With an epically booming spotlit-drummer introduction befitting a superstar, Shania Twain made an entrance into Infinite Energy Arena, on June 4, 2018, that only a MEGA star could pull off. She entered walking from all the way in the back of the house, coming down the stairs, and through the aisles. The proximity thrilled her fans along the way to such a degree the entire house felt part of the many many moments it took to get to the stage and finally hear her “Are you ready, Atlanta!”
Opening with the celebratory “Life’s About To Get Good” from her 2017 album release, NOW, it was undeniable that all that is amazing about Shania Twain is still available to her, and in effect.
And here once again since all those times in the nineties, now in the 2000-teens, I feel like Shania’s speaking to me, for me, inspiring me as a woman of strength, love, humility, and feminine confidence.
“Life’s about joy, life’s about pain
It’s all about forgiving and the will to walk away
I’m ready to be loved, and love the way I should
Life’s about, life’s about to get good”
Is it no coincidence that Twain’s current tour and latest album’s name is styled in capitals, and therefore the acronym for the feminist group, National Organization for Women? This is the first album Shania wrote on her own, where the previous four were collaborations.
A singular-entity icon, Shania has proved her behind-the-scenes chops here, though I found it to be all over the map with some odd moments. She herself has acknowledged the album’s range of genres — which is perhaps a more honest expression of an eclectic artist’s spirit, and of a human being taking stock of where she’s at and who she is in totality, now.
We’ve been waiting a long time, fifteen years in fact, and NOW has debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart.
Shania Twain’s NOW Tour — Act I
- Life’s About To Get Good, from NOW (2017)
- Come on Over, from Come On Over (1997)
- Up! (Red Version), from Up! (Red Version) (2002)
- Poor Me, from NOW
- Don’t Be Stupid (You Know I Love You), from Come On Over
Come On Over was the first album/CD I’d ever ordered on Amazon, in 1999(?), and my formative introduction to Shania Twain. I somehow got the International Version (rather than the North American Version) which had (with the exception of “Rock This Country!”) pop’d up versions of all the songs. This was just fine with me, I didn’t know I had an alternate release. I’m primarily a pop fan anyway and so Shania’s forever a pop princess to me.
“She’s a five-foot-four brown-eyed bombshell. And with her sizzling sex appeal and sassy lyrics, she punched her way through the wall that divides the worlds of country and pop. Without a doubt, Shania Twain is more Madonna than Minnie Pearl.”
— VH1’s “Behind The Music”
She did it again with her album Up!, but this time much more obviously. Each album purchase came with two CDs, green (the country version), and red (the pop version) — and some with a third in blue (the international/world beat version). She has since so long ago been forging her path as the Queen of Country Pop.
I love her country-pop fusions –red was my bag– but I can’t say I mind listening to the originals at all. They’re excellent productions, as evidenced by her being the best-selling female artist in country music history.
Would you say the release of multiple versions is selling out? Well, it worked, she’s the 27th best selling artist of all time by album sales as of April of this year. So stuff it, haters.
[Note: All preceding fine photography was provided by Elizabeth Luther, for Libro Musica. All subsequent mobile photography was provided either by the writer, or fellow fans.]
Shania sang “Up!” atop a riser literally twenty — and then forty — feet up in the air. There was no hiding securing her to a harness, and I didn’t mind the lack of illusion at all. I can’t even imagine the adrenaline of looking out across a full arena, being barely a few feet from a tall ledge, and performing like it was the funnest moment ever, completely relaxed in my sparkly vintage-Barbie black evening dress. But I’ll try anything twice.
For “Don’t Be Stupid”, she had her power-fiddlers highlighted on one side of the underwater-motifed stage, and her power-drummer highlighted on the other. This rock country anthem got those of us up that “Up!” didn’t. But wait, there’s so much more.
Shania Twain’s NOW Tour — Act II
Shania Twain’s third biggest Billboard hit, “That Don’t Impress Me Much” gave Atlanta it’s dance-pop-treatment verve tonight, with Ms. Twain swathed in her signature cheetah gloriousness. So iconic was her cheetah-print costume in the video for this song, that cheetah-print gloves were sold as souvenirs at the tour merchandise booths, and subsequently rocked by many glamorous fans.
- That Don’t Impress Me Much, from Come On Over
- Let’s Kiss and Make Up, from NOW (Deluxe Version)
Performed in a Calypso rhythm, “Let’s Kiss and Make Up” was written after a fight with her husband — clearly it’s going well. I want the kind of marriage where I feel this inspired, playful, and joyfully willing to put aside pride for the sake of making love. I’m single, gentlemen (and I have a pair of thigh-high red suede boots like Shania wears coming up in in her next set).
