There was a time when Shania Twain was convinced she might never sing again. The Canadian superstar — who soared to fame in the mid-'90s cannily combining arena rock power chords with mainstream country pop craft — was stricken with dysphonia, which causes spasms in speech and singing. Wednesday night Twain's gratitude was palpable when she announced from the TD Garden stage that it was medical care and therapy that she sought in Boston four years ago that helped her find her voice again and, she said with a grin, "I'm here."
The near-capacity crowd was as ecstatic as the headliner herself. But the finely-tuned 100 minute performance served as both hello and goodbye, as Twain — who recently ended a two year Las Vegas residency at Caesar's Palace — has said that this tour, her first in 11 years, will also serve as her last on this scale.
As such, Twain threw everything at the wall and much of it stuck. As her chipper, skilled seven-piece band churned out the jukebox of hits that have made her one of the best-selling artists ever, Twain — outfitted variously in sparkly tops, fishnets, and leather hot pants — offered up the full arena spectacle combination platter. There were pyrotechnics, flames, and confetti, booming beats and heavy riffage, and, in the night's most quietly charming interlude, a stripped-back acoustic set that focused more on the singer-songwriter's musicality and the warmth of mandolins, fiddles, and dobros.
That passage included the winsome, Beatles-esque "Today is Your Day" and the kicky Everly Brothers ringer "No One Needs to Know" — both bolstered by dreamy harmony vocals — before ending with the adult contemporary gold of "You're Still the One," no doubt conjuring memories of the couples' skate at the roller rink.
Lovely as that was, Twain is a performer who loves her exclamatory pop songs and many of those made an appearance including mission statement opener "Rock this Country!"; "Up!" performed as she sat astride a saddle raised above the crowd; explosive set closer "(If You're Not In it For Love) I'm Outta Here!"; and encore "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!"
If some of the midtempo country stompers like "Honey I'm Home" filling the gaps between the bigger hits suffered from a certain sameness and haven't aged as well, Twain has always been a performer capable of making up for a lack of range with spirit and a sense of real passion inside the glittery exterior and Wednesday was no exception as she bid farewell with joie de vivre.
Opener Gavin DeGraw — who did a quick set of his own hits as well as Billy Joel and Bryan Adams covers — returned to join Twain in the fizzy duet "Party For Two."
Shania Twain with Gavin DeGraw
at the TD Garden Wednesday