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Concerts [ 1999 ] part 1

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7
On January 25, 1999 Celine Dion performed at the Kai Tak Airport in Kowloon Bay, Hong Kong, China with the "Let´s Talk About Love Tour". The Kai Tak Airport was the international airport of Hong Kong from 1925 until 1998. Shortly after the airport closed, the site hosted a Celine´s concert as part of her 1998-1999 world tour. The buildings were demolished over the following years. The runway was used as a venue for Celine´s  January 25, 1999 concert. According to the press, Celine reaches for a high note during her sold-out performance at the old Kai Tak Airport. The French-Canadian singer, famed for her "Titanic" theme song "My heart will go on", gave a display of power ballads in an 18,000-seat temporary arena under a clear, moonlit sky. By 7:00 p.m., thousands of people had streamed into the venue, while queues for last-minute tickets grew. Celine spent two hours belting through her hits. According to The Bangkok Post, Celine took to the chilly tarmac at Hong Kong´s old Kai Tak Airport and gave a two-hour concert before a 20,000-strong audience. The audience - which included many of Hong Kong´s rich and famous - loved it as the French-Canadian diva gave a sparkling 18-song show ending with "Titanic" theme, "My heart will go on". Few days before the show, Dick Kaufmann from promoters DKA Asia, said "Ticket sales have picked up dramatically in the past few days as the weather has improved and we´re looking at some 20,000 people from the maximum allowed of around 35,000". The agency planned to ship concert ticket holders to the location with chartered buses, but changed the plan to shipping them to a site close to the former airport. "We are very fortunate as now guests will be able to take a five-minute stroll from the old terminal building straight onto the site of the concert", Kaufmann added. "The concert probably can´t be repeated on this site as a detoxication programme is set to be begin on the tarmac in preparation for possible redevelopment of Kai Tak as a shopping centre or for housing", he added. During the evening of January 25, 1999 Celine performed the first song, "Let´s Talk about love" with a choir from the Glenealy School, who met with Celine on backstage, minutes before the show. According to one of the choir´s members "It was the most incredible experience and we were so lucky to be able to watch the rest of the concert too, which was amazing". Celine also told to the audience she was very nervous, including the band members on the stage. Because they have been tour around the world so many times, and this was their first time to perform at an airport. The audiences were very happy. Celine also performed many other songs such as "Declaration of love", "Because you loved me", "The reason", "It´s all coming back to me now", "To love you more", "Treat her like a lady", "Tell him", "All by myself", "Love can move mountains" and, of course, "My heart will go on", in which she wore a red dress. Unfortunatelly for the Hong Kong fans, it wasn´t used the heart-shaped stage specially designed for the tour.
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On January 31, 1999 Celine Dion performed at the Tokyo Dome in Tokio, Japan in front of more than 40,000 people with the "Let´s Talk About Love Tour". The following day, Celine performed at the Tokyo Dome again (February 1, 1999). These two concerts were part of a five-concert-series she gave in Japan with this tour. Celine also performed twice in Osaka (January 28 and 29, 1999) and once in Nagoya (February 3, 1999). During the evening of January 31, 1999 the famous Japanese musician Taro Hakase accompanied Celine on the violin during the song "To love you more". Footage from the concert was shown on Japan´s Yol TV channel. Celine even performed in Japanese a little song named "Watashi ha totemo shiawase ne". It wasn´t used the heart-shaped stage specially designed for the tour.
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On February 12, 1999 Celine Dion performed at the Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA in front of more than 50,000 people with the "Let´s Talk About Love Tour". Celine arrived to Hawaii on February 4, 1999 after five concerts in Japan with the same tour. She was greeted at the Honolulu International Airport by Gov. Ben Cayetano and performer Keali´i Reichel. There, she was interviewed. Reichel made the opening act for Celine´s concert at the Aloha Stadium. According to the critic John Berger from The Honolulu Star-Bulletin, "Any doubts about Celine Dion´s ability to draw a crowd or rock the house as a stadium concert act in Hawaii were laid to rest". The Aloha Stadium was comfortably full. The weather was perfect. Celine´s performance eclipsed her show here a year ago in every way possible. Several recent hits and album tracks were added. The video screens added to Celine´s performance without blocking the view of the stage. The lighting sequences were more effective. The concert sound was clear even on the loudest numbers. The encores were staged and timed much more reasonably than a year ago. The show was about five minutes longer than at the Blaisdell Arena last February 1998 but moved more smoothly. Celine´s comments during the show also seemed more spontaneous last night - especially when she digressed and began talking about golf. She looked a bit tired, and perhaps tanned to the verge of sunburn after a week or so of pre-concert relaxation here, but sounded well rested and ready to work. Work she did. No question about it, she´s an incredible vocalist. Celine moves more like a rock star than a conventional female pop singer. A tight gray jumpsuit accented her movements and lithe rocker-style poses for most of the night. She seemed delighted and quite appreciative of the crowd´s response. "Because you loved me" became a community sing just as it did a year ago; the audience participation seemed more natural and spontaneous on the evening of February 12, 1999. Celine displayed her acting skills with "Tell him". The song is a duet with Barbra Streisand (who is seen on the video screens). Celine responded visually while Streisand sang. Her ability to react without overacting added to the drama of the song; so did the work of the video crew. Celine opened with "Let´s talk about love", in which she lashed the "shaka" sign to local children who performed with her. She closed the night, of course, with "My heart will go on". It is still a glorious signature for her. Other familiar tunes from her discography were "Declaration of love", "The power of love" and "Love can move mountains". "Beauty and the beast" and "Where does my heart beat now" were two surprising omissions. Anyway, these two songs were not part of the tour´s set list. However, Celine´s choice of alternative material was interesting. A mini-set of four "unplugged" love songs paid homage to Roberta Flack, the Beatles, Eric Clapton and Frank Sinatra. A subsequent disco segment found her wearing a Travolta-style white suit and dancing as Travolta did in "Saturday Night Fever". That provided the lead-in to a video duet with the Bee Gees and a smooth return to the present. During the whole show, Celine wore a typical Hawaii´s "Lei" (a wreath of flowers draped around the neck) and a flower on her curly hairstyle. Unfortunatelly for the Hawaii fans, it wasn´t used the heart-shaped stage specially designed for the tour. Keali´i Reichel made his second annual appearance as Celine´s opening act in Honolulu. This time he opened with his popular version of the Beatles´ "In my life", included several of his signature songs, and previewed a song from his next album. It was wonderful to enjoy his music in such a setting once again.
