Daytripper: Shania Twain @ Bethel Woods, 07/03/2023

Shania Twain is Country Music royalty. She is in elite company as one of the best-selling artists of all time across genres, with over one hundred million records sold. Twain is the best-selling female artist in Country Music history. Her 1997 album “Come On Over” sold over thirty million copies and remains the best-selling Country album of all time. She has five Grammy Awards to her name. She has inspired generations of country artists. After taking a few years out of the limelight, she is back. She is touring in support of her most recent album, Queen of Me. The tour is making several stops in Upstate New York. The tour made a stop at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts on Monday night, July 3.

Situated on the site of the original 1969 Woodstock festival, Bethel Woods is the perfect summer concert venue. As with any outdoor summer concert venue, concerts are rain or shine events. A storm passed through the area with lightning strikes close to the venue. For the sake of safety, the concert was delayed for a short time and fans were asked to return to their vehicles. The storm quickly calmed enough for the show to go on.

Fans at the rear of the amphitheater were treated to surprise as Twain started her show incognito. Wearing sunglasses and a long coat covering her stage attire, Twain sang the opening song “Waking Up Dreaming” while being pushed on a cart near the top of the amphitheater. This gave the fans in the “cheap seats” a chance to see this icon up close and personal. Twain made her way to the main stage and appeared atop a multiple-level riser engulfed in fog. She emerged from the fog looking stunning and looking as if she stepped out of a time machine from 1969. Dressed in an orange and pink paisley dress and white go-go boots, she clearly understood the significance of performing on this hallowed ground.

The stage production was super high-end with video walls, cryo-jets and some of the best lighting I have seen at a concert. Twain has performed several residences in Las Vegas and it shows.  The energy and vibe of the show was off the charts. Bolstered by an amazing pair of backup dancers/singers, Twain owned the stage and showed why even at fifty-seven, she can sell out venues all over the country. Her band was tight, and the show was incredibly entertaining. Twain’s voice has held up well. She stripped several songs down to their acoustic bones, explaining her writing process, before ripping into full band versions of the tunes. 

Although the tour is in support of “Queen of Me,” Twain only played four songs from the new record. The rest of the show was a non-stop greatest hits celebration. She played seven songs from “Come on Over,” saving her two biggest hits for last.  After closing out the main set with the title track of her most recent album, Twain returned to the stage in the same black outfit she wore in the video for “Man! I Feel Like a Woman.” It was a treat to see her in such an iconic outfit. The encore started with “That Don’t Impress Me Much” and closed with “Man! I Feel Like a Woman.” When Shania said the magic words “Let’s Go Girls,” the energy level in the venue went to another level. Nearly every seat was empty as fans danced like nobody was watching, including this reviewer. Twain plays in Syracuse on Saturday night. A limited number of tickets are still available.

Country riser Priscilla Block opened the show with a set of upbeat songs. Block has steadily risen since her debut single, “Just About Over You,” was released in 2020. Block is a joy to watch perform. She is clearly enjoying playing for the larger crowds, and her joy is infectious. I dare anyone not to smile when they see her perform. Her most recent single, “You, Me and Whiskey,” is currently climbing the Country charts. She told a story of how she was told that she would need to lose weight to be successful in Country Music. She turned this insult into an absolute gem of a song, “Thick Thighs.”

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