CONCERT REVIEW: Shania Twain still riles up a Canadian crowd
By Jane Stevenson
July 7, 2018
July 6, 2018
RATING: (***1/2 out of five)
Hey Shania, wasn’t your 2015 Rock This Country tour supposed to be your farewell jaunt?
Lucky for your fans — and you, it turns out — you changed your mind.
Canadian country-crossover superstar Shania Twain brought her Now tour — but not her famous midriff which remained covered the entire two hours as you might expect of a 52-year-old — to the Scotiabank Arena (previously Air Canada Centre) on Friday night for the first of two shows.
And with a dazzling array of flowing costumes — plenty of leopard print, leather, sequins, feathers and chiffon — Twain’s visually ambitious show with a production that included moving cubes that acted as eye-catching video backdrops alongside sexy, often shirtless, male dancers entertained a female-heavy crowd.
“It’s fun to be me!” admitted Twain, after being escorted up a flight of stairs by one of her dancers.
“Getting lifted up like a feather by all these hunky men!”
Packed with plenty of ‘90s hits and new tunes from Now, her 2017 studio album of the same name and her first in 15 years, the concert seemed to as much about survival as empowerment.
After all, Twain is now a middle-aged mother of a teenager and remarried after her superstar producer first husband “Mutt” Lange ended up with her best friend (she married that woman’s ex) and has battled both Lyme Disease and dysphonia (her speaking voice was often hoarse).
For example, “You’re Still The One,” which was previously a song about a lasting relationship with Lange, has now become a song for the fans, as Twain — sitting on an open guitar case swing — flew over the top of the crowd on the floor while she strummed an acoustic guitar, describing it as “the sing-along” moment of the show.
Afterwards, it also found her plucking three “cowboys” (from Ireland, Labrador and Belleville, Ont.) out of the crowd to escort her back to the main stage but when they got there to take selfies and help her up onto a piano for the new song, More Fun, it was mass confusion.
“That was a little difficult to direct,” joked Twain afterwards.
The show was being filmed, so there was plenty of cameras everywhere, too.
Always the flashy performer, Twain began her performance in the midst of the audience in the stands while her amazing trans female drummer Elijah Wood (not the actor) — who also played on the Rock This Country trek as a young man — pounded a drum kit to Queen’s “We Will Rock You” on a smaller b-stage on the floor.
As Twain walked towards the stage in a black sequined cowboy hat and matching evening gown, there was plenty of swagger and confidence and genuine desire to connect with the audience as she opened with the new song, “Life’s About To Get Good.”
“It’s so good to be here,” said the singer who grew up in Timmins, Ont.
“I mean, this is Toronto!”
But it was the older hits, “Come On Over” and “Up!” that got the place rocking and kept fans on their feet followed by other crowd-pleasers like “Don’t Be Stupid, (You Know I Love You)”, “That Don’t Impress Me Much”, “Any Man of Mine”, “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under”, “Honey I’m Home”, “From This Moment On”, and “I’m Gonna Getcha Good.”
Opener and Swiss singer Bastian Baker joined Twain for “Party for Two” towards the end of the night and also played guitar on the new tune, “Swingin’ With My Eyes Closed”, but her fans only had eyes for Twain as she closed strong with “(If You’re Not in It for Love) I’m Outta Here!” and the encore songs, “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” and “Rock This Country!”
Life’s About To Get Good
Come On Over
Don’t Be Stupid (You Know I Love You)
That Don’t Impress Me Much
Let’s Kiss and Make Up
Any Man of Mine
Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?
Honey, I’m Home
You’re Still the One
From This Moment On
I’m Gonna Getcha Good
Party for Two
Swingin’ With My Eyes Closed
(If You’re Not in It for Love) I’m Outta Here!
Man! I Feel Like a Woman!
Rock This Country!