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On March 26, 1999 Celine Dion performed at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, USA with the "Let´s Talk About Love Tour", in front of more than 20,000 people. According to Dave Tianen from The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, pop-diva Celine Dion performed in front of a full house on March 26, 1999 night at the Bradley Center. In the ´90s, romance is sung with a French-Canadian accent. It would seem only fair to acknowledge that no recording artist has done more to define the contemporary love song than Celine Dion. Consider this. The two top-selling albums of 1998 were the "Titanic" soundtrack, which featured Celine´s reading of the massively popular "My heart will go on", and her own solo project "Let´s Talk About Love". During the concert, Celine demonstrated further evidence of her grasp of the romantic imagination with a sold-out performance at the Bradley Center. It was a lavish production worthy of Celine´s superstar credentials, with a heart-shaped stage set in the middle of the Bradley Center floor. It speaks well of any performer to be able to sell out a venue the size of the Bradley Center with an adult audience. Still, Celine´s detractors are ardent and many. That's a valid pop tradition that runs from Doris Day and Jane Morgan through Connie Francis and Petula Clark, to Streisand and now Celine. There´s always been a market for attractive women with pretty voices singing about love. A more valid criticism is the accusation that she tends to oversing, going for the fences on every song. On this concert, Celine didn´t seem any more prone to bombast than such sister divas as Mariah Carey or Whitney Houston. Indeed, during a reading of Roberta Flack´s exquisite "The first time ever I saw your face", she demonstrated she could sing softly with nuance and tenderness. And if anyone missed the point, she followed it with another subdued effort on Eric Clapton´s "Tears in heaven". If there´s an argument for putting Celine in front of Carey and Houston, it´s for what she doesn´t do. She has the wisdom not to feel compelled to write her own material. As a result she wisely mines superior material from such talented people as Carole King ("The reason"), David Foster ("To love you more") and Bryan Adams ("Let´s talk about love"). There´s no denying that "The power of love" and "To love you more" verge to the melodramatic. But they´re striking melodies, and Celine sings them with such verve as to easily carry the moment. Indeed, "The power of love" generated a standing ovation on the show. Celine herself is a warm and vibrant presence who proved more than equal to the task of winning over an enormous room like the Bradley Center. She chatted with the crowd about her progress as a golfer, and danced with elan if not great fluidity during a medley from "Saturday Night Fever". There were a couple of points, however, where the production sailed over the top. During a video duet with the Bee Gees on "Immortality", the Gibb brothers were seen to disappear into the clouds like disco deities. And for Celine´s closing encore of "My heart will go on", the stage sprouted a bow railing that the singer rushed to at the climactic moment, as offstage fans blew her long tresses behind her. Although with the same outfits as the past concerts of the tour, Celine wore a new hairstyle, a straight hairstyle she would use during the rest of the tour.
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On April 2, 1999 Celine Dion performed at the Reunion Arena in Dallas, USA in front of more than 19,000 people with the "Let´s Talk About Love Tour". The show strarted at 8:00 p.m and it was presented by Ericsson. Celine used a new hairstyle, long and straight, that she would continue using until the end of the tour. Althought, there were no costume changes. On this show, it was used the center stage specially designed for the tour (heart-shaped stage). Pop music critic Dave Ferman, from the Star-Telegram (a major USA daily newspaper), wrote: "For me, the good and the bad of Celine Dion´s show could be distilled into one song: Because you loved me". Big ballad, big hit, big moment in a big glitzy show at an absolutely full Reunion Arena. Celine does most of it in fine voice. The band has every note nailed perfectly. The stage lights up in the shape of a heart, once again reinforcing the Let´s Talk About Love theme of this tour, which is the title of Dion´s latest gazillion-selling CD. We´re almost to the end - and then Dion gets a thought. Howzabout, she tells the crowd, we all sing the last line together. As if, in the middle of the show near the end of a multimonth tour, she just thought this up. So the crowd tries. Not good enough. Dion pouts. On the next try, though, we pull off her brillant, once-in-a-lifetime idea. As if. And between that song and the next, Dion reminds us, again and again, that we are in fact in Dallas, and that Dallas is just about the gosh-darned best place in the whole wide world. And it was moments like this that make Dion´s show less than it could be. And her duet with Barbra Straisand on Tell him, during which she sang with Straisand´s video image, was simply too cheesy for words. To be fair, parts of the show were welloiled, arena-friendly pop music. Dion knows how to work an in-the-round stage, the sound was excellent, and her entrance was, for this sort of show, boffo: she rose out of the middle of the stage singing Let´s talk about love and was quickly followed by members of her band and then, for the end of the song, by more than two dozen members of the Children´s Choir of Greated Dallas, who sounded great. This is the dichotomy of Dion´s show; On songs such as It´s all coming back to me now or The reason, she is a solid, smart live performer, looking and sounding thoroughly at home in a huge arena. But then there were also moments when she simply went over the top. There is something to be said for just standing there and singing. Dion is a massive star, and a massive name, but a little restraint would do her more than a little good".
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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7
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