“Ain’t nothin’ better / We beat the odds together / I’m glad we didn’t listen / Look at what we would be missin’”
Over the past couple of years, Shania Twain has been building up to something. From teaming with Orville Peck on “Legends Never Die” to her new album, titled Queen of Me, which is filled with dance-heavy tracks with a message of self-love. It’s a common theme in her music, and it’s one that resonates with not only her fans but musical artists across the spectrum.
I hadn’t seen a Shania Twain concert before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect heading into a sold-out Merriweather Post Pavilion on Tuesday night. But having heard of her legendary performances, I couldn’t pass up the chance to finally witness this icon who Taylor Swift recently called, “the best.”
When I arrived at Merriweather Post Pavilion early on June 27, there were already lines around the block. Pink cowboy and cowgirl hats that flashed and glowed dotted the grounds. Amid the boots and glitter were signs that this was not your ordinary concert. And a big banner over the stage read: “Happy Pride to all the Kings, Queens, and Inbetweens! Love, Shania x.”
But that was just the tip of what was to come. As the stage was set a procession of boxes made their way across the back of the pavilion only to stop as Shania Twain emerged from one of them to sing “Waking Up Dreaming” to — and among — the crowded venue. And once she was back to the stage, like magic she appeared in a stream of smoke at the top of the risers. Now this is how you grab an audience!
From the pop styled “I’m Gonna Getcha Good” as she rode a horse-shaped motorcycle to getting everyone up out of their seats and dancing to the country twang of “Giddy Up!” from the new record, it was a wild ride.
There were, of course, those foot-stompin’ hits like “Any Man of Mine,” with the stage lit up like an old saloon with swinging doors, horses, and… little green aliens. But the newer songs fit in perfectly and had punch that kept the party going.
A consummate show person, Shania was not content to just “sing the hits,” as she brought up on the stage some of her youngest fans and sang a couple of numbers that they picked out. And then there was an email that a fan had written to her which got her to call him up to sing a song too.
Watch the official music video for “Giddy Up!” by Shania Twain on YouTube:
“I don’t say that lightly. I’m having the time of my life right now. I really am,” Shania Twain told the crowd during a break in between songs. And she genuinely did. Playing off the members of her band, and crouching down to reach out to the fans in the orchestra pit, Twain seemed be relishing the moment. Shania Twain even got everyone in the audience to do a three-part harmony to kick off the song “Honey, I’m Home.”
The highlight of the evening was a big medley that she started off by explaining she hadn’t done a lot of these songs live on stage or in a long time. And there were those big, country moments, like “Rock This Country!” with the stage lit up with the stars and stripes.
After ending the regular set with the title song from her new album, Queen of Me, Shania returned for an encore in the outfit she used for her video of “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” Black suit, top hat, with a nod to Robert Palmer’s “Sharp Dressed Man.”
I have always admired Shania Twain’s music, but never having seen her perform live I was thoroughly impressed not only at the sheer performance, but I was blown away at how she made it about the fans there to see the show. A great night for some old fashioned fun!
The setlist included:
Waking Up Dreaming
Don’t Be Stupid (You Know I Love You)
I’m Gonna Getcha Good!
Come on Over
You’re Still The One
Any Man of Mine
Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?
Honey, I’m Home
Rock This Country!
Nah! / She’s Not Just a Pretty Face / Waiter! Bring Me Water! / When / Thank You Baby! (for Makin’ Someday Come So Soon)
(If You’re Not in It for Love) I’m Outta Here! (with fans from the crowd)
From This Moment On (with fans from the crowd)
Forever and for Always
Queen of Me
That Don’t Impress Me Much
Man! I Feel Like a Woman!
Here are more photos of Shania Twain performing at Merriweather Post Pavilion on Tuesday, June, 27, 2023. All photos copyright and courtesy of David LaMason.