Country superstar Shania Twain filled the Kohl Center on May 16 in support of her latest album Queen of Me. In the early stages of an extensive North American tour, which diverts overseas for a few weeks in September, Shania brought all the bells and whistles to the UW-Madison campus venue on Wednesday night. Accompanied by a four-piece band and a pair of backup singers that took the stage a little after 8:30 p.m., Shania emerged on a trolley in the middle of the venue, playfully putting on the final touches of make-up before launching into the lead-single “Waking Up Dreaming.” Donning a vibrant red wig and sequined cape, she interacted with fans on the arena floor as she was slowly transported toward the stage.
Shania disappeared at the end of the opener, reappearing in a smoke cloud from an animated rocket leading into “Up!” Quirky animations and visual effects on the monstrous video backdrop provided necessary production and she spent plenty of time on stage in lieu of wardrobe changes. That’s not to say there weren’t other assets, such as Shania riding on a chopper during “I’m Gonna Getcha Good!” or the stripped-down, acappella intro to “Honey I’m Home” while dancers performed in the foreground.
The capacity crowd joined in for sing-alongs during smash hits “Any Man of Mine,” “Rock This Country” and obvious closer “Man I Feel Like a Woman.” Fans also joined her onstage—in what appeared to be an upscale meet-and-greet complete with nine bistro tables—during “From This Moment On.” There was also a bit of intimacy and sincerity for such a large scale production, Shania paused at one point as she sat on a stool with an acoustic guitar prior to “You’re Still the One” and gushed about a small girl on her father’s shoulders she spotted among the crowd. It was a virtually flawless two-hour extravaganza that demonstrated why Shania remains the Queen of Country.