Election? What provincial election?
It was Twain Time last night at the Air Canada Centre as country music's crossover queen Shania Twain kicked off a sold-out, two-night stand at the hockey arena in front of just over 18,000 fans.
In fact, the Timmins, Ont., native actually launched her latest world tour -- her first in three and a half years -- just one week ago at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton.
But, thankfully, Twain took a more restrained approached last night, at least initially, in her interaction with the audience and stage outfits, both out of control at the tour opener.
First appearing in diamond-encrusted jeans, boots and a cut-up sleeveless white T-shirt with "I'm Canadian 1st" and a large red maple leaf on the front, Twain looked simply stunning as she wandered through the crowd on the floor enroute to her in-the-round stage.
As with the tour launch, Twain opened her two-hour, 15-minute show with Man! I Feel Like A Woman!, backed by her nine-piece band -- but waited until the fourth song in, C'est La Vie, before really starting to sign autographs.
After that there was no turning back as fans, some bearing flowers, toys, T-shirts, and large signs, flocked to the front of the stage with their arms outstretched toward her.
The impressive use of fireworks, firebursts, streamers and confetti aside, some of the better songs proved to be slower ones -- Forever And Always, which featured Twain sitting down on a stool on a small, circular rotating stage, the acoustic-guitar dominated When You Kiss Me and From This Moment On, and the encore number You're Still The One.
And when Twain and one of her guitar players appeared seated in the audience to sing The Woman In Me (Needs The Man In You), fans were beside themselves.
Also good were the moments of genuine spontaneity like when Twain dragged a young girl named Debra up to sing the words to the female empowerment song, She's Just Not A Pretty Face. Fan and singer stood side by side, arms swinging, hand in hand, smiling at each other -- and it seemed pretty real.
That poignant moment was balanced by a much funny one later when Twain brought up a female Shania impersonator because she was so impressed with her revealing outfit copied from the I'm Gonna Getcha Good! video.
"Did I really wear that?" said Twain, checking it out. "She's not really nude under there. It sure looks pretty nude."
As for the band, who have been playing with Twain for the past six years, they're a tight unit to be sure.
Particularly good were the three fiddle players who shined on Don't Be Stupid (You Know I Love You) and Any Man Of Mine, and the pedal steel guitarist who brought some much-needed twang to the pop-and-rock infused proceedings during Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?
Worth mentioning as well was the back-to-back acoustic guitar playing by Twain and one of her musicians on No One Needs To Know, which she told the crowd she wrote at Deerhurst Resort, and the invitation to 12 local drummers to join her and the band on stage for (If You're Not In It For Love) I'm Outta Here!
Meanwhile, only minor changes were made to the set list since the Hamilton launch, with just a handful of songs changing order. Almost half of the material still came from Twain's latest album, Up!.
1. Man! I Feel Like A Woman!
3. Honey, I'm Home
4. C'est La Vie
5. Forever And Always
6. Love Gets Me Every Time
7. She's Just Not A Pretty Face
8. Don't Be Stupid (You Know I Love You)
9. When You Kiss Me
10. I'm Not In The Mood To Say No!
11. Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?
12. From This Moment On
13. Thank You Baby! (For Makin' Someday Come ...)
14. No One Needs To Know
15. The Woman In Me (Needs The Man In You)
16. That Don't Impress Me Much!
17. What A Way To Want To Be!
18. Medley: When/You Win My Love/Come On Over/I'm Holdin' On To Love (To Save My Life)
19. I'm Gonna Getcha Good!
20. In My Car (I'll Be The Driver)
21. (If You're Not In It For Love) I'm Outta Here!
22. You're Still The One
23. Any Man Of Mine
24. Rock This Country!
3.5 out of 5