Review: In return to Saskatoon, Shania Twain proves she's still the one

The StarPhoenix
By Stephanie McKay
June 15, 2015

If you’re big enough to command a Las Vegas residency, people will expect some production value.

Shania Twain’s first tour since leaving the City of Sin, which stopped in Saskatoon Sunday night, lived up to big, glamorous expectations. The concert was all glitz, glamour, fireballs and hydraulics, with a nice dose of Twain charm.

On massive video screens, the audience’s first glimpse of the country star showed her hair whipping like a super model’s. Twain commanded more pyro than Daenerys Targaryen and her dragons, which was fitting because people missed the Game of Thrones finale to be there.

Later, she stood on a wheeled platform to dole out high fives as she sang Any Man of Mine.

If you thought that was good, she hopped on a saddle suspended way above the audience to perform the song Up! How she manages to be down to earth with all of that going on is a mystery (and a big part of why people love her so much). Twain killed it in pretty much every sense, whether she was strutting to Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under or strumming to Still the One.

She opened with the song she named her tour after, Rock This Country. The night was marked by a sense of fun sometimes lost in shows its size. She kept her band (including Moose Jaw native and multi-instrumentalist Cory Churko) close, interacting with the musicians playfully.

The Canadian country singer hasn’t released a new album since 2002, which ensured a night chock full of hits. If you couldn’t sing along to at least half of the songs you didn’t own a radio in the ’90s.

“It’s been a long time,” she said midway through the set. “I’m loving this reunion.”

The night’s opener (and Calgary native) Wes Mack joined her for the fun and cheesy Party For Two.

Just when the show verged on dragging Twain busted out a new kind of firework and performed a stunning rendition of From This Moment On, which showcased vocals that haven’t faltered since her heyday.

There are rumours this is Twain’s last tour. There’s probably not a higher note she could go out on unless she literally wanted to burn the place down.

Mack’s opening set was made up of a handful of songs indistinguishable from most modern country, but he was a perfectly serviceable act. He and his band were enthusiastic, even attempting a cover of Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk. Sadly the funk was not with them. It felt like a cheap ploy to get people’s attention. He’s no Shania, but he’s got decades to try to reach that level.