She hasn’t played a live show in more than eight years – but when she roared onto the Caesar’s Palace stage on a glistening motorcycle Saturday night, decked out in a black sequined cat suit, Shania Twain made a thunderous return.
And with that entrance, and the standing ovation that followed, the 47-year-old Canadian country icon launched the next phase of her illustrious career – a glitzy Las Vegas residency called “Shania: Still the One.”
"Thank you. Thank you so much — you guys are going to get me all emotional, and then my eyelashes are going to fall off," said Twain, dabbing at her eyes as she addressed the audience for the first time.
"This is a very overwhelming night.... It's been a lot of years for me since I've been here. I realize what I've been missing, thanks to you."
From there, it was all about Vegas-sized spectacle. Before launching into “Ain’t No Quitter,” Twain – who has sold a whopping 75 million albums worldwide – charged onto the Wild West-themed stage on a black stallion; during “That Don’t Impress Me Much,” huge metal pipes churned out smoke at either side of the stage as snarling leopards were projected on the walls.
During “You’re Still the One,” the five-time Grammy winner arrived on stage on a white horse as snowflake-shaped confetti fell in a Vegas-style winter wonderland.
Then there were the outfits. Paying homage to her 1990s videos, which were in constant MTV rotation, Twain donned a modified version of the leopard-print hoodie from the video for “That Don’t Impress Me Much”; at another point, she wore the black coat and bowler hat from “Man! I Feel Like a Woman."
According to the Canadian Press, other glitzy get-ups included a sparkling pink western button-down with matching cowboy boots, a glittery tank top with animal print pants, and a long white gown for “You’re Still the One.”
But it wasn’t all about Vegas-sized glamour: the show also featured moments of heartfelt solemnity as Twain referenced her brutal childhood in Timmins, Ontario, which was scarred by poverty, her parents’ violent marriage, and a fatal car accident that left the young Twain the sole provider for her siblings.
"We were the hicks from the sticks. We really didn't have much," she said of her family, before paying tribute to her mom. "I talk about my mother a lot because I miss her. She passed away a long time ago and she never got to see any of my success.... I wouldn't have made it onstage without her. So it's kind of sad she couldn't see it."
Even after she achieved worldwide fame, Twain has faced major adversity – including a painful split for her husband and creative collaborator Robert “Mutt” Lange, and years of vocal rehabilitation – which makes her triumphant return all the more remarkable.
The singer’s initial run in the casino mecca will include 10 performances through mid-December, followed by a 14-show stint next March.
To launch the show two weeks ago, the country star – who was a major influence on an entire generation of country stars, among them Taylor Swift – paraded along the Vegas Strip with 40 horses; now the same area is lined with “Still the One” billboards.
On sale at local gift shops are Twain-themed replica bowler hats, t-shirts with silvery horses, body lotions, mugs featuring her lyrics, and even pink wicker cowboy hats.
“Shania: Still the One” by the numbers:
Number of members in Twain's band: 13
Number of live horses used in production: Two
Number of years Twain has known horse trainer Ramon Becerra: 20-plus
Number of seats in Colosseum: 4,298
Size of Colosseum's high-definition LED screen, one of the largest in North America: 10.3 metres by 33 metres, weighing 28 tonnes
Number of records Twain has sold worldwide: Over 75 million
Number of Grammy Awards won by Twain: Five
Number of Top 10 singles released by Twain in Canada: Nine
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Jennifer Van Evra
on Dec 02, 2012