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Concert review: Shania Twain rocks Chesapeake Energy Arena


The Oklahoman
By Brandy McDonnell
August 13, 2015


Sheer black fabric billowed behind her as Shania Twain strutted back onto the stage for her grand finale.

Since Twain had just spent the better part of two hours feistily reaffirming her status as a country-pop superheroine, the cape was probably not necessary. But then, the Canadian singer-songwriter has always had style to spare.

At once a comeback series and a farewell trek, Twain kept the promise of her “Rock This Country” tour Wednesday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena: She rocked the place, thrilling the near-sellout, female-dominated crowd with a string of familiar hits that earned her the “Queen of Country Pop” crown in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Her voice may not be as smooth and supple as it once was, but Twain, who turns 50 on Aug. 28, has not lost one bit of her sassy charisma and self-assured sexiness. Watching her "shimmy, shake, make the earth quake” to the utter delight of the boisterous crowd, was pure fun.

And as Shania says, "the best thing about being a woman is the prerogative to have a little fun."

She seized that prerogative from the start Wednesday night, rising up on a silvery lift from beneath the massive stage to sing, fist-pump and frolic through “Rock This Country.” Dressed in sparkly red short-shorts, fishnet stockings, an elaborately fringed black jacket, black thigh-high boots and crimson-tinted glasses, Twain immediately exuded as much electricity as the red lasers flashing over the audience and the sparkling fireworks fountaining up from the stage.

She may be on her first tour in 11 years, but you wouldn’t know it from her energy level: She stayed in near-constant motion, sashaying up the catwalk, dancing with her guitar players and friskily tossing her long, now-blond locks.

Since Twain is one the best-selling female recording artists in music history, it’s not surprising that her show turned into a raucous sing-along by the second number, the lively “Honey, I’m Home.” The crowd eagerly stayed on its feet to boogie and belt with “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under,” “You Win My Love” and “Any Man of Mine.” She told me in a pre-tour conference call she had big plans to get close to her audience during her concerts, and on the latter, she took a lap around the arena floor in a little cart so that she could high-five her fans and even snag a selfie stick to better capture her crooning and cruising.

“You know it’s been a long time since I’ve been on tour … and you’ve never seen this next song anyway because this tour is the first time we’re doing it. It says a lot about me,” Twain said, launching into the Western swinging number “I Ain’t No Quitter.”

Like her best known songs, the 1999 Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year’s new show walked the line between country and rock, with plenty of fiddles and pedal steel to go with the electric guitars and pyrotechnics. Her stellar back band’s usual double-fiddle lineup expanded to three for my favorite Shania song, the sassy and bluegrassy “Don’t Be Stupid (You Know I Love You).” But the accomplished seven-piece outfit went full-on arena rock with the instrumental interlude “Ka-Ching” during the first of Twain’s three costume quick-changes.

Clad in a blinged-out AC/DC T-shirt, a silvery button-down top and a modern-day pair of ruby slippers, she invited opening act Gavin DeGraw back to the stage for the cheesy duet “Party for Two.” Fortunately, it was all going “Up!” from there -- literally -- as Twain clambered aboard a fringed saddle attached to a telescopic lift, which boosted her up among the crowd as she warbled the uplifting song.

Like her best known songs, the 1999 Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year’s new show walked the line between country and rock, with plenty of fiddles and pedal steel to go with the electric guitars and pyrotechnics. Her stellar back band’s usual double-fiddle lineup expanded to three for my favorite Shania song, the sassy and bluegrassy “Don’t Be Stupid (You Know I Love You).” But the accomplished seven-piece outfit went full-on arena rock with the instrumental interlude “Ka-Ching” during the first of Twain’s three costume quick-changes.

Clad in a blinged-out AC/DC T-shirt, a silvery button-down top and a modern-day pair of ruby slippers, she invited opening act Gavin DeGraw back to the stage for the cheesy duet “Party for Two.” Fortunately, it was all going “Up!” from there -- literally -- as Twain clambered aboard a fringed saddle attached to a telescopic lift, which boosted her up among the crowd as she warbled the uplifting song.

For all the flash and fringe, it was a treat for fans when the singer-songwriter perched on a stool at the front of the stage with her acoustic guitar to prettily strum and sing “Today Is Your Day,” “No One Needs to Know” and “You’re Still the One.” The latter started out as a surprisingly intimate duet between just Twain and a few thousand fans, before the band rejoined her.

After another instrumental interlude, the show got even more magical with her ballad “From This Moment On.” Dressed in a flowing black gown and haloed in a silvery circle of lights, the Canadian superstar belted the love song beautifully. The only way that number could have more thoroughly enchanted the audience was if a unicorn had cantered across the stage.

Instead, the crowd was elated when Twain strutted her stuff through two more of her spirited smashes, eagerly wailing along with her on “That Don’t Impress Me Much” and “(If You’re Not in It for Love) I’m Outta Here.”

“I’m having the time of my life up here,” Twain said, and on those danceable hits, you could really see it.

Although she briefly disappeared in a flurry of guitars, lasers and fireworks, everyone in the arena knew there was one hit left to be played, and the crowd heralded the band’s return with roars of approval that hit jet-engine volume levels. Her devotees managed to get even louder when Twain swaggered out to belt “Man! I Feel Like a Woman.”

As the song goes, she was doing her encore in style: Outfitted in a silver-studded black corset, black elbow-length gloves, black thigh-high boots and her filmy cape, the superstar radiated sexy self-confidence as she jumped up and down, blew kisses to the crowd and drank in the audience’s zealous backup vocals.

A shower of shimmering confetti rained onto the fans as she descended below the stage one last time, a flashy and fitting farewell to the performer who is “Still the One.”

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