A little after 9pm loud speakers at the Bell Centre blasted Queen’s We Will Rock You so 13,700 people could get into a sing-a-long foot stomping mood. The beat of We Will Rock You continued on as a blonde female drummer on the mini stage pounded away. Country-pop queen Shania Twain appeared standing in the crowd of red section 114. She wore a silver thigh high split dress and cowboy hat as security ushered her down the stairs. She high-fived fans while she walked toward the main stage and opened with Life’s About to Get Good from her recent album Now.
The stage floor was basic, but it was the five hydraulic cubes that made this concert a constant entertaining change throughout the two hour set. First of all they served as screens that projected everything from designs, colours and various film footage. Secondly the cubes turned into a constantly moving stage by being positioned up and down or in various configurations so that each song would look and feel different. I’ve never been to a concert where I’ve seen band members in different positions on stage for different songs as much as this one. Even the drum kit moved around from place to place. At one point rising so high into the lighting rig you couldn’t even see it.
Shania was backed up by three male and two female singer/dancers with a four piece band whom were never introduced. I started to lose count of the costume changes after awhile which was an added element to the night. Twain’s stage moves are well paced and done gracefully, yet she can still do a country line dance for mega country hits such as Any Man of Mine and Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under (in which she wore red cowboy boots and black cowboy hat respectively). Twain still looks as good as any contemporaries half her age and in some ways even better. Shania’s classy sensuality is the charm that makes her so endeared by both female and male fans.
A huge curtain would become a projection backdrop which was most effective on one of the newer songs, Poor Me. It was here that an image of a dancer appeared that she would interact with at one point looking as though they touched hands. When Shania come to the front of the stage the dancer enlarged filling up the whole curtain. Later in the set Shania donned a top hat holding a champagne glass telling the audience we were going to take a trip down memory lane. She sat down on the side stage behind the curtain as a shadow. On the curtains was a quick medley of four hit songs such as The Woman In Me and You Win My Love. It would have been much better if these songs were performed live with the videos playing in the background.
While one of the nameless musicians played piano for Soldier, Twain was elevated over the crowd to the mini stage on a seat that looked like a guitar case. After being handed a guitar to play with she was hoisted above the crowd for You’re Still the One. Coming back down to the mini stage Twain interacted with some audience members, but one in particular who had a sign that read : I love you Shania!. Being told he was a big guy he was asked to escort her back to the main stage. This turned into a funny moment because Shania informed him he was going the wrong way. He apologized saying it was his “first time doing this” and they had to back track to go the right way.
Back on the main stage the big guy was introduced as WWE wrestler Kevin Owens. It seems he was on Twitter all last week requesting she play his favourite song, When. She promised that if he makes a certain win in the ring against another wrestler she will play his song at a future concert. You’d think after going through the process of getting Kevin on stage and a week of Tweets that she would have had the band rehearse his song. Kevin wasn’t her only special guest. She brought on stage her opening act Bastian Baker to sing a fun duet of Party For Two. He stayed on stage to play guitar for Swingin’ With My Eyes Closed.
If You’re Not In it For Love (I’m Outta Here) was a perfect send off to the main set. She came back for an encore that had everyone up, dancing and singing along to Man I Feel Like a Woman. Shania and the dancers ended by affirming something they had achieved this night and that was Rock This Country!
Shania Twain’s Now tour is very much like her music. It’s a commercially crafted, highly produced, well polished slick machine. The concert comes complete with extras like displayed leopard prints, silver balloons, lasers and an explosion of streamers and confetti. Probably the biggest change in the Montreal show as opposed to other nights is her dialogue was mainly done in French. Merci.
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
video medley of The Woman in Me / You Win My Love / Don’t / Forever and Always
From This Moment
I’m Gonna Getcha Good!
Party For Two (with Bastian Baker)
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!