The year was 1998 — I was two years old, and I stood in front of my family’s 5-foot-deep television set while “Shania Twain: Live” played through the VHS player.
* flash forward 17 years *
It is July 25, 2015 and I just walked out of The Palace of Auburn Hills after Twain’s Rock This Country Tour. All I can think is “she’s still the one.” And it is quite possible she always will be.
Last Saturday, Shania Twain gave what can only be described as a holy performance. A stop on her farewell tour, she brought the house down with a plethora of sequins, pyrotechnics and violins — more than I’ve seen at any rock show, ever.
The setlist was spectacular — inclusive of all the hits she’s ever had, each delivered with gravitas and passion. The arena exploded with “Rock This Country” and the momentum did not stop until the final lights went out on “Man, I Feel Like A Woman.”
She emerged on stage in a red sequined piece, black tassled jacket and red bug-eye sunglasses, a look only she can pull off. She had no back up dancers, only herself and her band.
She brought the twang out on earlier, countrier hits “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under” and “Any Man of Mine,” both coming off her second LP, The Woman In Me. Conversely, she turned up the rock on tracks from her best-selling album Come on Over “Love Gets Me Everytime” and “Honey I’m Home.” The highlight of the set came from an unexpected song: “Come on Over.” The slow-rolling track managed to keep the crowd’s spirit high, while bringing everyone onto the same level, everyone could “unwind and take a load of [their] mind.”
She rode a mechanical bull 50 feet above the crowd during “Up,” the title track from her third album. The chemistry between Twain and opener Gavin Degraw during the duet “Party for Two” was infectious — they went back and forth a few times beyond the conversational lyrics, thank yous abound. However, the real showstoppers were Twain’s aura and energy. It’s not the easiest task to fill an entire arena with one woman, but she succeeded.
Despite her obstacles, vocally and personally, Twain triumphed over every expectation. She hit her notes and evoked the spirit of rock ‘n roll throughout her set, as well as emotions during an acoustic set, consisting of “Today is your Day” “No One Needs To Know” and ultimately, “From This Moment,” after which I couldn’t stop my tears from flowing.
Her story is one for the books: best selling female album of all time, married to a producer, producer cheats with her best friend and she eventually embarks on a world tour singing the songs they wrote together. If she can do that — we can all do anything.