Saint Paul reminisces with Shania Twain at Xcel Energy Center

05.17.23 – Photos and review by Emma Redinger

On Wednesday night, the Xcel Energy Center had an unspoken uniform: cheetah print, cowboy boots, glitter, and light-up cowboy hats. If you were present and not wearing any combination of the former, you certainly would have been out of place for Shania Twain’s return to Saint Paul. May 17th marked a special day in the country star’s tour as she made her 12th stop on her ‘Queen Of Me’ tour, a day that fans had been waiting for since she last performed in the Twin Cities back in 2018. 

After breaking records in the ‘90’s and ‘00’s (Twain is the only woman in RIAA history to have three consecutive albums certified as diamond), Twain has enjoyed a massive comeback in recent years with multiple tours, features on songs, and a new album earlier this year. What’s most surprising is that this revival comes in the wake of open throat surgery that she underwent in 2018 as the result of dysphonia and Lyme disease. The singer’s Wednesday night performance, however, demonstrates that she isn’t ready to leave the stage quite yet. 

Hailey Whitters provided support as the opener, and this Midwest local’s performance primed the audience for a memorable night. The Iowa native’s bass drum read, “corn is for lovers” – a sentiment that all Midwesterners can get behind. Whitter floated across the stage while adorning a light pink ball gown and performing hits from her newest album, “Raised.” Crowd favorites included “Everything She Ain’t” and “Plain Jane.” Whitters carried the melody and excitement for the duration of her seven song setlist, while showing reverence for the singer who would later take the stage.

Finally, after much anticipation, Twain opened the show by popping out of a moving contraption in the middle of the crowd. Faces lit up and a mass of cell phone cameras appeared as fans began to have the same realization: the incognito woman in a blonde wig and oversized sunglasses was actually Twain herself.

She first performed the hit “Waking up Dreaming” from her 2023 album, “Queen Of Me”, however it seemed that the sold out arena was more excited when she segued into her second number, “Up!” from the 2002 album of the same name. The crowd was lively, engaged, and enthusiastic throughout the entire night, but the crowd’s volume level was certainly higher each time she played an old hit. Crowd favorites included “Any Man of Mine”, “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?”, and “Party for Two”, and “Giddy Up!” Each number featured fun, bright graphics and impressive choreography from her dancers; there truly wasn’t a dull moment.

The night was fan-focused, with Twain inviting various fans on stage to take photos and surround her while she sang “From This Moment On.” At other points, she directed the crowd to harmonize in three parts, and even sang happy birthday to a fan named Jenny. 

Another highlight of the night – for at least one fan, Dana – was when Twain gave her an on-stage shoutout for being a huge fan. Twain knew this to be true, she said, because she saw Dana’s Instagram post of her tickets to Twain’s show from back in 1998. Dana’s night got even better when Twain invited her on stage, and what would be most people’s biggest fear seemed to flow easily for Dana, when Twain began singing her favorite song (“Up!”), and suddenly handed Dana the mic. Dana nailed it. The crowd roared for her. Though her time sharing the stage with the singer was short lived, Dana ensured to not leave before taking a series of selfies with Twain on her phone. Who could blame her?

Twain saved the long awaited numbers “That Don’t Impress Me Much” and “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” for the encore, which is also when she unveiled her third outfit change of the evening. Closing out with two old hits felt like an appropriate finale, as the crowd was most interested in reminiscing.

It’s no secret that Twain might not be impressed by rocket scientists, Brad Pitt, or men with cars, but she absolutely impressed me (much). 

Shania Twain Setlist:

  1. Waking Up Dreaming
  2. Up!
  3. Don’t Be Stupid (You Know I Love You)
  4. I’m Gonna Getcha Good!
  5. Roll Me on the River
  6. You’re Still the One
  7. Giddy Up!
  8. Any Man of Mine
  9. Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?
  10. Honey, I’m Hone
  11. Inhale/Exhale Air
  12. Rock This Country!
  13. Medley
  14. Pretty Liar
  15. From This Moment On
  16. Happy Birthday
  17. Number One
  18. Party for Two
  19. Forever and for Always
  20. Queen of Me
  21. That Don’t Impress Me Much
  22. Man! I Feel Like A Woman!

Hailey Whitters Setlist:

  1. tie’er down
  2. Plain Jane
  3. Fillin’ My Cup
  4. How Far Can It Go?
  5. The Neon
  6. Heartland
  7. Everything She Ain’t

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