Pete’s Blog&Grille: Never the Twain I'll Meet
Me, Stacey, and Her Mom
About 18 years ago, I was interviewed by an entertainment reporter for the Toronto Sun.
Every Monday, the paper ran a “What Did You Do On The Weekend?” column in which they asked regular folks like me what they had done for fun.
For the first and last time, I got to be a “man in the street.”
And that weekend, I told the reporter, I had purchased a record by—get this—“Somebody named Shania Twain.”
Imagine. “Somebody named Shania Twain.” She had yet to become a superstar.
I had just had my first exposure to Twain. I had been driving a rental car around Penetanguishene, ON., on assignment for the Financial Post, listening to the country station Kicx106. I was headed east on Highway 12 and this voice came from the radio. She had me at “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?”
Twain is phenomenal: talented, beautiful, and, I soon learned, from someplace up near Timmins.
I was born in Sudbury. What’s not to love?
In the intervening years, I’ve remained loyal. Maybe a bit “too”.
Three summers ago, when one poor chap was sent up the river for stalking Twain, I deemed his actions taking one for the team.
Shania couldn’t write a bad song if she tried.
For all my admiration though, I never did get to see her perform. And I’ve always wanted to.
My chance arrived last week. I was lucky enough to be in Vegas for the Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week and I had an open evening.
Shania Twain now headlines at Caesar’s.
But — and I know this will come as a shock to you because it still surprises me — there are still some people on the planet unwilling to part with 200 bucks for a halfways decent seat at a Shania Twain concert. I was having a hard time getting a date and curtain time was approaching.
I was still to’ing and fro’ing around the conference with Today’s Trucking’s National Accounts Manager Heather Donnelly.
We were outside a conference room weighing our options. (In that same room a few hours later would be a splendid reception hosted by the aftermarket mavens Meritor.)
Suddenly, from somewhere in the building, I heard Shania.
She was singing “Honey I’m Home.”
“Heather!” I announced, “This we gotta see!”
We followed our ears down the hall, we peeked around a corner, and — where the Meritor event was about to take place — there, on stage, was a complete back-up band behind a Shania clone prancing about the stage.
It was a Shania Tribute group and they were terrific. That they were in their civvies as opposed to their show clothes made it even cooler.
And get this: Over in the corner, standing by herself, was a slender woman, about my age, with her hands on her hips, eyes closed, just bathing in the music. She was in heaven.
Heather and I approached.
She was Tribute Shania’s Mom. And she was just beamin’ with pride. (Can’t say I blame her.)
She was a fountain of mom-brewed intel.
Shania, we learned, was really Stacey Whitton Summers, and Stacey was 45, and she was the eldest of six, and she played the sax and piano in the church choir growing up and she also toured North America as Marilyn Monroe in the “Legends” act. She does a mean Katy Perry, too.
I was so pumped after this little meeting, I think meeting Shania Twin is a step up from seeing the real McCoy. Especially at an aftermarket show.
We got a sense of how hard-working and capable these professional performers are. Which is precisely what the folks at the conference want us to think about their aftermarket products, right?
Seeing the aftermarket Shania was just as much fun if not more than the OE version. Younger too. And way cheaper.
Plus she was accessible. After the rehearsal, Stacey and I had a great talk about her and Shania’s careers.
Best of all, Heather and I got to meet and hear from Stacey’s mom, who, incidentally, really does have it goin’ on.