Shania Twain brings hit-filled, Broadway-meets-Vegas spectacle to Nashville
By Cindy Watts
July 22, 2018
Shania Twain fans jumped to their feet and excitedly whipped their heads around the still-lit Bridgestone Arena Saturday night when the music started. Twain’s drummer Elijah Wood — a rock-solid, captivating player — pounded out a rhythm from the b-stage at the back of the arena’s floor. The spotlights hit Twain, her sequined gown sparkling, as she made her way to the stage by walking through the audience shaking hands with fans. When she arrived at the venue’s main platform, the curtain dropped and riotous applause erupted from the audience as she launched her two-hour set with “Life’s About to Get Good.”
It was an unconventional opening for a country music concert — starting the show by personally greeting the crowd seated mid-way up the side of the arena. Many of her fans knew what was coming — a giveaway to just how many had previously seen the Shania Now Tour. But nothing about Twain has ever been conventional. Fans expect a spectacle, and with steamy dancers, a flying guitar case, electrified suits, vibrant airborne multimedia screen cubes and more, Saturday night’s concert didn’t disappoint.
What you missed
1. The backstage toast: Before the show, Twain greeted members of Nashville’s music community along with up-and-coming female country singers Cassadee Pope and Jillian Jacqueline. She raised her glass to the young women, saying: "I know there’s a lot of new, up-and-coming talent in this room. I want to congratulate you just for getting to the place where you are. Finding your way in Nashville is a challenge. It’s difficult for any artist.”
Twain went on to explain she planned to return to Nashville in August to film her new show, “Real Country,” and said she was “so excited about this phase of being part of the nurturing of new talent” in country music.
2. The hits: Twain’s 21-song set list included “Don’t Be Stupid (You Know I Love You)," “That Don’t Impress Me Much,” “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?," “Honey, I’m Home," “You’re Still the One," “From This Moment On," “Party for Two” (with opening act Bastian Baker) and “Man! I Feel Like a Woman.”
Each hit was an instant sing-along with fans bouncing and dancing in the aisles. They screamed appreciation at the end of each song and with more than half-a-dozen outfit changes over the course of the concert, many of the songs had their own distinct looks. There were several nods to Twain’s love of leopard print, many caped body suits and, of course, her signature top hat in “Man! I Feel Like a Woman.”
3. The new songs: Twain didn’t shy away from performing new songs from her latest album “Now.” The singer launched the show with new song “Life’s About to Get Good” and over the course of the night delivered “Poor Me," “More Fun," “Soldier,” “Let’s Kiss and Make Up,” “Up!” and “Swingin’ with My Eyes Closed.” Knowing that many fans don’t have the same attachment to her latest material as they do her previous hits, Twain's production value on her freshest material was on-point to ensure the audience was enthralled.
“Let’s Kiss and Make Up” made use of a kiss cam, and Twain’s husband came down front to smooch with her on the big screen.
4. The flying guitar case: One of the evening’s most picturesque moments came when Twain slid into a guitar case that had been reworked into a seat. Attached to cables, the case carrying Twain was lifted high over the audience, slowly moving toward the back of the arena as she sang “Soldier.” When she arrived at the satellite stage, Twain was temporarily lowered to pick up her acoustic guitar. Once she was back in the air, the singer asked fans to light up the arena. She delivered “You’re Still the One” perched in the case over the crowd bathed in the glow of cell phone lights.
5. The dancers: Twain was always the center of attention, but her dancers helped turn the concert into an experience by executing Broadway-meets-Vegas choreography in nearly every song.
The men outfitted in tight jeans danced with life-sized cowgirls made of springs in “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?” They ripped their shirts open and used chairs as props in “Poor Me.” A male and female dancer delivered an interpretative routine on the satellite stage during “Soldier.” The squad of performers danced in the dark wearing suits trimmed in lights during “I’m Gonna Getcha Good!” and incorporated drums, theatrically pounding out rhythms, in “(If You’re Not in It for Love) I'm Outta Here!.” The encore — “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” and “Rock This Country” — included such athletic, fast-paced choreography that the men were heaving breaths as confetti rained from the ceiling.