A stunning Melbourne night saw the fans streaming into Rod Laver Arena, now these aren’t any fans, these are those that worship at the altar of leopard print, and boy oh boy, the congregation of spots and stripes were on point tonight. They came in every shape and size and every colour pattern imaginable, one night where worshipers came together and ANY combination of said pattern was worn with pride.
Swiss-born Bastian Baker was the warm-up for the night, and he had the crowd eating out of his hands in minutes. Bastian gave us a 40-minute set full of pop country, just a guy and his guitar and didn’t we love him. Even a technical glitch didn’t stop him, no microphone no problem, let’s just have a sing-a-long with the crowd. His voice was amazingly good, and his cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah quite breathtaking, with Rod Laver lighting up like a Christmas tree as fans held their phones aloft enjoying this classic. It is rare to see a support have such a huge crowd response, but Bastian wowed us easily. I had a feeling that it wouldn’t be the last time we would see him for the night, and I was correct, but more on that later.
Rod Laver was packed to the roofline, an enormous turn out for the one and only Shania Twain, and while it has been over 15 years since her last trip Downunder, the faithful have been patiently waiting and turned out in leopard print-clad force to see this delightful Canadian perform live. The buzz was electric as we waited for the show to begin, then from nowhere the ear jarringly loud We Will Rock You rang out, the enthusiastic crowd clapping along knowing the wait was almost over. But there was no point watching the stage as Shania made a sneak attack from the rear and made her way through the crowd, high fiving as she went. A lovely up-close experience for all involved.
Dressed in a stunning sparkling gown, Shania opened the nights proceeding with Life’s About To Get Good, and she was right about that, not just good but great as Come On Over came next. The stage filled with amazing cubes that projected all sorts of colours and contrasts that would become a huge part of the evening’s entertainment. With no band to be seen, but definitely heard, Shania was only accompanied by her backing vocalists until the large cubes seamlessly glided across the floor to reveal the drummer and other musicians. Shania disappeared behind the cubes only to materialise on top for Up! And up she went almost to the ceiling, singing from the rafters, such a spectacle to watch as the cubes projected black and white patterns dancing to the beat of the music. Poor Me was sung from behind large see-through stage sized curtains that had a dancer projected on them, another stunning feature, just one of countless effects over the course of the show. Don’t Be Stupid saw the cubes turn into swimming pools and the band and dancers play from the top of them, vocally amazing Shania singing with ease and the crowd loving every minute.
That Don’t Impress Me Much saw the cubes turn to leopard print stacks, and the parishioners bowed down as Shania made a stunning entry wearing the feline attire herself. The fans took to their feet for this one, singing and dancing with abandoned joy. An absolutely killer drum solo rang out as the kit glided to the front of the stage, complete with a ‘kiss cam’ giving Shania a brief reprieve and time for another costume change. Returning sporting a gorgeous black ensemble with ruby red boots to sing more hits including Any Man Of Mine and Honey I’m Home. The band full of multitalented musicians filled the stage keeping us all occupied as Shania popped up at the rear of the venue on a rotating seat to play Still The One, the arena flooded with mobile phones held high making a gorgeous display to witness. Then our very own Shania Choir accompanied the real deal to the main stage and sang a cappella to her, the group decked out in identical animal print tops but not exclusive to women with a few men catching the low notes, who said beards and animal print clash?! Shania was openly stunned at how beautiful they sounded, what a brilliant moment for them all as they grabbed a hug and a selfie and left the stage.
From This Moment On saw the curtain drop again and the most exquisite flower grow in front of our eyes during this most beautiful song. As Shania hit the high notes I could feel my goose bumps rising, showing us she still has what it takes to leave you breathless. I’m Gonna Getcha Good saw the drums rise to the roof and all the dancers and musicians appearing in suits filled with lights, add to this the cubes lighting up with fluorescent lines and it made for an amazing backdrop. Bastian returned for Party For Two and Swinging With My Eyes Closed, and we were all happy to see him. A brief mention must be given to the band, backing vocalist and dancers, they were perfection all night, thoroughly entertaining to watch and held the show in the times that Shania was off stage. A brilliant performance by each and every one.
(If You’re Not In It For Love) I’m Outta Here! Saw the fans dancing in their seats, the stage a flurry of flashing cubes and pictures, lighting hitting every mark, but there was still one song that remained elusive. As the band returned to play us a kick arse few minutes, it was coming, I could feel it in my waters, just one more costume change and we would lose our minds. The familiar intro rang out and we did just that, Rod Laver went to a craziness not seen all night and if sexy was a person it was Shania Twain! Decked out in a super short sparkly number with thigh high boots Shania owned the stage and rightly so, Man I Feel Like A Women is HER song and boy was it good. With the cubes floating in the air covered in footage of red sky and clouds we sang with gusto happy to take over the vocals. A most fitting ending to a sensationally entertaining night.
Tonight’s show left no doubt that Shania Twain is most definitely Still The One and if you get in quick you might still get a ticket for Wednesday nights show. It will impress you much!
Review Contributed by Cassandra Hale
Gallery by Lynda Buchanan
Shania Twain is touring nationally, tickets at livenation.com.au
Remaining tour dates
Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne – Dec 12
Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney – Dec 14 and 15