Updated May 26, 2021 - 6:00 am
For Shania Twain, it’s all about the embrace. She hugs us, we hug her. By the holidays, it’s gonna be one giant lovefest for the “Let’s Go” superstar.
“I’m a hugger, and this has been super hard, obviously, for somebody who likes to hug people. I like to hug my fans, and I’m going to want to hug the crew and the dancers and the band,” Twain said during a phone chat Monday. “I’m sure that by December, we’re going to be in the free and clear to do that. I’m feeling optimistic we’ll be able to reunite and hug someone for a change, who isn’t in your immediate circle.
“That is just going to be amazing.”
Twain opens her arms to the city once more for 14 shows at Zappos Theater, the first six running from Dec. 2-6. She’s back from Feb. 11-26. Tickets are on sale 10 a.m. June 1, at $60 minus fees, at ticketmaster.com/shaniavegas or at the Planet Hollywood box office. All shows begin at 8 p.m.
Twain was speaking from London, where she is staying under quarantine for a few days with her husband, Frédéric Thiébaud. “I only have a couple days left,” Twain said. “If you move around, you gotta quarantine. It’s fine. I just write songs.”
Twain is forever imagining new music, and also how to deliver her passion to a live audience. She is the creative director of her stage show. Working toward her return has lifted her spirits throughout the pandemic.
“I’m really focusing on uplifting, inspiring music because I’ve needed that spirit myself over this whole thing,” Twain said. “I’ve been just writing a lot of stuff that is feel-good and it makes me happy and inspired, so that’s the kind of album I’m working on right now and I don’t know when I’m going to be done. It’s still in the works, but I’m not far.”
The new album would be a follow-up to Twain’s 2017 album, “Now,” which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard album charts.
Some of the new material will be ready to perform live by February. That version of “Let’s Go,” will be themed for love, as it envelopes Valentine’s Day. December will be infused with holiday spirit. But the core of the show, regardless of the season, will be such hits as “Any Man of Mine,” “That Don’t Impress Me Much,” “You’re Still the One” and “Man! I Feel Like A Woman!”
Twain’s December dates also coincide with the National Finals Rodeo. She’s a serious rodeo fan and a famous lover of horses. She also shops, loves a good restaurant, and is an avid supporter of live entertainment. All those amenities should be full-tilt when Twain re-launches in December.
And as it happens, “Let’s Go” return matches December dates with fellow superstar Carrie Underwood’s premiere at Resorts World Las Vegas.
“When I don’t have a show night, my favorite thing to do is get out and go see other shows,” Twain said. “Las Vegas is more of a community than I think a lot of artists who haven’t done residencies yet realize. Everybody in the community is very personable, and I love that, and it brings us artists down to earth where we belong anyway.”
Twain is eager to see Strip popping again with her fellow superstars.
“I’ve gotten to do all these fun things and gotten to know a lot of the artists coming in,” she said. “I mean, the more the merrier, right? And that’s better for the fans, too.”
Gonna be startin’ something
The night has finally arrived for the third Michael Jackson-themed show in VegasVille. “M.J. The Evolution” launched Friday night at Mosaic on the Strip. We caught the show Sunday. This show permeates with performers portraying Jackson (three) and the high volume of costumes (I lost track, but dozens).
— John Katsilometes (@johnnykats) May 25, 2021
The show is divided into the three parts, tracking Jacko through his career as a kid prodigy with the Jackson 5 through the latter era of his solo career.
Veteran Jackson tribute artist Michael Firestone plays Jackson in the final acts. Malachai Durant covering the middle “Off The Wall”/”Thriller” era. Three youngsters rotate as the young Jackson, with Caysen Kinchelow, Caja Pearson and John-Christopher Robinson. The show rolls with a solid crew of backup dancers, and the venue’s house band led by guitarist/music director Christian Brady is spot-on.
The numbers are more extensive than you might expect in a production in a small-ish, free-standing Strip theater. A zombie nearly knocked over my FizzyWater during the “Thriller” number, and Firestone is summoned for a step-by-step re-creation of Jackson’s iconic “Billy Jean” performance from the 1983 “Motown 25” show.
— John Katsilometes (@johnnykats) May 25, 2021
The sun never sets on the Moonwalk.
Of course, for grand scale, wait for Cirque’s “Michael Jackson One” to reopen (expect that to happen in the late-fall). For the classic hotel-casino experience, “MJ Live” runs at high gear at The Strat. But “M.J. Evolution” effectively revisits Jackson’s memorable moments. Fans will love it, and the show slots neatly between column fave Elyzabeth Diaga in “Queens of Rock” and the tight turnaround (logistically and onstage) of “Aussie Heat.”
Venue operator Dean Coleman and longtime Vegas director Blair Farrington have led “Evolution” to the stage. Farrington refers to the production as “a labor of love” as live entertainment restarts in Vegas. Farrington reminds, “Entertainment was what this city was founded on. Oh, and gaming.”
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.