Hamilton, Ontario welcomed in Canada Day 2018 with the return of one of their fellow Ontario musical superstars, Shania Twain. Twain last performed in Hamilton in 2015, with previous stops in 2003 and 1999. As we arrived in downtown Hamilton, it was quite evident that this city was ready for another dose of her take on country music. This was an especially exciting show for my wife, as Shania Twain was her very first concert back in 1999 at this same venue (back when it was Copps Coliseum). Needless to say, Shania Twain was all that we played on the radio during our ride up from Buffalo that evening.
The venue had lines surrounding it on all sides, as fans mobbed every entrance in anticipation of the big show. Unsurprisingly, fans were decked out in cowboy hats/boots and plenty of Shania Twain t-shirts, both new and old. We made our way in rather quickly, got situated, and the show began promptly at 7:30.
On this tour, direct support was provided by Bastian Baker, a Swiss artist whose entire set consisted of himself and an acoustic guitar. This performance was fun, entertaining and just long enough to get the crowd warmed up for the evening’s headliner. His balance of acoustic folk-pop songs and humor was very reminiscent of an artist like Jason Mraz. If you’re catching an upcoming date on this tour, get to your seat by showtime, you won’t want to miss this! Some notable songs from his set included a tune called “Tattoo on My Brain” and a great cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”
We didn’t have to wait long between acts. Shania Twain opened her set right about 8:40 pm. A single spotlight shone at the B stage (near the soundboard in the back of the arena) where her drummer was pounding away at a single drum to the beat of Queen’s “We Will Rock You” while Shania and her entourage made their way down from the concourse passing through hundreds of fans as she walked from the back of the arena to the stage.
The show opened with the new track “Life’s About to Get Good” and then right into “Come On Over” before ascending to the top of the stage to perform “Up!” The stage was set up with a series of five large video cubes. Throughout the evening, they changed formation and displayed anything from background designs to video.
As expected, the set included lots of wardrobe changes throughout, ranging from the elegant glittery dress Shania started the set with to a full-on western look, complete with a plain shirt, denim jeans, and a cowboy hat and boots. While the entire set was extremely well-received, the fans went absolutely nuts over her biggest hits, including “That Don’t Impress Me Much,” You’re Still the One,” “From This Moment On”, “I’m Gonna Getcha Good” and “(If You’re Not in It for Love) I’m Outta Here!”
While performing the new track “Soldier,” Twain was elevated above the crowd on a swing which brought her over the floor and out to the second stage where a uniformed soldier (part of the stage performance) was waiting. She picked up a guitar and segued directly into “Your Still the One” as she was again lifted and returned to the main stage. A short time later, Bastian Baker was invited back on stage to duet for the song “Party For Two.” He remained on stage to play guitar with the band for “Swingin’ With My Eyes Closed” before Twain closed out the main set with “(If You’re Not in It for Love) I’m Outta Here!”
For the encore, we got one of Twains’ biggest hits “Man! I Feel Like a Woman” and “Rock This Country” to close out the night. As fans of all ages exited the venue to welcome in Canada Day, it’s clear this crowd went home with a full heart. Shania Twain’s return to touring has been widely welcomed with open arms. If this show was any indication, it’s clear she’s just as happy to be back out on the road with her fans again.
Shania Twain is currently on tour in support of her 2017 release, “Now.” Catch her on tour in North America through August 4 before she heads over to a Europe for a fall tour.