Celine Dion stuns Sydney with iconic Aussie moment
ICONIC covers, cheesy stand-up routines, screaming matches between fans - the second of Celine Dion's sold-out shows at Sydney's Qudos Bank Arena had it all.
In the spirit of the legendary Celine Dion's amazing viral video - a YouTube compilation that's now been online for 10 long years, and which I may have watched every week for the past decade - I'll present my review of last night's concert in the form of a list. Here they are - the eight most ridiculous, amazing moments from the Celine Dion concert:
1. A support act only Celine could have: Veronic DiCaire, a French Canadian 'human jukebox' musical impressionist who perfectly impersonates every diva under the sun - and has the same goofy, cheesy sense of humour as Celine (seriously, they could be sisters). Cher, Pink, Britney, a very boozy, woozy Mariah - Veronic blasted through each one in rapid fire succession, her impersonations earning gasps and cheers each time. It takes a special performer to hand-pick this woman as your support act, secure in the knowledge you won't be upstaged.
2. Celine emerging in the first of many amazing outfits for the night, looking like the world's gayest matador in an immaculate all-gold suit as she prowled the stage singing her first Australian number one hit, The Power of Love. Instant standing ovation before she'd even sung a note.
3. Her between-song banter, which at times ran for longer than the songs themselves: Make no mistake, Celine Dion is pure ham and cheese. A total goober. Referencing her three decades in the music industry, she mimed hobbling across the stage on a walking frame, clinging to the piano for support. Introducing a song written especially for her by Pink, she scanned the arena's rafters for the aerial acrobatics-obsessed singer.
"Calm down people, she's not here tonight," she announced with a mock sigh of relief. Celine is your tipsy aunty who insists on reading every single bad joke in the crackers at Christmas.
4. The INTENSE devotion she inspires in fans, starved of time with her after a decade away from our shores. One particularly fervent woman in the row behind me dealt with a couple chatting mid-song thusly: "This means EVERYTHING to me!!!" she screamed at them.
"DO YOU UNDERSTAND THAT?!?!"
Chatty couple kept quiet after that.
5. Celine re-emerging in a big, froufy, ridiculous ball gown for the night's biggest, froufiest, most ridiculous song: Her 1996 masterpiece, the Jim Steinman-penned mini-opera It's All Coming Back To Me Now. You haven't lived until you've heard Celine Dion sing live what are surely some of the most satisfying lyrics in popular music - words it's impossible to deliver in anything but a scream: "THERE WERE NIGHTS OF ENDLESS PLEASURE! / IT WAS MORE THAN ANY LAWS ALLOWED! BABY. BABY. BA-BYYYYY…."
6. An extended comic monologue about flirting with actor Ryan Reynolds when he personally invited her to sing the theme song to Deadpool 2 that went on … and on. We struggled to understand the point of the story until Celine demonstrated her flirting technique - cameras tight on her face, she raised one eyebrow, then another, then both at the same time. Oh, maybe THAT was the point of the story: At 50, Celine Dion is definitely Botox-free (and she wants you to know it).
7. Celine - truly, the biggest crowd pleaser there is - including in her set the most crowd pleasing song in Australian history: John Farnham's You're the Voice. Farnsey, we don't mean to be rude, but don't push yourself for that umpteenth farewell tour - Celine can more than handle it.
8. Her cover of Eric Carmen's 1975 soft rock staple All By Myself - truly, her 1996 take is the DEFINITIVE version of the song. The lyrics about loneliness had always been delivered with a campy melodrama, but coming just minutes after Celine mentioned the 2016 death of her husband, René Angélil, they suddenly had a new-found poignancy. As she poured everything she had into the song's feverish climax, it wasn't a performance: it was raw emotion. And it was pure Celine.
Celine Dion's Australia - New Zealand tour continues until August 14, with multiple dates in Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne and Auckland still to come. Head to Frontier Touring for more details.