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Review: Shania Twain kicks off long Canadian goodbye with Vancouver concert


Vancouver Sun
By Francois Marchand
June 7, 2015


SHANIA TWAIN

Sunday night (again Tuesday) | Rogers Arena

VANCOUVER -- Country star Shania Twain began her long Canadian goodbye Sunday night at Rogers Arena.

It was the first of two Vancouver concerts on her Rock This Country farewell tour, which had officially kicked off in Seattle Friday night.

Twain, 50, recently announced she was done with touring after spending two years performing in Las Vegas. Her last proper North American trek dates back to more than a decade ago, in support of her 2002 album Up!

Moments before Shania took the stage, the mostly female crowd erupted in an impromptu wave, giving the Timmins, Ont.-bred Canadian Music Hall Of Famer a proper land of hockey welcome.

Backed by a black-clad seven-piece band (two fiddles, three guitars, bass, drums, and a spot open for some keyboards), Twain opened with a sizzling Rock This Country, unveiling a state-of-the-art show boasting fireworks, lazers, dry ice and massive lighting and LED displays.

Sporting blonde hair (which was the talk of all the entertainment TV shows), red sequin, and black leather fringe, Twain kicked it up one notch higher with the fiddle-heavy Honey I'm Home.

Twain was a little shaky on vocals early on, buried in the mix throughout the show, and you could see her reaching for her in-ear monitor during You Win My Love, which also suffered from a tacky checkered flag background on screen.

We were in full country mode with Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under, complete with Vegas-style dancing neon boots on screen.

"I just want to say thank you for an amazing welcome back to Canada," Twain said between songs. "Vancouver is a gorgeous place."

She talked about eating at restaurants and playing tennis.

"You probably didn't recognize me because you're not used to seeing me as a blonde," she said, pointing out her new hair colour before Nashville stomper Ain't No Quitter.

Although the last 10 years have seen country morph into the biggest form of pop (and Shania played a big role in this), Twain played it old school, with arrangements heavy on slide guitars, twang and vocal harmony.

No one was complaining, even the throngs of younger fans who spent the last decade with Swift, Underwood, Musgraves, and Cyrus (and yes, Miley can still crush at the country game).

Costume change interludes had an oversized Vegas big band/big lights kind of feel, the band knocking out some heavy duty filler.

I'm Gonna Getcha Good was all fire and flame, with that distinct '80s pop twist. Twain was shaky again on Come On Over, sounding a little flat and out of breath.

"It took a lot of work to get back up here," Twain admitted at the beginning of the acoustic portion of the show, talking about the problems she has been having with her voice over the past few years.

That said, the acoustic segment was quite moving, with You're Still The One (Shania on guitar at centre stage) being one of the best moments of the evening.

A parade of hits of that calibre, lasting nearly two hours an featuring a mechanical saddle ride above the crowd during Up, is a tough act to match.

Whether or not this tour ends up truly being Twain's last remains to be seen. Although she hasn't entirely revealed what's in store next, more music is on the horizon for Twain, according to interviews conducted recently.

The Rock This Country tour is a good reminder that Shania was once the undisputed queen of the art, no matter what hair colour.

In the opening slot, Calgary-bred, Vancouver-based country artist Wes Mack (born Wes MacInnes) gave his hometown crowd a little taste of his pop rock-laced brand of country.

With just one self-titled EP under his belt, released a week ago on country label Big Machine, Mack had to fill his short set list with some mood-setting stuff like Bruno Mars' Uptown Funk, which was a bit hit-and-miss.

Mack's enthusiasm was contagious. His background acting in shows like Smallville and Heartland certainly helps. Mack is a charismatic guy.

Not only was it a big deal for him to open for one of his idols, but to do it in a room where he had seen so many shows, as he pointed out, was extra special. He certainly made the most of it, showing up later in the show to duet with Twain on Party For Two.

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