Shania Twain's 'homecoming' hits the right notes for Dunedin crowd

By Tom Kitchin
December 23, 2018

Shania Twain
Now Tour
Forsyth Barr Stadium, December 22

Shania Twain's Dunedin concert felt like a homecoming, even though she'd never played in the city before.

"Thank you so much for this incredible welcome back to your outstanding country," she told the 18,000 strong audience at the Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday night.

"It's so beautiful here and for many years now I've considered New Zealand my second home."

Twain, 53, played the last show of 77 of her Now Tour in Dunedin. It was her third show ever in the country, after two recent performances in Auckland.

The Dunedin show could be Twain's last ever, as she said earlier in the year this would be her last time out on the road. Southern fans were left with a gift.

And what a show it was. Certainly entertaining and visually impressive, even if the musicality left you confused.

Twain began the show walking through the crowd, high-fiving fans as she made her way to the stage. She played a mix of the old and the new, beginning with Life's About to Get Good from her latest album Now.

But the audience were definitely holding out for the hits such as Come On Over, That Don't Impress Me Much and the finale Man! I Feel Like a Woman!.

Twain has a history in the region - she hit local headlines when she and her ex-husband Robert "Mutt" Lange bought high country stations in Central Otago in 2004.

But her marriage ended in a bitter divorce and she lost the land.

Twain told The Project that New Zealand was her place to hide.

"The time I spent [in New Zealand] was more to get away from what I do as a professional ... but now that it's my ex-husband that owns the property I feel more open about performing there now."

Her love of New Zealand and her ability to throw banter with the audience made her feel more genuine to the crowd.

Three lucky fans were brought up to the stage for a selfie and chat with the queen of country pop herself.

She even told one about her trip to Wanaka earlier in the day: "Today I flew over from Wanaka and I enjoyed the high country over there."

So, even though her personality seemed genuine, what about the music?

There were two big questions that left me confused was she lip-syncing and were there backing tracks?

Twain took a long hiatus in 2004 after being diagnosed with Lyme disease and dysphonia which nearly ruined her signing voice.

So did she have the power to sing as well as she sounded after 76 shows?

It was also difficult to know if all her backing band were playing live, as some instruments were hidden from view. How much was real and how much was just playing through the speakers was certainly up for debate.

Although it may have been more about entertainment than genuine music, most fans wouldn't have left disappointed.

Shania is the queen of entertainment and for any fan she would have hit the right note.