Live Review: Shania Twain at the First Direct Arena in Leeds Words and Pictures by Adam Kennedy

“Let’s go Leeds," declared Shania Twain to the feverish First Direct Arena crowd before launching into the opening notes of the artist's biggest hit in the final stages of Thursday evening's concert.

The track in question is so instantly recognisable that it requires no introduction. Much like many songs featured in the Country/Pop star's glittering songbook.

Patrons arrived in West Yorkshire on Thursday evening bedecked in their finest country attire. Many fans sported cowboy hats of various colours and styles as they embraced the spirit of the occasion.

As one might expect, a Shania Twain concert is no ordinary event. It's a gig that's full of glitz, glamour, and many surprises, the first of which took place at the top of the show.

The Northern Echo:

As the house lights descended upon the capacity crowd, three canvas boxes were mysteriously moved into position at points around the arena floor. With the band on stage, the star of the show appeared from one of the boxes in the heart of the audience as she opened the evening with Waking Up Dreaming.

And with the fans just a few feet from the country star, it was a dream come true for Shania’s Northern audience.

The singer was paraded through the arena towards the stage, where she appeared from a cloud of smoke and continued the show with classics such as Up!, Don't Be Stupid (You Know I Love You), and I'm Gonna Getcha Good!.

The whole arena was up on their feet from the off. The singer prowled the stage, and at one point even performed on the back of a huge motorcycle.

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Shania slowed down the show momentarily with You’re Still the One, before wheeling out country anthems like Any Man of Mine and a foot-stomping rendition of Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?

“You guys are so loud and fun,” declared Shania. Of course, there was plenty of room for crowd participation, and during Honey, I'm Home, the headliner divided up the arena into segments and got them to sing in such a manner that the room sounded like a church choir. And the Leeds Queen of Me Choir were in fine voice.

A young fan in front of the stage caught Twain's attention with a sign asking if she could sing with her - the artist could not say no. Eight-year-old Sienna took her moment in the spotlight and sang segments of Man I Feel Like A Woman! With the star of the evening. An unforgettable moment for Sienna. Shania said, “I can’t wait to hear Sienna on the radio someday”. High praise from the Grammy award-winning artist.

The Northern Echo:

In the latter stages of the concert, Shania invited opening act Breland to sing two songs, Inhale/Exhale Air and Party For Two. Both tracks are from Twain's latest offering, Queen of Me.

A further fan was chosen from the audience to take to the stage towards the end of the set. Shania invited Mollie, a musician from Huddersfield, to join the artist by way of singing and playing a little guitar. Mollie had caught Shania's attention by way of an interaction on Twitter.

The Northern Echo:

The whole arena was illuminated by twinkling cell phone lights during a beautiful rendition of Forever and for Always, before the main set ended with (If You're Not in It for Love) I'm Outta Here!

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A two-song encore followed featuring the classic That Don’t Impress Me Much. Shania returned to the stage sporting the original outfit from the video from the Man! I Feel Like A Woman! Video, which had been sitting in a museum for the last 25 years.

The outfit had only been used once on the video shoot and has since been utilised on tour. The singer brought the show to its explosive conclusion with the timeless anthem itself.

Shania Twain’s Leeds date on the Queen of Me tour was nothing short of majestic.