Shania Twain triumphs at boisterous iWi return

Quad City Dispatch
By Jonathan Turner
July 26, 2015

MOLINE -- Shania Twain's triumphant, high-energy return Sunday night to the iWireless Center brought to mind the Beatles' "Hello Goodbye."

The 49-year-old Ontario, Canada, native last performed at the Moline arena in May 2004. So, a hearty "hello," girlfriend -- you look amazing and sound great. But it's also a bittersweet "goodbye," as Ms. Twain has said her "Rock This Country" victory lap likely will be her last tour. 

We can only hope that Ms. Twain will reconsider and, please, come on over back again -- without waiting 11 years this time.

The five-time Grammy winner's 1997 "Come On Over" is the best-selling country music album of all time. She turns the half-century mark on Aug. 28 but is, by far, still a spring chick compared with many big names still touring such as the Rolling Stones, Dylan, McCartney, and Tony Bennett at 88.

Ms. Twain withdrew from performing in 2004 citing trouble with her voice. She returned in 2012-14 for a two-year Las Vegas residency. Her last single, the inspirational "Today Is Your Day," came out in 2011. Her first studio album since 2002 is expected in the next year.

On Sunday, she let loose and had a lot of fun with the nearly sold-out crowd clearly (and very loudly) thrilled to see her one last time.

After what seemed a long, 25-minute intermission capped with a loud recording of "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" to feed the frenzy, the stage's tall red curtain rose slowly and dramatically. A characteristically dazzling light display added a sense of anticipation until Ms. Twain -- as befits pop-country royalty -- regally rose from beneath the stage on a platform that went very high, during her appropriately rockin' opener, "Rock This Country."

Wearing red shades, a red sequined mini-dress, a black leather jacket with fringe and thigh-high black boots, she reveled in the swaggering joy and elicited the first of many huge ovations from the audience. She immediately came back to her country roots with the boisterous "Honey I'm Home," which turned into a big singalong.

"Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under" was a jaunty toe-tapper, filled with fiddle flourishes. After her jacket came off, Ms. Twain remarked that we were ready to party, and she obliged with the high-spirited "Love Gets Me Every Time" and the danceable, buoyant "Don't Be Stupid," which soared with the hoedown-like fiddles.

Reflecting the crowd's bliss, Ms. Twain broke into a wide smile and said how she loves feeding off a loud crowd. "I love watching you guys," she said. "You guys are my show."

She carried the audience up into Cloud 10 as she traversed through the main floor during "Any Man of Mine." Many fans in the lower bowl piled down near the floor to get photos or a chance to touch her hand as she made her way all the way around.

Her opener, Gavin DeGraw, did the same during his awesome cover of Billy Joel's "Big Shot." Ms. Twain even carried a camera phone on a selfie stick part way, beaming video back to her screens on stage.

After the band rocked an instrumental hard 40 minutes in, Ms. Twain changed outfits and donned a long-sleeved number with a flowing floor-length cape thingy, heating things up with bursts of flame for "I'm Gonna Getcha Good."

She removed the cape to reveal a silver long-sleeved top and a very short black skirt or shorts to show off her still great-looking gams for the lively, upbeat "Come on Over."

The slickly produced show not only featured relentless pyrotechnic light displays, but also varied video screens that changed almost with each song.

Mr. DeGraw -- who Ms. Twain said she's admired for a long time -- joined the down-home diva in the duet "Party for Two," a jubilant crowd-pleaser, which showcased dual video screens at the rear. They danced and linked hands in a party for 10,000-plus.

Deadlines forced me to miss most of Ms. Twain's biggest hits during her planned 100-minute show. But Mr. DeGraw was solidly entertaining during his 45-minute set that included "Soldier," "In Love With a Girl," "Chariot," "I Don't Want to Be" and his big hit ,"Not Over You."