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Review: Shania Twain's show a well-oiled machine, and fans love it


Pioneer Press
By Ross Raihala
July 29, 2015


Shania Twain sold out Minneapolis' Target Center Tuesday night during a stop on her first tour in 11 years. But the country music superstar, who turns 50 next month, has also said this is the final time she'll tour, effectively turning it into a comeback/farewell affair.

Judging by her performance, and the audience's rapturous response, don't be surprised if she borrows a page from the Cher Playbook and rethinks her pledge to retire.

The show opened with Twain emerging from beneath the stage on a moving pillar to her opening number, "Rock This Country!" (Twain loves exclamation points, with a total of eight popping up in the songs she sang Tuesday.)

Clad in an odd ensemble that bared a lot of upper thigh -- a theme for the evening -- along with fringe and an oversized pair of red sunglasses, Twain clearly fed off the energy of the crowd of more than 15,000.

From there, Twain offered a set list that basically replicated her 2004 "Greatest Hits" album, including "I Ain't No Quitter," one of the new singles she wrote for that compilation with her former husband/producer Robert "Mutt" Lange.

The guy behind such rock music behemoths as AC/DC's "Back in Black" and Def Leppard's "Pyromania," Lange married Twain in 1993 and helped her created her trio of smash albums: "The Woman in Me," "Come on Over" and "Up!"

But in a turn of events straight out of a soap opera, Lange cheated on Twain with her best friend, and Twain turned around and married that woman's ex-husband.

Twain only faintly alluded to that torrid affair Tuesday when she slowed things down for "Today Is Your Day," a song she says she wrote as a "cheer-me-up type thing" after her divorce. She also spoke about her insecurity about returning to the music business while straddling a red leather saddle attached to the end of a cherry picker that lifted her above the crowd for "Up!"

Twain's confessions felt scripted, though, and the entire concert had the feeling of a touring stage musical, a well-oiled machine with little room for improvisation. (That's not necessarily a bad thing given the amount of fireworks and pyro belched out by her stage.) Her backing vocals sounded prerecorded as well, leaving Twain to harmonize with phantoms.

Of course, many arena-level tours arrive with the same level of polish. But they don't always earn the adoration of Tuesday's audience, which was largely female and noticeably younger than expected. The crowd greeted nearly every song of the show like an old buddy, from "Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?" to "I'm Gonna Getcha Good!" to "That Don't Impress Me Much."

Twain saved the best for last, "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!," a song so massive it requires two (!!) exclamation points.

She has already booked a Sept. 26 return to the Target Center and has overseas dates planned for 2016. This may well turn out to be one long goodbye.

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