Wednesday, November 24, 1999

CONCERT REVIEW


Shania Twain repetitive, but still real

BY JAY WEBBER
Enquirer contributor

        It was deja vu at Firstar Center Monday night as pop-country sensation Shania Twain paid a second visit to Cincinnati, just as her 18-month tour is winding down.

        Though ticket prices have risen $10, and a half an hour has been cut from the show, Monday's performance was a near carbon copy of Ms. Twain's hugely successful Riverbend show from August 1998.

        As a result, much of the anticipation and many of the pleasant surprises that made that initial appearance so memorable were absent this time, which is not to say the show was a poor one. But for the casual Shania Twain fan, this show did not meet the high standards last year's show set.

        Once again backed by a nine-piece band and sharing the stage with occasional pyrotechnics, a searchlight and synchronized treadmills, Ms. Twain tore through 15 numbers in just over 90 minutes. From the opening string of “Rock This Country!”, “Honey, I'm Home” and “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?” to crowd favorites “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” and “Don't Be Stupid,” the uptempo pace was rarely broken.

        Musical moments notwithstanding, there was no greater display of excitement than the roars that filled the packed arena when Ms. Twain was carried triumphantly through the audience halfway through the show. That euphoria, as well as the large number of fans willing to ante up for low-visibility seating behind the stage, were clear indications of Ms. Twain's overwhelming popularity.

        For this viewer, though, the most impressive facet of Shania Twain's performance was not the music, which was solid, or the stage show, which was entertaining, but Ms. Twain's gracious personality.

        In the past year as her star has grown, being named country music's Entertainer of the Year and seeing her album Come on Over pass the 14 million mark in sales, Ms. Twain has not lost her rapport with fans.

        Constantly signing autographs, shaking hands and chatting with the audience, Ms. Twain seems to genuinely care about others.

        Parts of her concert proceeds continue to benefit local soup kitchens, and she still spotlights local talent. She closed her Firstar show alongside members of the Walton-Verona High School Band in a fun version of “I'm Outta Here! (If You're Not in it For Love).”

        A superstar entertainer not spoiled by success? So far, so good for Shania Twain.

       



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