiglass cart and sang as roadies pulled her through the crowd and around the edge of the arena to greet her fans. The spectacle came with mixed emotions, like watching Wade Boggs ride the police horse around Yankee Stadium after winning the 1996 World Series. It was fantastic to watch the victory lap, but it signified the end of a sensational run.
- Twain swung through nine tracks off 1997's "Come On Over," the genre's best-selling country album of all time (40 million copies worldwide) and country music's "Thriller" equivalent. Of the record's 12 singles -- 12 singles! -- the only ones she didn't touch were "When," "You've Got A Way" and "Holding On To Love." And for the ones she did revisit, the crowd never faltered. "From This Moment On" and the closer "Man! I Feel Like A Woman!" were sweeping sing-alongs.
THE SET LIST