Concert review: Shania Twain back in the saddle at Consol Energy Center

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
By Scott Mervis
July 10, 2015

Before there was Carrie and Taylor, there was Shania, the ’90s Queen of Country Pop, earning a share of the credit or blame for the state of the genre.

Out of action for more than a decade with bum vocal cords and a messy divorce, Shania Twain is waging a hit-and-run comeback on the Rock This Country Tour, which played Consol Energy Center tonight before a crowd of more than 14,000.

This will be a one-off, she claims, a farewell to the fans, as she turns 50 in August.

Fresh off two years in Vegas, her current tour is a full-blown flashy arena spectacle, beginning with her rising out of the floor, amid fog and fireworks, on a riser that kept going up, up, up on “Rock This Country!” She was rocking platinum hair, long black fringe and thigh-high boots.

That one wasn’t so country, but the fiddles were flying, steel guitars crying and heels kicking up on “Honey, I’m Home,” “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?” and “I Ain’t No Quitter,” among others.

The Canadian singer has never been about knockout vocals, especially live, and that hasn’t changed. Her voice is noticeably deeper and raspier, not soaring like you want it to on songs like “Love Gets Me Every Time” and “Any Man of Mine.” Awkwardly enough, Leah, a precocious fan she brought on stage, out-sang her on “Don't Be Stupid (You Know I Love You).”

But this was really about celebrating Shania and the country/pop/hair-metal creations she cooked up with her ex, Robert “Mutt” Lange. They came loud and furious, with pyro, costume changes and trips into and over the audience. “Up!” had her up not on balloons — that would have been cool — but a saddle attached to a crane, with red lasers, for the country-pop answer to “Spinal Tap.”

A musical highlight was her flirtatious duet with opener Gavin DeGraw on “Party for Two.” One of her best vocals actually came when she sang country on a twangy acoustic “No One Needs to Know.”

After scenery-shedding power ballad “From This Moment On,” she brought it to a happy, rocking finish with “That Don't Impress Me Much,” “(If You're Not in It for Love) I’m Outta Here!” and “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!”

Truthfully, it didn't impress me much, but the roar of the crowd spoke loudly about the fan feeling.

Mr. DeGraw put on his usual fiery opening set, pounding through hits like “Best I Ever Had,” “I Don't Wanna Be,” Billy Joel’s “Big Shot” and Bryan Adams’ “Heaven” wrapping around “Not Over You.”