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Man, Shania Twain feels like a comeback

After a rocky period, the singer is back on tour and performing at the Wells Fargo Center

The Intelligencer
By Ed Condran
July 4, 2018


It’s fitting that just prior to Taylor Swift’s pair of gigs next Friday and Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field, Shania Twain will perform July 12 at the Wells Fargo Center.

An argument could be made that if there was no Twain, the version fans know of Swift wouldn’t exist. Much like Swift, Twain was a young, energetic, videogenic singer, who leaned on a producer who helped mold her many hits. Swift relies on Swedish knob twiddler Max Martin and Twain had her husband Mutt Lange.

Lange transformed Twain from a forgettable country singer to a rock star. Twain went from sporting bland denim to leather and thigh high boots, which again recalls Swift, who morphed from the girl-next-door to a sex symbol over recent years.

The biggest hits of AC/DC and Def Leppard’s career were produced by Lange. “Working with Mutt was like working with no other producer,” Def Leppard vocalist Joe Elliott says. “He knows how to make hits. He’ll work you until you’re dead tired but it’s worth it. He did that with us and he did it with Shania. He helped make her songs perfectly catchy. But she had a lot to do with it. What a great talent.”

Twain, 52, like Swift, didn’t become just a star. She became a very successful empowering figure. “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” became an anthem for females. “Come On Over,” the album, which featured her breakthrough hit, sold more than 40 million copies, the most ever by a female recording artist. It seemed as if Twain, who grew up a Canadian farm girl, was infallible. The ’90s were her period. But then everything went awry the following decade.

Twain lost her, voice courtesy of Lyme disease. She also lost her marriage. Lange left Twain for her best friend. She recovered the former but she and Lange never reconciled. Twain never thought that she would sing again, and didn’t record a song for 15 years. She believed that her 2002 tour, which ended in 2004, was her last. However, thanks to surgery, Twain is back on the road. She had laryngoplasty, an operation to reconstruct the vocal box.

The charismatic performer started a Las Vegas residency in 2012, and followed with her comeback album, “Now.” Twain, who wrote the collection of revelatory songs, doesn’t deliver the hooks like her ex-husband but she pens vulnerable, moving songs inspired by her husband’s adultery and her former friend’s actions.

But Twain’s early life also was far from perfect. She grew up in an abusive environment in the Canadian hinterlands, where, she wrote, alcohol abuse was prevalent. Twain claims in her book that a third of her relatives committed suicide.

Twain toughed it out personally and professionally. If her show is anything like what she presented during the ’90s, expect a provocative and sassy performance from one of pop music’s greatest comeback stories.

If You Go

Shania Twain appears July 12 at the Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Pattison Ave., Philadelphia. Tickets are $39.95, $49.95, $54.95, $69.95 and $99.95. Show time is 8 p.m. For more information: 215-336-3600 or wellsfargocenterphilly.com

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