Shania Twain is sweating the small stuff as she prepares for her first tour since 2018.
“My days are very long,” the country legend tells Billboard’s Behind the Setlist podcast while rehearsing in Las Vegas. Twain is involved in the stage design, lighting, graphics and wardrobe, among other aspects of the production. “Everything will be unique and original,” she says. “Never seen before.”
Above all, Twain is focused on getting the music just right. Twain says she spent a week in London with her musical director and wrote new backing vocal parts. “It’s going to take a lot of energy to get through the show. This show is probably going to run about two hours. And lots of singing — everyone has to sing. There’s so many vocals on the new stuff.”
To perform the pop- and dance-infused songs from Queen of Me, Twain’s band has daily vocal rehearsals. “There’s a lot of vocals on all the stuff. I feel like with some of the more country-sounding stuff, you can get away with just a three-part harmony. You don’t have to have all the layers. But with the new stuff, on my gosh, we need more. There’s more counterparting and things like that.”
Twain’s 2023 tour begins in Spokane, Wash., on April 28 and crisscrosses North America through July 24 — including 10 dates in Twain’s home country of Canada — before heading to the U.K. and Ireland from Sept. 14 to 28. The tour resumes in North America on Oct. 12 in San Antonio, Texas, and crosses into Canada twice before resuming in Vancouver, B.C., on Nov. 14.
“There are no dancers in the show,” she continues. “I don’t want anyone’s intonation interrupted on what it’s all focused on: intonation, phrasing, vocal blending and tightness. I want that really, really as perfect as possible.”
Twain estimates the show will feature around seven songs from Queen of Me, which debuted at No. 10 on the Billboard 200 albums chart back in February. The setlist will reach back to 1995’s The Woman In Me and is heavy on 1997’s Come On Over and 2002’s Up!. The older material requires more preparation “because that’s my old voice,” she says in reference to contracting Lyme disease in 2004, re-learning how to sing with physical therapy and undergoing open-throat surgery in 2017. “I anchored those [older songs] into the playlist according to where my voice will sit at that point in the show. Then I start plugging in the other songs and placed them depending on the ebb and flow of the graphics, the mood, the scene that I want to set, the journey I want to take the public on.”
The show will also include a medley that gives Twain an opportunity to squeeze in snippets of songs she might not otherwise perform. “It gives me a chance to touch base on songs that I may not have ever done live or I haven’t visited in a long time. So I just put together songs I felt flowed best together and that I really have missed and that a lot of my fans have told me they’ve missed.”
Listen to the entire Behind the Setlist interview with Twain at Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, iHeart, Amazon Music or Audible.