THE opening date of Shania Twain’s first European tour in 15 years was a night of 10,000 rhinestones, a big-budget 21st century pop take on the classic country ornamentation of the ’60s and ’70s but with none of the accompanying storytelling flair or kitchen sink melodrama.
Shania Twain, Hydro, Glasgow ***
Twain has had her share of personal dramas in the interim years, battling illness and vocal problems, and says she has turned to music to cheer herself up, hence the banal escapism of curtain raiser Life’s About To Get Good and the subsequent production line of mid-paced manicured country pop numbers, making no great demands on the listener.
The Now tour is a restless, techy collage of moving stages, costume changes and visual trickery. Yet, for all the production values, the show lacked fun and character until Twain rolled out her wittiest track, That Don’t Impress Me Much, an impish symphony in signature leopardskin, and broke from its slick choreography to engage in some ad hoc interaction with audience members.
Her multi-tasking band, dancers and backing singers worked like Trojans to maintain a smooth swan-like surface for Twain to glide on, below which the more traditional bluegrass and zydeco flavours of her music fought a losing battle against the arena rock pomp of some of the song arrangements.
Her big blah ballads You’re Still The One and From This Moment On presumably hit the spot for those who like that sort of thing, but there were further longueurs on the road to climactic party anthem Man! I Feel Like a Woman!