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Review: Shania Twain says hello, goodbye in San Jose


San Jose Mercury News
By Jim Harrington
August 18, 2015


Shania Twain had been away from the road for more than a decade, dealing with vocal problems, a divorce from superstar producer Mutt Lange and, eventually, a lengthy residency in Las Vegas.

Considering all of that, the country-pop star was in surprisingly good form as she finally brought her Rock This Country Tour to the SAP Center in San Jose on Monday night. Sure, her vocals weren't as strong as they once were, but the 49-year-old Canadian still managed to put on a fairly enjoyable show for the 10,000 fans in attendance.

Indeed, Tuesday's show might even have been better than her previous local outing, which took place at the same venue in 2003. Of course, that's not really saying much.

Twain wasn't a great live act even before the touring hiatus. Her strength was the recording studio, where she crafted three consecutive albums -- 1995's "The Woman in Me," 1997's "Come On Over" and 2002's "Up!" -- which would each sell over 10 million copies in the U.S. alone. "Come On Over" was her crowning achievement, with estimated worldwide sales of some 40 million -- enough to make it the top-selling country album of all time as well as the biggest album by any female artist in history.

There was an unusual dynamic to this show. It was her big comeback tour, yet it was also touted as her farewell trek. Talk about not knowing if an artist is coming or going or whether fans should be happy or sad. Twain certainly focused more on the comeback aspect, to the point where it will be a bit shocking if she really puts the tour bus up on blocks after this tour ends. She looked ready to rock -- not ready for the rocking chair.

That's exactly what she did, opening the 100-minute set with a rambunctious run through with the tour's namesake, "Rock This Country!" That song was the 10th of an astonishing 11 singles released from "Come On Over." That she'd name her current tour after a nearly 20-year-old song underscores just how long she's been away from the recording business. "Up!" is still her last studio effort to date, though she's reportedly working on a new record and even eyeing a release date.

Twain wore her classic rock influences for all to see, first appearing in a Rolling Stones shirt and later changing into an AC/DC one. And those influences could certainly be heard in many of the tunes, which marry pop-rock and mainstream country in often blissful fashion.

In all, the concert served to highlight Twain's lasting significance to the country genre. She was a crossover pioneer in the '90s, doing as much as anyone not named Garth Brooks to entice people who don't usually listen to country and push the genre toward its current stadium-level heights.

Backed by a superb seven-piece band, Twain delighted with the traditional country of "Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?" -- a cheating song that could've been plucked straight from a Merle Haggard or George Jones album -- and then twisted right into "I Ain't No Quitter," "Don't Be Stupid (You Know I Love You)" and other fun numbers.

Twain worked hard for our money, going out into the crowd to touch hands, boogying about the stage and embracing a number of special effects, including crooning "Up" while sitting in a saddle lifted high above fans' heads.

Her voice grew rougher as the night progressed, but the backing vocalists seemed to be paying attention and would leap into song whenever dubbed necessary.

She did some good work on the romantic "From This Moment On," which is arguably the most Celine Dion-like of all of Twain's tracks. She'd also lead 10,000 in a dramatic singalong of "Still the One," which is still Twain's best song.

Twain closed the show amid pyrotechnics and confetti, bringing the crowd to its feet for the star's ultimate anthem, "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!"

Here's what Shania Twain performed on Aug. 17 at the SAP Center in San Jose.

1. "Rock This Country!"

2. "Honey, I'm Home"

3. "You Win My Love"

4. "Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?"

5. "I Ain't No Quitter"

6. "Love Gets Me Every Time"

7. "Don't Be Stupid (You Know I Love You)"

8. "Any Man of Mine"

9. "Ka-Ching!"

10. "I'm Gonna Getcha Good!"

11. "Come On Over"

12. "Party for Two"

13. "Up!"

14. "Today Is Your Day"

15. "No One Needs to Know"

16. "You're Still the One"

17. "From This Moment On"

18. "That Don't Impress Me Much"

19. "(If You're Not in It for Love) I'm Outta Here!"

Encore

20. "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!"

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