Shania pours out the fan favorites in return to touring

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
By Kelly B. Gormly
July 11, 2015

In one of the most delightful and memorable moments of Shania Twain's Friday concert, the Canadian country-pop singer played on the saying “getting back in the saddle” by, literally, mounting a saddle.

An extended leg of the stage at Consol Energy Center raised Twain into the air and, astride the saddle, she sang the uppity-up, happy hit “Up” while rotating over the audience.

The “Up!” performance was a metaphor for Twain who, after an 11-year break from touring, is embarking on her Rock This Country Tour, which she says is her final one. After she completes this tour, Twain says she will retire from concerts and focus just on songwriting and recording new music. But who knows? At almost 50, Twain is looking and sounding fabulous, and she sang every word like she meant it. Maybe she will change her mind in the future and return to the stage for encore touring.

In her almost 20-song set, Twain — who most recently spent two years performing at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas — gave us most of the fan favorites from the 1990s and early 2000s, when she became the crossover queen from country into rock/pop music.

Surprisingly, the show included extensive pyrotechnics, including showers of fireworks and even many full-bodied flames shooting from the stage in a technique usually reserved for hard-rock outdoor concerts.

Twain's multiple glittery, sensual outfits — which included thigh-boots and sequined bodices, complementing her sparkling red microphone — brought a Vegas touch to the show.

With a sometimes raspy voice that survived a throat illness and still sounds mostly great, Twain sang classics including the rip-roaring honkytonk dance songs “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?” — backed by images of colorful boots on the stage screen — and the pre-encore finale with arguably Twain's biggest hit, “(If You're Not In It For Love) I'm Outta Here!”

Twain showed her more soulful side with an acoustic, self-strummed version of “You're Still the One,” and the powerful “From This Moment On,” a song accompanied by a smoky stage and backdrop.

The audience adored Twain and, according to a sign one fan held high, came from as far away as Thailand to see her perform. Other fans held up the red and white Canada flag to honor Twain's home country.

Twain sang “Happy Birthday” to two fans having birthdays in the audience, and the audience sang it back to her, since Twain turns 50 on Aug. 28. She interacted with the audience in a way that made people feel like they were in Twain's living room, even though they were crammed into a large venue with thousands of other fans.

During “Any Man of Mine,” Twain went out into the audience to shake people's hands, and during “(Don't Be Stupid) You Know I Love You,” she brought a woman from the audience onto the stage to sing with her.

“This is like a reunion,” Twain told the audience in between songs. “I could just talk to you all night.”