April 23, 2004
Philips Arena - Atlanta, GA

        Emerson Drive:

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Shania Twain:

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“Shania Twain knows what her audience wants.” That’s what kept repeating in my head throughout the kickoff show of the 2004 leg of the Up tour. She’s the most successful female artist in history (yep, you read right) not because of her talent or her songs but because she makes the masses feel connected to her. Sure, she had the big show requirements. There were hits galore, lots of colorful pyro, a massive high tech in-the-round stage and a light show that could safely guide in U.F.O.’s. That wasn’t the attraction. Instead, it was the way that Shania was making every effort to reach every person in the huge arena, managing to make it almost feel like a club. Throughout the show, she circled the edges of the stage signing autographs for everyone that came near. She must’ve signed at least one item for each person on the floor. If it wasn’t that, she was talking to individuals. At one point, she pulled a guy up on stage from the front row. Even at that close range, he wanted more. He was using binoculars. She wrapped her arm around him,” Is that close enough?” He still didn’t seem to think so. Then there were raffle winners on stage. Two girls who’d helped raise money for charity came up to have their photos taken and (you guessed it) get autographs. From my point of few, it destroyed the show’s pacing. Couldn’t they have done that at a meet and greet? Ah, but that’s what gives her the common touch necessary for “country” music, isn’t it?

She even showed off the bruise on her arm, a “horse love bite” she received the day before while riding. The audience was charmed. Oh, I almost forgot, there was some music. From the opening strains of “Man, I Feel Like A Woman” to “That Don’t Impress Me Much,” the crowd was “up” and singing along. Personally, I heard very little that could even loosely be called country. Several of the songs sounded like updated versions of Loverboy’s “Loving Every Minute Of It” (which was not coincidentally produced by Shania’s husband Mutt Lange). The only real difference was the liberal use of fiddles whenever the chorus rolled around. She almost got the right twang with “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under” but by and large, this was pure pop. It was a ‘70s variety show with modern effects. You should’ve heard Atlanta singing along with “You’re Still The One.” It was huge. Honestly, there wasn’t much in the way of passion or emotional power, but there was a good time had by all. Shania gave ‘em everything they wanted. “Shania Twain knows what her audience wants”…and she delivers.


Chris McKay /




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