Drum Solo – Elijah Wood
I couldn’t wait to find out about the incredible chick drumming for Shania’s NOW Tour. That chick… …is twenty-two year-old Elijah Wood. Elijah is transgender, in the midst of her transition process, so don’t mistake her as not the same slamming Mr. Wood who toured with Shania (Rock This Country Tour) at the age of nineteen. Talk about repeatedly proving chops, whoa!
Her cold opener for Shania tonight was HOT, cracking drum riffs that proclaimed “We Will Rock You” (à la Queen). And now at this point in the show, Elijah had a drum solo opp that kicked our asses.
Shania Twain’s NOW Tour — Act III
The glittery black cowboy hat came back on for this don’t-for-a-second-forget-I’m-a-country-artist portion of the show. These next three songs are the kind of country anthems you want played when moods are lubricated and everybody’s dancing because it’s high time. Which reminds me, tomorrow night it’s line dance lesson night at Electric Cowboy. I’m in.
- Any Man of Mine, from The Woman In Me (1995)
- Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?, from The Woman In Me
- Honey, I’m Home, from Come On Over
- I’m Alright, from NOW
Shania’s brought the house down for “I’m Alright” sitting on the stairs to first talk about surviving her sadness. I know that she’s been through some incredible challenges to her spirit in this life, and I’m glad to hear that these days she can’t complain, she’s happy, and that there actually is a light at the end of the tunnel. “It’s okay to be down once in a while, it happens to all of us, but always remember that tomorrow’s another day.” And out of her experience, she’s written my now favorite breakup song.
“I broke down, All you did was stand there, Without a sound, It came from nowhere, The truth so loud, Oh, my heart stood, Still …
I’m alive, I think I’m gonna be okay, I’m alright, Tonight …
No one comes undone the way I do, When it comes to you, And who knows, How close I was to the end, But I got back up again, Oh I’m still breathing … I’m alright, For now”
Piano Solo – Allison Cornell
In a piano solo introduction for “Soldier” — while video was displayed of soldiers with loved ones, soldiers leaving, soldiers in action, loved ones grieving — Allison Cornell played beautifully.
And turns out, she was the blue-haired female of the two extraordinary fiddlers throughout the evening, as well as backing vocalist and dynamic participant in the NOW Tour stage movement and energy.
She’s got her own music published, including this EDM/fiddle fusion version of “Rock This Country” — do check it out.
Shania Twain’s NOW Tour — Act IV
- Soldier, from NOW
- You’re Still the One, from Come On Over
- More Fun, from NOW
- From This Moment On, from Come On Over
As Shania appeared hanging from the rafters in a spotlit guitar-case-motifed suspended chair, she sang the earnest, bittersweet, “Soldier.” Her speech afterward incited a “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” chant in the audience — one which seemed to quickly be realized as oddly exceptionalist in the context of Ms. Twain being a Canadian. It faded as quickly as it started, and she graciously told us she’s so grateful she’s always felt welcome here.
I can’t blame those who forget for a moment that ours are not the only soldiers loved and often lost in the world. The video presentation during the song had specifically featured American flags, and tugged at our heartstrings for our own. “It’s a beautiful country, and it’s worth protecting.” She expressed her deep and hearty thank you to the men and women who serve, and her next song then fit so well the tender-hearted mood of the room.
For “You’re Still the One”, Shania descended to be given her guitar, and she encouraged us all to sing along. Wow, it’s been twenty years since that song came out. And tonight as she was pulled back up into the air and carried around the arena, she sang it to us, for us.
At the end, having been let out of her restraints in the middle of the floor, Shania enlisted the assistance of a rather large fan, to drape her dress train around his neck, and support her way through the crowd, back to the stage. In return this fan got mass embrace-time, and even a selfie with Ms. Twain. They ended their time together with a lift to her seat on top of the piano for what came next — even “More Fun.”
Shania calls “More Fun” her “Magic Mike” song. This wasn’t the only male bare-chested, writhing, self-crotch-grabbing portion of the concert, but it was the only one with chair dancing, and it was very very sexy. Shania is one of those 100% at-home with a retinue of male dancers surrounding her, adoring her, emphasizing her incredible femininity.
Kudos to the dancers and choreographer of the NOW tour. The gals and guys brought great spirit and sex appeal, reflecting well the intense energy of the audience throughout the night. All we needed from Shania Twain were her power poses, her shimmies, her costume flourishes, her wonderful songs, and all that unique voice has to give. We got all that in bedazzled spades, and she was well-supported.
Shania Twain’s NOW Tour — Video Montage
As the entire arena was fanning away our hots after “More Fun”, Shania’s backup crew donned for her her top hat, her fantastic feminine black overcoat, and handed her a champagne glass. She teased us by exclaiming “Man!”, inciting us to shout “I feel like a woman!!” as she posed in the pieces of her iconic costume from that video. But then she didn’t sing it!!!
