Shania Twain delivers a timeless set at Abu Dhabi F1 concert

Canadian country-pop star has the crowd singing along in her debut regional performance

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Shania Twain turned back the years with a hit-filled set at Etihad Park.

Performing as part of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix concert series, the Canadian singer reminded audiences why she dominated the 1990s pop landscape as she had the crowd singing along.

But she also showed there is plenty left in the creative tank with a splash of new material from her album Queen of Me, which was released in February.

Twain arrived on stage with her five-piece band and opened the show with the album's lead single, Waking Up Dreaming, a gleaming synth-pop track.

Her warm and husky tone, flecked by that winning twang, was in fine form.

Next up was Up, one of Twain's many self-empowerment anthems with its stomping fusion of country and pop music.

Then came the first of several Twain hits, Don't Be Stupid (You Know I Love You).

The vibrancy of the live version is in contrast to the 1997 dated recording, particularly with the driving electric guitar and pristine backing vocals.

Perhaps its due to the lack of international touring, but for someone blessed with such a catalogue, Twain is rather stilted when it comes to stage presence.

While the banter and excitement were genuine, Twain at times seemed uncertain what do on stage between her vocal parts.

Fortunately, she had a pair of overly excited back-up dancers who delightfully made even the most languid tune a high energy affair.

Twain felt most at ease grasping a guitar, particularly in the sweet nostalgic combo Come On Over and You're Still the One.

Both are perfect distillations of the singer's style, which blends her warm, honeyed vocals with lilting country melodies and Celtic-inspired strings.

You're Still the One remains particularly gorgeous due to its supple backing harmonies.

Giddy Up, with its blazing fiddle notes is a stomping country-pop track while Rock this Country is the kind of Americana-folk rarely heard live on UAE stages.

Twain saved some of her biggest salvos for last, beginning with the aching power ballad From This Moment, followed by a brawny take of That Don't Impress Me Much.

Man! I Feel Like a Women ended the evening with a therapeutic mass singalong that was a perfect way to end a long day at the race track.

It may have taken Twain three decades to make her Middle East debut, but for fans hearing these timeless songs live was surely worth the wait.

The F1 after-race concert line-up continues with Sunday’s race day concert with the Foo Fighters.

Updated: November 26, 2023, 12:25 PM