Edmonton, Canada (S. Twain Canadian Fans Website) - There's a well-known saying in the kindest of football huddles and the fierce world of competitive shuffleboard - play big or stay in your diapers. Or is that 'stay at home?'
I don't spend much time playing either sport. Of course, the point is moot if the game's so quick there's no time to consider it properly.
"Heylookit'sShaniaTwainand thereshegoesit'sovernowwow." Yeah, it was about that fast.
Thus, Shania Twain came on big yesterday around burgertime at Commonwealth, as hundreds of red, white and black dancers spun around her centre-line stage in tight formations, a technicolour marriage of Triumph of the Will and Cirque de soleil. Big but so fleeting - eight minutes on the stopwatch. Hello goodbye, as the Beatles put it.
Her band of short, impossibly smiley tour musicians mugged for the Jumbotron cameras, leaning on each other and on the Timmins-to-Switzerland former McDonald's employee, now the best-selling female musician on the planet. Pretty as ever, Twain appeared, shaped like an ice-cream cone, an inflated yellow parka topping painted-on tights and, just so we don't forget the obvious, big furry mukluks. She also had a Canada toque with a Bob and Doug McKenzie patch, not that there was time to linger on such excellent details. Just two songs, I'm Gonna Getcha Good! and Up!, among the lowlights of her career.
"You all better get up on your feet," she said, or something like it. Some hosehead in a wig was blowing one of those Chewbacca-moan stadium horns into an airhorn, to amplify it, see, 'right into my ear' while she talked. Not that I'm complaining. The sweet chaos of that many drunk people boiling into an increasing gallows fury as feeble passing and Mother Nature's fangs sunk in, well, it's really about my favourite kind of atmosphere. There is a lot of grumbling in the air at times like these, giant old D-cup men saying unprintable imprinters, branded on the brain for good, usually to do with the mothers of the referees or anyone within yelling radius.
The show - the non-football part of it - opened early with Emerson Drive or, as many put it, "Who?" Then: "We should have waited at home longer, it's too cold here." Nothing a few spiked hot chocolates couldn't cure. Next, Meredith McLeod made sure the number of Montreal mayors mad at Edmonton was zero; she sang the important nationalistic words: "Il sait porter la croix," which so totally doesn't translate into "the true North strong and free" it's not funny. Luckily, Bill Smith was at the game, just in case there were any "mayor battles."
Next in the pre-game, Adam Gregory did the anthems en anglais, while several Eskimos hopped up and down like Pianosaurus keys, or Whak-a-Moles, if you like that better. Behind young Gregory, hundreds of kids in Maple Leaf hats formed a human flag over the field of the Eskies' upcoming doom.
Ah, defeat. You could feel it in the air the whole time and all talk of victory was fleeting. The distraction of Twain was meaningless as we hunched over and went home.