Instead, Shania Twain presented a montage of some of her favorite video moments of her past. It was a costume change opportunity, and a reminder of of how stunningly beautiful and charismatic this video vixen has been. Not that we needed a reminder, mind you, but hey let’s remind ourselves.
- The Woman In Me (Needs the Man In You), from The Woman In Me
- You Win My Love, from The Woman In Me
- Don’t, from Greatest Hits (2004)
- Forever and For Always, from Up!
Shania Twain’s NOW Tour — Act V
Pop superstar show-womanship on stunning showcase for this exciting set. Starting out with a laser display and Shania in goth-cowboy overcoat that was stripped off to a nude-illusion blue-black-shimmer catsuit for the rest, this exciting dance-all-night chapter capped off with a huge silver streamer confetti explosion.
I liked it, okay! I liked the confetti explosion. I was high from dancing, and the streamers got me super happy, and I kept one. It took me like twenty minutes to wind it up, and I liked it!
You can’t get that kind of mass-joy party-energy experience without seeing an act live. I’m so glad I came. #ListenLive
- I’m Gonna Getcha Good! (Red Version), from Up! (Red)
- Party for Two (with opening act artist Bastian Baker), from Greatest Hits
- Swingin’ With My Eyes Closed (with Bastian Baker, highlighted after this article), from NOW
- (If You’re Not in It for Love) I’m Outta Here!, from The Woman In Me
Way to make an exit, lady! “I’m outta here!!!”
Just before what seemed like it would be the last number of the show the ensemble performed “Swinging With My Eyes Closed.” Another calypso/country hybrid, it’s got a difficult start and can be difficult to swallow from moment to moment, but once you get into it and give in to it too, it’s a gorgeous treat. The video, and the live performance though, are gorgeous treats from top to bottom.
The camera continues to love Shania — she’s trying her hand at dramatic acting after having in prior productions only appeared as herself. Coming soon, Ms. Twain portrays John Travolta’s girlfriend in “Trading Paint” (currently in post-production). And the world continues to be Shania Twain’s oyster.
It had been a lavish show. In fact I feel like I can speak for the arena — we would have been satisfied leaving it at that powerful close, it’s been great to re-explore this outstanding vast catalogue. #DiscoverRediscover
But turns out, while Shania is an incredible tease, she wasn’t actually going to leave us hanging without “Man, I Feel Like a Woman”…
Shania Twain’s NOW Tour — Encore
- Man! I Feel Like a Woman!, from Come On Over
- Rock This Country!, from Come On Over
Can you handle another awesomely sexy costume change, another guilty-pleasure confetti drop, more rock-god guitar and fiddle playing, more bare-chested males giving their dancing all, more sing-shouting out of your already hoarse throat? Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.
Man, what a woman.
I’m going to leave you with one of my absolute favorites of Shania’s, off Up!, and from the top of Act V. It’s a great driving song — like when driving home from a Shania Twain concert, or, driving for that late night meetup with your inspiring lover… Speaking of inspiring, meet up here after this video for info on tonight’s opening act, Bastian Baker (apparently he’s single too!).
NOW Tour Opening Act — Bastian Baker
This charming, endlessly good-looking singer songwriter needed do nothing more than be there on the bare stage with his guitar, and his smile, and his pitch perfect voice.
[Note: Preceding fine photography of Bastian Baker was provided by Elizabeth Luther, for Libro Musica. All subsequent mobile photography of Bastian Baker was provided either by the writer, or fellow fans.]
I’m not familiar with his work, so can only take a stab in the dark guess that his setlist may have included… “Leaving Tomorrow“, “Everything We Do“, “Five Fingers“, “79 Clinton Street“, “Follow the Wind“, “Dirty Thirty“, “Ain’t No Love“, “Tomorrow May Not Be Better“, “I’d Sing for You“, “Lucky“, “Nobody Should Die Alone“.
Incredibly, all of these have professionally produced videos. While he’s not known well here in the States, he’s a chart star in his home country, Switzerland. His label, Phonag, obviously knows how to procure video production talent and get it paid for. Wow, what a beautiful collection.
But I do know Bastian played a lovely cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Halleluah”, and his own darling “Tattoo On My Brain”. For both of which we were singing along with him by the end. The latter, “Tattoo On My Brain,” was written about an Atlanta girl he’d fallen for here. It was a visit that had clearly gone to his head and heart. Lucky for us.
Dead positive he didn’t play “True Love” though. Perhaps in a longer set somewhere someday he’ll play this cheeky one for you. Catch him live when you can, you won’t be disappointed.
The heart-breaking “Planned It All” is my choice hope you’ll have at least one listen. It’s from his most recent full-album release, Facing Canyons (2015). Bastian Baker continues to release additional singles.
So much more to come from this Swiss treasure Shania Twain has been generous to bring us from her now home country.