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Shania Twain shows her hit-filled prerogative at Des Moines concert


Des Moines Register
By Matthew Leimkuehler
July 26, 2018


Shania Twain knows how to make an entrance.

The singer didn’t appear from behind a backstage curtain, the physical divide between been fan and star. She appeared next to her followers, at the top of section 104 in Wells Fargo Arena.

She blew kisses, waved and gave high fives as she walked down the section, making her way through the floor of onlookers and to the stage where she’d spend the next two hours.

“Are you ready, Des Moines?” she asked.

Yes, they were.

Grammy Award-winning country singer Shania Twain returned Wednesday night to Iowa’s largest indoor venue, bringing a crowd of 12,765 to downtown Des Moines. The show comes in support of “Now,” Twain’s 2017 album and first studio release in 15 years.

She’s Still The One: Twain played a handful of songs off “Now,” a record that leans heavily into modern pop — as her music's done for decades — and her audience responded respectfully. They swayed to the softer numbers and nodded along to the unfamiliar, yet upbeat takes (Enter: "More Fun," a track Twain said was influenced by the film "Magic Mike").

The ballads off “Now” worked best — “I'm Alright" and "Poor Me" both resonated behind Twain's vocals.

"It’s very therapeutic to share with other people," Twain, introducing "Poor Me," said. "My hope is to inspire all of you whenever you’re feeling broken-hearted or cheated or betrayed. You’re not alone." 

Still, it’s with her band behind the fiddle that Twain best pleases her crowd.

It’s "Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?" and "Any Man of Mine" and "That Don't Impress Me Much" that lights up Wells Fargo Arena.

And she knows it, giving nod to the daughters in the crowd, raised on Twain's music by the mothers who made the trip with 'em to the show.

It's when she swings above the crowd during the acoustic "You're Still The One" and stomps her boots to a full-band "Honey, I'm Home" that she shows just how well her voice can still fill an arena.

Twain played 21 tracks Wednesday night, going back as far as the mid-1990s and her sophomore album, "The Woman In Me."

“Life would be so boring without you guys, I’m tellin' ya,” the Canadian-born singer said. “I’m so grateful to all of you."

Man! It feels like a pop show: It’s a country show with pop presence. It’s a pop show with country twang. It’s … both?

Twain’s pop influence doesn’t stop with composition. She brings elements of her adopted genre with backing dancers, moving stage pieces and a free-flowing band.

She'd boast up to seven back-up singers for one number ("I'm Alright") and send herself gliding through the crowd on a suspended swing for the next ("Solider").

Her stage featured five moving blocks, covered in screens that projected images ranging from her iconic music '90s music videos to a crowd-favorite kiss cam. Her band members would move between blocks with each song. 

These elements wouldn't be out of place at the arena's next big pop show, yet feel welcoming even during Twain's honky-tonk moments — another example of her ability to blur genre lines.

Rock this encore: The set drew to a close with Twain inviting affable Swedish opener Bastian Baker back on stage for a back-to-back duet of 2004's "Party For Two" and 2017's "Swingin' With My Eyes Closed." Twain then took the audience to her initial show closer, "(If You're Not In It For Love) I'm Outta Here!"

She left the stage, only to return for a two-song encore featuring the hit that'd leave the crowd most pleased: "Man! I Feel Like A Woman."

"The best thing about being a woman," she sang, "is the prerogative to have a little fun."

And her audience couldn’t agree more.

Twain closed with "Rock This Country." White confetti exploded from the stage as the band played her out.

"Thank you, Des Moines," she said.

Setlist

Life's About To Get Good 
Come On Over
Up! 
Poor Me 
Don't Be Stupid (You Know I Love You) 
That Don't Impress Me Much 
Let's Kiss and Make Up 
Any Man of Mine 
Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under? 
Honey, I'm Home 
I'm Alright 
Solider
You're Still The One 
More Fun 
From This Moment On
I'm Gonna Getcha Good 
Party for Two (ft. Bastian Baker) 
Swingin' With My Eyes Closed (ft. Bastian Baker) 
(If You're Not In It For Love) I'm Outta Here!
Encore: 
Man! I Feel Like A Woman 
Rock This Country

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