Houston Chronicle

Shania Twain’s country-pop style dazzles concert crowd.

- By Joey Guerra joey.guerra@chron.com

“Are you ready to have some fun?”

That was the key, the theme, the pronouncem­ent that drove Shania Twains’ Saturday night stop in Houston, part of her NOW Tour. (Her caps, not ours.)

The two-hour show was built on escapism, a let-your-hair-down and drink-frozen-margaritas night out with the girls. Or guys.

It was full of big, crowdpleas­ing moments, starting with her walk through the crowd from the back of the venue up to the stage. There was a kiss cam. There was a raffle winner who got to come onstage and sing “Honey, I’m Home” with Twain.

“Houston strong, baby!” he shouted before leaving.

And of course, so many songs designed for top-of-lungs sing alongs. Only the newer material from her “Now” album prompted fans to take their seats or rush up the aisles for a drink/restroom break.

Twain rallied with the pep of a cheerleade­r and the sparkle of a diva. She sang strongly and clearly, her voice now taking on a richer tone. And she was backed by an effervesce­nt, excellent band.

She kicked off in a sparkling gown with a slit up to her thigh. The stage was dazzling, all rows of lights and staircases and LED cubes that moved in time with the music.

“It’s a bit complex,” she quipped.

Twain sometimes tripped over her hems, many of which dragged the floor. But it was more endearing than anything else. She laughed off a slight, midsong staircase stumble during “Let’s Kiss and Make Up.”

She frequently addressed the crowd with an earnest awkwardnes­s that, again, only served her well. She said she’s learned in recent years to express herself through her music. And she talked about growing up poor and having to fend for herself.

“I’ve made it to the other side after a lot of lows,” she said.

But again — the fun. It was impossible to resist the music when she launched into “Don’t Be Stupid (You Know I Love You),” compete with pseudoRive­rdancers. A few seconds later, she sashayed through a powered-up “That Don’t Impress Me Much” wearing a bodysuit worthy of a “RuPaul’s Drag Race” runway. (Top looks of the week, of course.)

Even the most country section of the show — “Any Man of Mine,” “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?” — was covered in Las Vegas razzle-dazzle. It was red boots and leather, shiny buckles and cowboy hats. And a squad of athletic dancers.

Signature tune “You’re Still the One” was a sweet singalong, Twain suspended above the crowd in a harness. She was escorted back to the main stage by a pair of awestruck fans who were repaid with a selfie.

Power ballad “From This Moment On” was a standout in its simplicity — and was peak drama at the same time. Twain stood still to the side of the stage as images of flowers bloomed on a scrim behind her.

“I’m Gonna Getcha Good!” boasted LED costumes and played like a laser-tag musical. (Brilliant idea, you’re welcome.) Opener Bastian Baker joined Twain on “Party for Two.” The band punched up “(If You’re Not in It for Love) I’m Outta Here!” with a bit of an ’80s groove.

And though the crowd knew most every lyric of every country-pop classic, they were loudest and rowdiest during “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!”

It was a double-espresso blast of frothy fun.

 ?? Jamaal Ellis ?? Shania Twain, center, had the crowd singing along to her hit songs.
Jamaal Ellis Shania Twain, center, had the crowd singing along to her hit songs.

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