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Old 10-08-2003, 01:50 AM
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Jud Jud is offline
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Boston Articles

Twain offers her signature sugary pop

By Sarah Rodman
Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Nobody can say that Shania Twain holds herself above her fans.

Last night at the FleetCenter the Canadian songbird - resplendent in a Nomar Garciaparra jersey - admirably, and sometimes distractingly, spent almost as much time singing her breezy pop country hits as she did interacting with members of the cheering crowd of 17,000-plus fans.

Whether she was signing literally hundreds of autographs for all comers to the front of the stage, dispensing hugs to sweethearts celebrating anniversaries, ceding the microphone to a man making a marriage proposal, bringing two little girls onstage to sing or allowing some local drummers to strut their stuff, Twain was downright interactive in her generous and surprisingly zippy two-hour and 20-minute performance.

As for the music itself, it was trademark Twain: all candy coating, no chewy center, drawing songs from all her albums with nine from her most recent ``Up!'' But it's unlikely anyone in this house of Twain-iacs was seeking substance. More likely the cheering folks, aged 3 to at least 63, were looking for a good sugar rush and to stomp their boots. They definitely got that chance as Twain and her energetic nine-piece band shimmied around her center stage setup churning out the juicy backbeats of exclamatory pop tunes like ``Man! I Feel Like a Woman!'' ``Rock This Country!'' ``(If You're Not In It For Love) I'm Outta Here!'' and ``I'm Gonna Getcha Good!''

While the band was gifted, musically and vocally, and highly entertaining to watch - multi-talented multi-instrumentalist Alison Cornell deserves a stage of her own - occasionally the brawny sound of three fiddles, two keyboards, two guitarists, bass, drums and percussion drowned out the vocals of the main attraction, which were themselves spotty in places.

That's why less cluttered songs like ``No One Needs to Know'' and ``You're Still the One'' were such a treat. The former, stripped to bare acoustic essentials, featured great Everly Brothers-style harmonies, smoky harmonica licks and a sassy Elvis-like swagger that fits Twain to a T. The latter is a simplistic but well-crafted pop ballad with an irrefutable melody that had the crowd singing along.

``Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under'' featured a satisfyingly slinky groove and some ambling saloon piano and ``Any Man of Mine'' was the best of the many Reba McEntire meets Def Leppard hybrids.

A few songs suffered from her constant signing, robbing ballads like ``When You Kiss Me'' of emotion as she rotely hit every lyric while simultaneously scribbling on tickets and shirts. But Twain's easygoing stage presence and energy carried the night.

(Shania Twain, at the FleetCenter, Boston, last night. )
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