Music News & Reviews

Shania Twain’s ready to leave the stage, focus on music

AP

Shania Twain’s “Rock this Country” tour is a reunion and retirement.

The tour, which lands Sunday, Aug. 23, at the Save Mart Center, is a reintroduction to fans, who haven’t seen the country singer in more than a decade. Twain’s last last tour was in 2004.

It promises to be unlike anything she has done before. It’s bigger, better and with more dynamic high-tech production. Already, the tour has nearly sold out in 70 cities and is ranked as a top 10 global concert tour by Fresno-based trade publication Pollstar.

It also promises to be the singer’s last, ending a performance career that started at 8 years old and earned her a spot as country music’s seminal crossover star.

“This is the end,” Twain says in a teleconference interview. “I’m going to have the most fun I’ve had on stage.”

Rock singer Gavin DeGraw opens the show.

In the mid-1990s, Shania Twain was arguably the most popular country music artist in the world. Her music took contemporary country-pop and gave it the kind of rock production normally applied to bands like AC/DC or Def Leppard. Her 1997 record “Come on Over” became the best-selling country album of all time and made Twain an MTV sensation. She was the face of empowered female pop in the years before Britney Spears. She was also the face of Revlon.

Since her last tour, Twain has been mostly absent from the music world. She took a break to raise her son, then had a messy (and much publicized) split from her husband record producer Mutt Lange and suffered vocal cord damage that made her question whether she would sing again.

Those struggles went far beyond career concerns, Twain says, and were only overcome with massive amount of physio- and vocal therapy and adjusting to the fact that her voice had changed and would never be quite the same.

The effects on her voice still linger. Her nightly warm ups are now an hour-and-a-half process of body and vocal exercises.

Twain reemerged in 2012 with a much publicized residency at The Colosseum at Ceasars Palace in Las Vegas. The show ran for two years, got rave reviews and convinced the singer she needed to go back on the road one last time.

No. 8 the rank of the“Rock this Country” tour on Pollstar’s list of global tours

For two years, the fans came to her. She was ready to go to the fans, to meet them in their hometowns.

“I realized I missed being out on the touring stage,” she says.

This tour is informed by her Vegas experience in other ways, too. Those shows were in a controlled environment, she says. She played the same venue every night to audiences that were close to the stage. She performed among them. The trick of this tour was finding a way to translate that intimacy into an arena atmosphere.

She has. The production includes giant video screens and a mechanical saddle that puts Twain right out and above the crowds.

While she loves the interaction of being on stage, Twain has realized that the performing part of her career was a phase. She’s become less extroverted in her creative pursuits.

And those creative pursuits take focus and time, two thing that can be in short supply while on the road, she says. In fact, this tour is a tug-of-war between playing the hits every night and working on her new album. She’s writing songs and recording vocals in mobile studios in between stops. The album will likely be done just as the tour is completed.

Writing music is enough, she says. Twain would be fine leaving the performing to someone else entirely. She hopes to do as much in the future. Post-tour, she’ll devote more time to writing songs for other artists.

Twain devoted a large part of her career to performing. Perhaps too large.

“I haven’t made enough records in my life,” she says. “I’ve got a whole bunch of album that I still want to make.”

It’s certainly not my retirement from music.

Shania Twain

Joshua Tehee: 559-441-6479, @joshuatehee

Shania Twain

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