The Come On Over superstar is no stranger to New Zealand as she and her, now ex, husband Robert “Mutt” Lange bought a sizeable property on the South Island back in 2004 (Lange now owns it himself). But until last night, Shania Twain, who still holds the record for most biggest selling studio album for a female artist thanks to the 40 million-plus fans who bought 1997’s Come On Over, an album the spawned a jaw-dropping 12 singles, had never performed in New Zealand.
It was those hits that the (mostly female) fans came out to hear last night as Shania’s Now tour drew to a close.
Now is the title of Twain’s most recent album... only her fifth and her first in 15 years. Over those 15 years, her remarkable career was thrown into doubt thanks to disease and the breakup of her marriage to Lange.
Not surprisingly, Shania was anxious to show off her new songs... many of them quite personal responses to the heartbreak she endured thanks to that very public breakup. So, there was always going to be a bit of tension between what the fans wanted (the hits) and what Shania wanted (the new songs).
Fortunately, the 18-song set found a neat balance between the two, giving Shania plenty of room to share her emotional backstory while performing songs such as Poor Me and I’m Alright, then revving up the audience with hits such as That Don’t Impress Me and I’m Gonna Getcha Good.
Of course that was a high-tech, slickly-produced show with plenty of glitz… not just the many dazzling costume changes… but the eye-popping set based around huge moving cubes and curtains.
Shania herself was accompanied by four dancers/backing vocalists and a band that, more often than not, seemed like props rather than musicians. Drummer Elijah Wood was constantly being shuttled around on the stage with her platform of percussion, pounding feverishly while her long blonde hair fluttered in the air.
Despite her problems with her voice over the years, Shania sounded spot-on, confidently strutting the stage in high heels, belting out her songs.
Highlights included a semi-acoustic version of You’re Still The One, sung from a platform at the rear of the venue and followed by an entertaining bit of interaction with a couple of audience members. And the addition of Swiss vocalist Bastian Baker spiced up versions of Party For Two and Swingin’ With My Eyes Closed.
There were a few questionable musical interludes to allow for costume changes that sounded, to these ears, like bombastic 80s hair metal… I guess Mutt Lange’s influence is still in there.
But for most in the audience, it was a chance to go back twenty years and revel in the music of their youth with songs that were as empowering as those by the Spice Girls. For Twain however, it seemed like an opportunity to say, “I’m still here… we had a lot of fun back in the day, and it's not over yet”.
Shania Twain returns to Spark Arena tonight (December 19th) before wrapping up her tour at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Saturday (December 22nd).
Shania Twain set list:
- Life’s About To Get Good
- Come On Over
- Poor Me
- Don’t Be Stupid (You Know I Love You)
- That Don’t Impress Me Much
- Any Man Of Mine
- Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?
- Honey, I’m Home
- I’m Alright
- You’re Still The One
- More Fun
- From This Moment On
- I’m Gonna Getcha Good
- Party For Two
- Swingin’ With My Eyes Closed
- (If You’re Not In It For Love) I’m Outta Here!
- Man! I Feel Like A Woman!