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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 13 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 24
Shania Twain is back in the saddle at Caesars Palace
Arts & Entertainment
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Shania Twain is back in the saddle at Caesars Palace

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

SHANIA TWAIN
THE COLOSSEUM
AT CAESARS PALACE
(LAS VEGAS)
June 6


Shania Twain took a 10-year sabbatical from music - performing, recording, writing - to focus entirely on her family priorities, mainly her son Eja, who will turn 13 in a couple of months. But listening to her in concert last weekend at Caesar's Palace Hotel & Casino, you wouldn't have known it.

The country superstar drew a near sold out crowd to the Las Vegas property on Friday evening, one of many performances offered inside the 4,300-seat indoor arena this month and next.

Twain rode out to the stage on a shiny, silver motorcycle that was elevated about 50 feet from the floor - yes, a motorcycle high up in the air! - and opened with 'I'm Gonna Getcha Good!', as plumes of smoke shot up from the stage. An aluminum-colored metallic dress cut at the knee accented a well-toned, petite frame; it was one of several outfits the artist wore during the concert.

The Canadian singer-songwriter seemed reserved at first, going from song to song with little dialogue in between; though, she gradually became more involved with the audience, to the point of performing two numbers out on the main level, simultaneously singing and hugging or taking selfies with fans, many who traveled internationally - from Brazil, Ireland, The Netherlands - just to see her. Billed as 'Shania: Still the One,' the hour and 45-minute show features the Grammy winner's biggest hits wrapped into an entertaining, high-tech production that included a 13-piece band with string section, dancers, clever stage props and real horses.

For 'Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under,' Twain sported a sexy cowgirl getup complete with pink boots and Western hat in front of a pop-up saloon with swinging doors, and later strutted around in an animal print two-piece with hooded coat during 'That Don't Impress Me Much.' Her sister, Carrie Ann, harmonized on an a capella version of The Hollies' 'Carrie Ann,' a favorite of her mother's who Twain said died at a young age and didn't get to witness her amazing success.

Indeed, the proclaimed 'Queen of Country Pop' has sold over 80 million records worldwide and owns three of the all-time best-selling albums, The Woman in Me (1995), Come on Over (1997) and Up! (2002). Her accolades also include 5 Grammys, one of which was displayed in the foyer of The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, and she's already been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

Even though the concert is done repeatedly night after night, it didn't feel like an assembly line production at all. The music was authentic. Twain sang every word (and her vocals were impressive, by the way), it had audience participation, and she felt very present during the show.

'I took time off to just be a mom,' she told everyone, referring to her multi-year hiatus, and she received loud cheers throughout the venue. The crowd was a mixed bag of fans, from Gay to straight, teenagers to grandparents, and from foreigners to a barrage of Canadian followers, some from her home province of Ontario, who waved mini national flags and wore maple leaf logo-embedded trucker caps.

Twain invited about a dozen concertgoers to join her on stage for a medley of tunes, all played acoustically around a faux fireplace that emitted a mild aroma of burning wood. Among these super fans were two Gay men sharing an oversized shirt, who came all the way from The Netherlands, and a woman who'd seen Twain in Belfast many years ago, and said she made the trip to Las Vegas because it's the only place to see her. Snippets of 'Come on Over,' 'Rock This Country!' and 'Today is Your Day' were performed in this intimate stage setting.

She brought out a beautiful white horse for 'You're Still the One,' and caressed it gently while singing the ballad, which the audience joined in for the chorus. The main set concluded with 'From This Moment,' done elegantly against a backdrop of floor-to-ceiling ivory drapes and a fog-filled stage. For an encore, she ripped into a sassy rendition of 'Man! I Feel Like a Woman!', as everybody got on their feet to dance and clap along.

Surprisingly, 'Forever and Always' was left off the set list. I was so looking forward to hearing it.

Having seen Twain here in Seattle years ago, I was confident she'd deliver a great show, yet I wondered if the long break would take its toll on her vocals, or energy, or even the passion to be on a live stage. I'm very happy to report that she's still amazing, still a knockout, still enthusiastic, still personal with her fans, and still the one and the only Shania Twain.

Scattered performance dates for 'Shania: Still the One' at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace are scheduled through July 26; no extensions have been announced as of yet; however, visit www.shaniainvegas.com for possible add-on dates. Packages that include hotel room and tickets can be purchased at www.caesarspalace.com/shows/shania-twain; click on either 'Orchestra Seating' or 'Mezzanine Seating.' For tickets only or VIP packages that include 'meet n' greet' passes, go to www.axs.com/events/247659/shania-twain-tickets.

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