CHARLOTTETOWN - There are concerts and then there are concerts.
© TC Media - The Guardian
Shania Twain performs for a large crowd at the Charlottetown Waterfront Saturday night. The concert was Twain's first in Atlantic Canada in 15 years.
And then thereâs Shania.
What Shania Twain gave her 23,000 fans in Charlottetown Saturday night was, for many of them, the concert of a lifetime.
She was exciting, she was engaging, she was funny and she was incredibly entertaining.
And she was right there in front of you.
âI canât believe sheâs here, I canât believe Iâm here with Shania Twain, this is an amazing night,â said Jim Evaniuk, of Oshawa. âWe traveled all the way from Ontario for this show. I bought her first record, her last record and every record in between, and there she is, singing for me. Well not just for me, but it feels that way.â
The country music superstar pulled out all the stops for her Charlottetown audience, some of whom began lining up to get into the Charlottetown Event Grounds several hours before the gates opened in hopes of snaring a spot close to the stage.
If you went to Saturday's show in hopes of hearing Twainâs greatest hits, you did not leave disappointed.
While she didnât play every hit in her catalogue, she played a lot of them, starting right out of the gate with 'Iâm Gonna Getcha Good.'
There were stellar versions of 'Any Man Of Mine,' 'Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under,' 'UP!,' 'No One Needs To Know,' I'âm Outta Here,' 'That Donât Impress Me Much' and 'The Woman In Me,' just to name a few.
But the one that really nailed it for many in her audience was 'Man! I Feel Like A Woman,' which she saved for almost the end of the show.
I suspect everybody who came through the gate had that one song they just had to hear to make the night complete.
For Denise Levesque of Bathurst, it was 'From This Moment.'
âI so wanted to hear that song because it was played at our wedding,â Levesque said. âWhen Shania sang it I cried. It was beautiful, I think even my husband got teary.â
Personally I could have gone home happy after hearing 'Still The One.'
Twainâs show was the total package, with 11 musicians, three back-up singers and six dancers, plus the high-end video package from her Las Vegas show and an elaborate lighting design.
It was as close to Twainâs Las Vegas show as you could get without actually being there, save of course for the fact there was no roof, no walls, no indoor plumbing and I donât think Caesarâs Palace sells poutine.
One man in the audience whoâd seen Twainâs show in Las Vegas said the only thing missing was live horses.
But it truly was a spectacular event.
And despite the fact you were sharing the experience with more than 20,000 other people, it had a very personal feel at times, particularly when Twain spoke of her childhood in Timmons and of the role her parents and her stepfather played in exposing her to the classic country songs of artists like Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson.
She also spoke of the role they subsequently played in pushing her to share her musical talents, although both of them died in a tragic automobile accident before Twainâs career took off.
Twain paid tribute to her mother in song, performing an acapella version of The Holliesâ 'Carrie-Anne,' which had been a favourite of her motherâs around the time her sister was born. That sister, Carrie Ann, joined her for the number.
Twain waxed poetic from the stage about how much she enjoyed being back in Canada and how much she loved being in Charlottetown to help celebrate 2014.
âCharlottetown is beautiful,â Twain said. âItâs so tidy and the people are so friendly.â
She spoke of the magnificent view of Charlottetown she had from her suite at the Holman Grand.
Twain took many in her audience by surprise when she revealed this wasnât her first show in Charlottetown, that sheâd actually played a show in a city bar with a rock band when she was still in her teens.
Saturday nightâs audience was well primed by the time Twain took to the stage thanks to solid opening sets by Summerside native Trinity Bradshaw, a rising country star, and Canadian pop/rock star Corey Hart.
Bradshaw opened the show with a great ripping version of Stompinâ Tom's 'Bud The Spud' before settling into a set of originals that included a number of new songs.
She really hit the mark with her current single 'Never Drinkinâ Again.'
Bradshaw was dynamic, she was into it and her enthusiasm for what the day held was infectious.
Corey Hart also took a run at 'Bud The Spud' during his set before trotting out hits like 'It Ainât Enough' and 'Boy In The Box.'
He closed with two of his biggest chart toppers - Sunglasses At Night, which elicited huge cheers from the crowd, and Never Surrender.
Not averse to covering other artists, Hart played a great cover of Rod Stewartâs 'Maggie May,' the first record he ever bought, and Jim Croceâs 'You Donât Mess Around With Jim.'
Hart was very much on his game, sounding as good Saturday night as he did in his prime in the early 80s.
The concert wrapped at 10:30 but that was not the end of the day for Twain, who returned to the Holman Grand for a meet and greet with people who have supported her charity, Shania Kids Can.
Shania Kids Can is a program designed to help underprivileged kids at primary school level who are having personal problems at home.