Many do it. Few—make that none—do it better.
Up the aisles and through the rows she goes, handing out hugs, hand slaps, high-fives, air kisses, scribbled autographs and camera poses—never not singing, never missing a musical cue, then climbing back onstage.
Until she does it again.
Perfecting the ol’ sing-and-schmooze is an art. That makes Shania Twain a stage-show da Vinci. Anywhere you are in the front half of the Colosseum at Caesars Palace during her Still The One show, you’d almost have to try to escape her.
Checking in on her production recently as she closes in on the first anniversary of her two-year residency (she recently announced early 2014 dates) was a reminder that Twain’s wham-bam showmanship and theatrical pizzazz notwithstanding, the love-in is the show’s loveliest element.
Depending on your expectations.
Possibly the friendliest headliner on the Strip, Twain differs from others who wade into the fan pool. You get the feeling she’d stay there if she could. Some other performers, however much they act as though communing with us, the great unwashed, thrills them—seem to employ it as a performance stratagem. Twain can’t get enough of us. Others temporarily allow us access. Twain invites us in. Eagerly.
I half-expected her to ask us backstage afterward for cookies and milk.
Your degree of affection for her display of affection might, however, hinge on your level of fandom. Those offstage forays combine with onstage embellishments—videos; live horses; the star descending from the ceiling on a suspended motorcycle; an enormous “Shania” marquee that could rival the famed “Hollywood” sign—to mark Still The One as less a concert than A Happening.
De rigueur in Vegas—and what hardcore fans expect.
Yet the casual showgoer, the merely curious, or the significant other dragged there by one of the faithful could feel as if they’re not getting the 100 percent focused effort from a performer they forked over serious coinage to see.
Such concerns seem silly in Twain’s case—the lady works it like nobody’s business—but sometimes, as the old saw goes, perception is reality. Plus, when she goes so beyond the token gesture of reaching out to just the first few rows—she ventures nearly halfway up the cavernous Colosseum—it’s possible for the back-dwellers to feel excluded.
Nonetheless, the sincerity of the heady, hey-y’all! vibe the “Come On Over” singer spreads is high, deep and Colosseum-wide. Man, she feels like a buddy.
STRIP POSTSCRIPT: This must be the only city in the world that gives multi-year extension deals to socks. Well, OK, to sock puppets. Which talk dirty (to say the least). And to the raunchy show around them, which may be the filthiest good time you can have in Vegas outside of the AVN Awards.
Easily the most (legal) hallucinogenic experience on the Strip as well, Absinthe has been extended at Caesars Palace through 2016. That makes three for the perverse carnival whose intended limited run launched in April 2011, earned a renewal that September, then another in August 2012.
Good for them. Even so, those potty-mouthed socks should be washed out with soap.
Got an entertainment tip? Email Steve.Bornfeld@VegasSeven.com.