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Shania Twain

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Shania Twain enters the stage astride a thundering motorcycle that soars through the air along a video-produced highway. The rip-roaring kickoff is a fitting introduction for the artist, whose show at Caesars Palace marks her return to live performance after an eight-year hiatus.

The first two scenes -- the arena-style concert opening followed by a western welcome complete with a re-entrance on horseback, a saloon set and four dancing cowboys (who stomp and spin like crazy in "Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?") -- are fitting for the artist. Shania's career has taken her to the top of pop and country charts, and her appeal reaches far beyond the traditional country music audience.

If you have never been to a show at The Colosseum before, the first thing you'll notice is that the place is huge. The stage is more than 22,000 square feet and is backed by a 45-by-120-foot LED screen and flanked by walls of projection video. Almost any artist would be dwarfed by those dimensions, but Shania manages to fill the space with energy, charisma and an adoration and compassion for her fans that is almost palpable.

She is not afraid to leave the stage for long periods of time and take the show into the aisle. At a recent performance, Shania danced with fans and shared lots of hugs and handshakes while she belted out "Don't Be Stupid (You Know I Love You)," "Any Man of Mine" and other favorites. She takes several tours through the audience, and she makes her way farther into the house than most performers do, trying to include fans in the show no matter what kind of ticket they bought.

This sense of intimacy reaches a high point when Shania and the two brothers who sing backup in the show present a sweet a capella tune she says her mother used to sing. The song introduces Shania's little sister Carrie Ann, who also sings backup, and sets the stage for the show's quiet central scene, in which Shania invites about 10 people onstage to sit around a campfire with her and sing. (Some are hand-picked from the mezzanine -- another testament to her determination to include the whole audience in the show.)

The next scene will thrill faithful followers who know that the music video for Shania's 1997 hit "That Don't Impress Me Much." It featured her wearing a fully cheetah-print costume including pants, a crop top and a cape with a hood. Newcomers or casual fans might wonder why the video screen that has so far played graphic accompaniment for songs or shown landscapes to back the sets is suddenly overwhelmed with cheetahs, cheetahs and more cute bubbly blimps with eyes and search beams, scanning cheetah-print hills. But the tie-in to a memorable visual from Shania's past also serves as the jumping-off point for the rest of the show's video work, which ramps up to outright wow as the production rounds its final turns.

The show pulls out the big guns for its title song, "Still the One." Shania, dressed in a flowing white gown, leads a white horse onto the stage, which has transformed into a snowy forest of birch trees. The sense of wonder is amplified when you realize that it's hard to tell which trees are real sets and which are video creations.

The big finish looks like a party in praise of Shania, but really it's a promise to her fans. As giant lighted letters spelling out S-H-A-N-I-A descend onto the stage and confetti floods the house, she breaks into "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!" But there is no sense that the spectacle is all about her. Instead, the song pronounces that she feels like herself now that she's back onstage, and the huge marquee seems to say that fans will have Shania to love for a long time to come.

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