Shania Twain turns up the heat in Nashville
By Brian Mansfield
August 1, 2015
Tough choice. For a country music fan in Nashville, Friday night presented a difficult decision. At the new Ascend Amphitheater, Eric Church was playing a stripped-down, largely acoustic set as part of the venue's opening weekend. A few blocks away, Dolly Parton was returning to her old stomping grounds, the historic Ryman Auditorium, where she made many appearances as a Grand Ole Opry member during the '60s and '70s. Finally, at the nearby Bridgestone Arena, country-pop queen Shania Twain was playing her first show in the city in nearly 17 years.
Talking about Nashville. Twain, 49, took the stage to Rock This Country! wearing a black fringe jacket, sparkly red shorts and thigh-high black boots. After performing three of the '90s country hits that made her country music's top-selling female act — Honey, I'm Home, You Win My Love and Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under? — she paused to reflect on moving to Nashville in her 20s. "It was a whirlwind experience," she said. "I met a lot of warm and wonderful friends. I really do feel like I'm coming back home here.
Party of too soon. Twain briefly lost her place in the set and started to introduce Party for Two, a duet she recorded with country singer Billy Currington but performs on tour with support act Gavin DeGraw, six songs too early. "I think I'm just overwhelmed by being here — I'm nervous!" she said. "It's kind of scary, doing this in Nashville."
That personal touch. When a young woman in the audience informed Twain that she was celebrating a birthday, Twain stopped the show to sing Happy Birthday to her. "She's so cute," Twain said. "She's got a leopard outfit on — I love it!"
Beyond the stage. Twice, Twain took the opportunity to get closer to the crowd. As she sang her 1995 chart-topper Any Man of Mine, members of her road crew rolled her around the arena floor on a wheeled platform, with Twain waving and shaking hands like a queen among her subjects. For Up!, she climbed up on a saddle attached to a part of the stage's catwalk that lifted her into the air and pivoted her around the venue.
Light show. Twain pulled out all the stops production-wise. In addition to the moving parts of the stage, she had lasers and plumes of flame during several numbers, as well as rotating video backdrops and banks of lights that raised and lowered. The Rock This Country Tour stops in Atlanta Saturday and continues through October.
The set list for the Nashville concert follows: