Concert Review: Shania Twain in Pittsburgh

by Michael Rampa

shania-twain_pantherThe Eagles tried to quit touring – twice. The Who, three times. They’re both still out there. Shania Twain is the latest icon who may be crying wolf about ditching the road. Now less than a month shy of her 50th birthday, she publicly declared this to be her last tour, “I want to go out with a bang,” she said. Thus the aptly titled, “Rock This Country” tour was booked in 48 cities.

On Friday night in Pittsburgh, the show started off a little flat with Twain looking somewhat road weary, radiating considerably less energy and a voice that did not sound like she finished her pre show vocal warmup. But three songs in, she morphed into mega superstar mode. Kickstarted by the honky Tonkin’ “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under,” she progressively took more control of the 15,000 seat arena and the fans who simply melted into her charisma.

From there, she delivered the rest of a 19-song greatest hits set from three of the best-selling albums of all time. Throw a dart at the set list and you probably knew the song. She pulled a young woman from the crowd to sing “Don’t Be Stupid (You Know I Love You) and she proceeded to dominate the number, refusing to hand the mic back over to an obviously amused Twain. “I’ve never performed that song as a duet. “Twain chucked.

The next duet was “Party For Two” where she brought out opener Gavin Degraw and emphatically dubbed him as “one of the best singers EVER.”  It was a perfect high energy lead up to halfway point as she went acoustic for “You’re Still The One and “From This Moment On.”

There were plenty of old school production. Pyro, fireworks and lasers matched her flashy stage presence, but were a bit overdone at times.

Likewise, the two interludes of super sexy photo shoots from 25 years ago on three 40 foot screens was not necessary. The Canadian has made no secret of her reservations about turning 50 but her still stunning good looks belie her age and the trip to the eye candy store seemed to be more aimed at assuaging her insecurities.

She is the top selling female country artist of all time, has a command of arenas she has maintained her entire career and a new album underway. Last time around? We’ll see. We’ve heard that many times before. It looks like there are a lot of good miles left on these tires.

Gavin Degraw put in an energetic 45 minutes of his hits and even managed to squeeze in Billy Joel’s Big Shot and Bryan Adams’ “Heaven.”

For more about Shania Twain, visit www.shaniatwain.com

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