Shania Twain gets up close on new tour

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Shania Twain called her latest album "Up!" But on her new concert tour, the multi-platinum singing superstar wants to get down -- to audience level, for what she calls an "intimate, theaterish" experience.

That's why Twain, who performs in Washington, D.C. on Friday, is playing in the round and on a stage whose front level puts her just a couple of feet above where her fans will be sitting.


"I would spent my entire show in the audience if I could," says Twain, 38, who last toured in 1998-99. "It just makes it more personal for me. I don't know whether that's from playing for years in clubs and having people so close to the stage, but I didn't like the whole set-up where you've got barriers and space. I felt very disconnected.

"So now it's completely opposite, which is fantastic. This gives me the feeling that I am in the audience as opposed to playing out to the audience. I feel like I'm playing amongst them now."


Twain's fans will certainly be thrilled to hear that -- and rest assured there are plenty of them. Her 1995 album "The Woman in Me" sold more than 15 million copies worldwide, while its 1997 follow-up, "Come On Over," sold more than 34 million and holds the record for being the top-selling female solo album of all time.

"Up!" -- which was released in November 2002 and was produced by Twain's husband, Robert John "Mutt" Lange -- has so far moved eight million copies thanks to hits such as "I'm Gonna Getcha Good!" and "Forever and For Always."

"We're all kind of relieved, because of the climate of the music industry right now," says Twain, who was born Eileen Edwards in Windsor, Ontario, and raised her three siblings after her mother and stepfather died in a 1987 car crash.

"We've gone pretty unaffected compared to most other artists," she says. "Pretty much everybody who released albums around the time I was has come and gone, and we're just really feleing like we're getting going."

Twain, who resides in Switzerland with Lange and their two-year-old son Eja (pronounced "Asia"), warmed up for the tour with July performances in London and Chicago, the latter of which was taped for an NBC special. But she says the current production is "completely different" though just as epic as her previous tour, with shows that will stretch for more than two hours.


And while there will be plenty of songs from "Up!", Twain promises she'll play "pretty much all the singles," including hits such as "You're Still the One," "Man! I Feel Like a Woman" and "That Don't Impress Me Much."

"We've jammed in as many songs as we can," Twain say, "because I've got so many singles now. And I like playing the singles for the fans."

That, she adds, is why she waited to tour for 10 months after "Up!" came out.

"You want to give people a chance to get familiar enough with the new music so they can sing along and be part of the show," Twain explains. "They already know the old stuff, and I want them to be just as familiar with the new stuff.

"To me, that's a big part of the vibe -- familiarity and them knowing what to expect next just makes them more a part of (the show) as a group. And that's just what's happening. It's easier to party to a song that you know."

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