Director: Raj Kapoor Starring: Shania Twain plus three vocalists, ten instrumentalists, and six dancers
Stephen Dawson reveals his real feelings about Shania Twain and Alice Cooper, based on two fabulously good Blu-ray releases….
There are certain cultural languages I just don’t speak. I’m the type of guy who should like Japanese Anime but it mostly leaves me cold. I never learnt the ‘language’—the cultural cues which make it ping the right emotional receptors in me to generate genuine pleasure. The same goes for country music. But rather than failing to ‘ping the right receptors’, much of it grinds against the wrong ones, those that make me irritated. And the more ‘country’, the stronger my reaction.
Which leaves me teetering on a dangerous edge when it comes to a lot of the top artists of the past fifty years. Linda Ronstadt, The Eagles, Whitney Houston, all musicians who’ve produced songs I love came from country roots.
Canadian artist Shania Twain started country and stayed close to it even as she spun herself an enormously successful pop career. She has sold some 85 million records, more than twenty million of them the 1997 album ‘Come On Over.’ In 2012 and 2013 she had a stage show at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas. My goodness, what a show it was. Her along with nineteen performers. Entrances on a suspended Harley-Davidson ElectraGlide and on a horse. Costume changes every few songs. A golden microphone. A massive screen behind the stage with well-designed and highly dynamic graphics, along with the occasional film clip starring, of course, Shania herself. But also with a kind of homely feel. The star leaves the stage and wanders through the crowd accepting hugs, posing for photos, and even sharing her microphone with a fan mid-song.
The band is clearly extremely well rehearsed, with very tight playing that works with the choreography. Symmetry is provided by two male backup singers who are at least brothers, and even possibly twins.
The music is mostly country rock with a leaning (thankfully) towards the rock, and I managed to enjoy it despite the slide guitar breaking through into the mix rather too often. There’s even a nice guitar section in the lead-in to That Don’t Impress Me Much that verges on hardish rock.
The picture quality was almost entirely first class, marred only by a couple of brief, slightly out-of-focus sections. It’s shot at a movie-like 24-frames per second so there are no deinterlacing problems irrespective of the quality of your equipment. The sound captured the live nature of the performance, while retaining most of the clarity and precision of a studio recording. Nicely done. The surround mix was a bit strange, with nearly everything at the front, but sometimes a rather clunky shift of crowd noise between songs at the back. You can avoid all that with the stereo LPCM mix if you prefer.
Running time: 92 minutes Picture: 1.78:1, 1080i60, MPEG4 AVC @ 30.00Mbps Sound: English: DTS-HD Mater Audio 16/48 3/2.1 @ 2845kbps (core: DTS 16/48 3/2.1 @ 1509kbps); English: LPCM 16/48 2/0.0 @ 1536kbps Subtitles: English, German, Spanish, French (Documentary only) Features: 8 page booklet; Documentary (1080i60 - 61 mins) Restrictions: Exempt, Region Free