A&E

Still the one: Shania Twain makes a triumphantly gaudy comeback

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Shania shines in her Colosseum debut weekend.
Photo: Eric Kabik

The Details

Three stars
SHANIA TWAIN
December 2, Colosseum at Caesars Palace.
December 2, Colosseum at Caesars Palace. Shows continue December 6, 8, 9, 11, 12, 14 & 15; 7:30 p.m.; $55-$250; 731-7208.

At the second show of her new two-year Vegas residency, Shania Twain already seemed right at home onstage at the Colosseum, delivering a 100-minute set of her greatest hits (including “That Don’t Impress Me Much,” “You’re Still the One” and “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!,” still one of the most obnoxious pop songs of the last two decades) and taking time to connect directly with the audience. Before the debut of her Still the One show the previous night, Twain hadn’t performed live since 2004, but all of the planning and rehearsing (the show was announced a year and a half ago) paid off: She was energetic and engaged, and while her voice often sounded a little thin, she could belt out a strong hook when it was called for (and most of her songs have strong hooks).

The show’s not-so-secret weapon wasn’t the elaborate staging or the live horses Twain rode out from backstage twice during the show (one of whom, naturally, did his business onstage, necessitating cleanup by the people with easily the worst job in the production), but the trio of back-up singers who augmented Twain’s vocals and made each song sound richer and fuller. Twain frequently had all three center stage with her, and in her long, rambling intro to a campfire-themed segment (complete with excruciating audience participation), she gave them glowing introductions, singing a brief a cappella version of The Hollies’ “Carrie Anne” with twin brothers Ryan and Dan Kowarsky, and then revealing the song’s namesake, her sister Carrie Ann Brown, as the previously anonymous third back-up singer.

Twain’s entire band sounded so good, whether on the bubblegummy arena rock of the show’s first section or the down-home country of the horse-defecating segment, that it wasn’t even that big a deal when they drowned her out. The show was gloriously cheesy (Twain wore six different outfits, all but one of which sparkled; the sexy male back-up dancers doubled as sexy fiddlers) and very Vegas, without losing the distinctive personality that Twain has made sure to infuse into her performance. As she settles back into playing live, Twain may very well strengthen her vocals, and even if she doesn’t, she’s got a great band and a fun show to make up the difference.

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Josh Bell

Josh Bell is the film editor for Las Vegas Weekly, where he's been writing movie and TV reviews since 2002. ...

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