Shania Twain knocks out the New Orleans crowd

The Times-Picayune
By Doug MacCash
June 11, 2018

Shania Twain, the all-time champ of country record sales, strode into the Smoothie King Center Sunday night (June 10) like a prize fighter. Spotlights followed her glinting, sequined cowboy hat as she and an entourage of body guards waded through the adoring crowd from the back of the house to the stage.

As the 52-year-old Canadian chanteuse walked and waved, a feral platinum-haired percussionist pounded out an explosive drum beat that seemed to have escaped from a Metallica concert. It was the most stirring Smoothie King Center entrance ever.

Twain, whose poppy persona lies somewhere between Dolly Parton and Taylor Swift, kept the energy level on eleven for the rest of the night, as she belted out the Millennial-era make-out songs that made her a superstar's superstar. Her voice was steely, her delivery was beyond confident, and her backing band kept her surfing on wave after wave of arena-filling rock. Sure, there might have been a fiddle and a mandolin involved, but I swear, in the name of George Strait, it was a rock show.

Production values were stratospherically high, with endlessly shifting stage risers, dazzling projections, choreography, fog, a sort of floating trapeze, and you name it (I especially loved the rolling mannequins made of huge metal springs). 

Costume changes were plentiful. At different times during the show, Twain sported a bad-guy black cowboy outfit befitting Liberty Valance (except for the translucent floor-length skirt and scarlet high-heel boots), she wore a smoldering snow leopard-patterned split smock, and a glittering flesh-toned body stocking that she might have borrowed from Cher.

At the end of the show, as the house lights rose and the silver streamers settled, a young woman turned to a friend and said, "Well I don't ever have to go to another concert." It was safe to say Shania had connected with her acolyte and satisfied her utterly. The same could probably be said for the vast, vast majority of Smoothie King attendees.

This being New Orleans, there was naturally a small group of eccentrically clothed female fans who had taken their devotion to Twain to dizzying heights. During Mardi Gras 2018 the women formed a new parading group in which each member impersonated a different Twain incarnation: Pink Urban Cowgirl Shania, Wild Man Shania, Sporty Spice Shania, Cabaret Shania, Classic Canadian (denim), Tuxedo Shania, etc.

The Shania clones were inspired by their love of the singer, whose music was the soundtrack of their youths. They were further inspired by the discovery that there is a brand of boxed wine called Shania, though, they said, the name of the wine is apparently just a coincidence and it is unaffiliated with the singer. They said they use the word Shania to describe inebriation, as in: We went out and really got Shania-ed last night. They have a lengthy and largely incomprehensible theme song / manifesto that ends with the line "with the spirit of a feline cowgirl and the patina of a gently used frying pan, we are the krewe of Shania Twain. Let's go girls."