With Gavin DeGraw
American Airlines Center, Dallas
Monday, August 10, 2015
She’s baaaaaaack. You love her. You karaoke her songs when you’re blackout drunk. She’s the queen of the country-pop crossover and you and Taylor Swift are forever thankful to her for that.
She’s Shania Effin’ Twain and she’s rock ‘n' roll, baby.
OK, so Twain is a little cheesy. During Monday night’s concert at the American Airlines Center, Twain appeared for her first song, “Rock This Country,” which is also the name of the big comeback tour, in a getup that resembled an ad for Meryl Streep’s Ricki and the Flash. She wore a red sparkly jumpsuit, a black fringe jacket, knee-high boots and red-tinted sunglasses. She looked like a movie character pretending to be a rock star. Basically, she looked exactly like one of country and pop’s biggest superstars decades after her first hit song.
But who the hell cares? You probably don’t. I don’t. The audience sure as hell didn’t. They waited months and years and decades for this woman to rise from the popstar graveyard and reign supreme again.
And she did that. For the most part.
Throughout the night, there was so much fire coming out of the stage during every song. It actually began to get hot in the arena. Minutes later, the smell of the explosions would continue to linger.
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Twain played all of her biggest hits (“Any Man of Mine,” “Come On Over,” “Man! I Feel Like a Woman”), which pleased the crowd. The crowd was surprisingly young; young girls in cowboy boots and sundresses were everywhere. “Some of you have not seen me on tour before, but if you have, you were, like, three,” Twain joked.
She played some lesser-known songs, like “I Ain’t No Quitter." The crowd took their seats for that one, but sat mesmerized by the shirtless dancing cowboys that appeared on the big screen behind Twain.
Gags like that happened all night. But just when you thought you had survived all of them, suddenly Twain was on a mechanical bull flying over the crowd. The bull was attached to part of the stage, and as she began explaining her next song, it began to lift off. The next thing you knew, she was flying over the arena, singing “Up.”
She also made time to play some songs acoustically, like “Today Is Your Day.” “I got myself through a hard time when I wrote this song,” she told the crowd.
Then she brought out her opening act, Gavin DeGraw, to sing “Party for Two.” During both of their sets, they gushed about each other, and after their duet, I was 100 percent sure they were going to bite the bullet and make out on stage. They didn’t.
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Yes, the sole opening act was DeGraw, and no, don’t adjust your monitors — you read that correctly. The only thing weirder than pop-rock singer DeGraw opening for country-pop goddess Twain was witnessing a bunch of 60-something-year-old men in cowboy hats sit and stare at an enthusiastic DeGraw singing lyrics like, “Night sky full of drones/This neighborhood of clones.” When DeGraw can carry the House of Blues by himself, watching him perform to deaf ears didn’t feel right.
But Twain captivated the thousands inside AAC. During her encore, “Man! I Feel Like a Woman,” the crowd treated it as one big karaoke party. Whether she was lip-synching or not (something I went back and forth on all night), people danced and enjoyed the hell out of it. They had waited long enough for it.