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Concerts [ 1998 ] part 4

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On October 3, 1998 Celine Dion performed at the Broward County Civic Arena in Sunrise, USA (a city situated approximately six miles west of Fort Lauderdale, USA) with the "Let´s Talk About Love Tour". With this concert, Celine opened the new Broward County Civic Arena. The concert was attended by nearly 20,000 spectators and was sold out with 2 two hours. The new arena opened its doors with back-to-back concerts by Celine Dion on October 3, 1998 and Elton John, the following day. The shows grossed in excess of $2 million from nearly 40,000 fans. Celine set a personal best on this tour with 21,354 attending, said Bob Dhue, manager of the new arena for Leisure Management International, private management firm. Tickets for that show were $75, $50 and $35. Per caps on food and drink, including catering, exceeded $10 for Boston Concessions Group. Celine was promoted by Cellar Door and LMI. Overall, this concert at the Broward County Civic Arena was similar to past concerts of the tour (Uniondale, New York City, Chicago), although it featured a very special participation. Almost on the end of the concert, the Bee Gees appeared onstage to perform "Immortality" in duet with Celine (the Bee Gees were usually shown on a screen through a pre-recorded video during the performance of the song). And for the finale, during the performance of "My heart will go on", Celine wore a red long dress.
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On October 13, 1998 Celine Dion performed at The Arena in Oakland in Oakland, USA with the "Let´s Talk About Love Tour". According to the pop music critic James Sullivan from The San Francisco Chronicle, at the Oakland show, Celine played directly to her constituency, a full house. The raised stage of her theater-in-the- round was heart-shaped, her outfit made her look like a gift box of chocolates, and admirers laid bouquets at her feet. Midway through the opening number "Let´s talk about love", Celine was joined onstage by a few dozen elementary school children, who formed a ring around her and helped her sing the chorus. The gesture was calculated sweetness, like much of Celine´s act. He wrote: "still, you can´t go wrong with well - groomed children - especially when they´re as animated as the little girl in the fleece pullover, who thrust her hands toward the floor when the kids turned to face the crowd, offering a hint of her own impending diva-dom". First emerging from beneath the stage in a black top, a deep-red sash and a silvery, gownlike sarong, Celine threw off the wrap after the first song to reveal a pair of black, boot-cut slacks that clung to her legs. "Show me what you got tonight!", Celine whooped, launching into "Declaration of love". For songs like that one, her electric band and three backup singers were raised from their circular pits, giving the stage an appropriate look of commotion. For ponderous numbers such as Eric Carmen´s "All by myself" complete with piano interlude filched from Rachmaninoff, the musicians were lowered into their pits, leaving the singer alone in the spotlight. Easily the best part of the 80-minute set came when Celine summoned her band to center stage, where they sat on the lip of the riser as she essayed a medley of some favorite songs. Roberta Flack´s "The first time ever I saw your face", the Beatles´ "Because" and Eric Clapton´s "Tears in heaven" were all delivered with tender care - no small feat in a basketball gym. Even Sinatra´s "All the way" steered clear of swagger, and the accordion gave all four songs a touch of Celine´s romantic French-language roots. Less appealing was her gimmicky, canned interaction with the Bee Gees, who appeared on the enormous video monitors in a prerecorded "chat" with the headliner, introducing a video montage that accompanied Celine´s version of the Gibb brothers´ "Immortality". That she´s a huge fan was made more evident by the medley that immediately preceded the Bee Gees´ cameo - a combination of "Stayin´ alive" and "You should be dancing", for which the singer appeared in a white Travolta suit with a brown, midriff-baring top. "Let´s turn this place into the hottest dance club in town!", Celine hollered. While her fans were dutifully thrilled, not many behinds were wagging. Aside from doing the wave - an impressive display, with nearly 100 percent participation - this was one stiff crowd. Of course, they´d all come to see one song in particular, and Celine made it her sole encore. "My heart will go on" featured Celine and two backup singers in statuesque gowns. For the climax, Celine hung over the edge of a replicated ship´s prow, her kinky Sarah Jessica Parker-style hair blowing in an artificial wind. Meanwhile, clips of Leo and Kate appeared on the monitors. The spectacle drew shrieks of approval. Midway through the set, Celine worked to another video accompaniment, performing a virtual duet with Barbra Streisand on "Tell him". Unfortunately, her Streisand duet underscored Celine´s greatest shortcoming. For its part, critic Brad Kava from the San Jose Mercury News, wrote: "If you think the Bee Gees wrote the greatest dance songs ever, and if last year´s movie epic about a sinking pile of ship stirs the depths of your emotions, then you´d rate Celine Dion´s Oakland Arena show Tuesday (October 13, 1998) as magnifique". According to him, the shrieking was deafening as video screens flashed images of heartthrobs Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio from "Titanic", and Celine, leaning against a fake ship´s prow, launched into the multimillion-selling movie theme, "My heart will go on",' which closed the show. She got almost as big a response singing what she said are her favorite dance songs ever, "Staying alive" and "You should be dancing", dressed in a white pantsuit, a la John Travolta, copying his finger-in-the-air moves, while the audience joined in. But there were some better moments, even some endearing ones, in the two-hour, 17-song set by this 30-year-old French-Canadian chanteuse. One was a tender song in French, "S´il suffisait d´aimer", which showed the best of her vocal stylings. Perched on a riser on the round stage in the middle of the arena, she trilled and gently meandered around the words, avoiding the melodrama that marred some of her other numbers. On "Treat her like a lady", Celine managed to muster some funk, dancing with three backup singers around the stage. Two drummers and two guitarists helped spread the sound. "The reason", recorded with Beatles producer George Martin and Carole King, captured some of the magic of both. Later, she did a magnificent job on the Beatles´ "Because", a strange choice for a singer used to being center stage. Her voice was surrounded by those of her troupe, in a dark, misty, stirring harmony. She was less successful on Roberta Flack´s "The first time ever I saw your face", Sinatra´s "All the way" and "Love can move mountains". It was as if she´d put an electric sander to them, smoothing them into something radio calls easy-listening. "Tell him" included her duet with Barbra Streisand through the magic of video, but it was even worse. Like blackbirds on a telephone wire, they seemed to be competing for turf, rather than singing together. Both appeared to equate volume with passion, and what could have been a forum for vocal stylings and improvisations by two great singers ended up a caterwauling contest. Celine performed the theatrical anthem "Let´s talk about love" as her opener, surrounded by the glee club from San Jose´s Bagby Elementary School. On "Declaration of love", she was a whir of motion, jumping on the piano, running around the stage, trying to welcome every person in the basketball arena. Unlike too many other divas, Celine reached out to them. She didn´t mess with her hair or change costumes excessively. She performed for most of the night in skin-tight pants and a black top. (There was a skirt over it for the first song and then two changes later: the Travolta garb and, of course, a long, high-collar dress for the "Titanic" track). At one point, she even led the audience in the wave. The crowd, well-dressed older folks and parents with teenagers, dressed in shiny clothes and big, bright jewelry, had already done the wave on its own while waiting for her. Opener Andre-Phillippe Gagnon was brilliant. He did half an hour of dead-on impressions of rock stars.
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On October 14, 1998 Celine Dion performed at the San Jose Arena in San Jose, USA with the "Let´s Talk About Love Tour", in front of about 18,000 people. According to some fans who attended the concert, it was definitely a night to remember. Celine gave an amazing concert, her vocals were incredible, and she kept running around the stage doing shark jaws with her arms (for the San Jose Sharks hockey team) while the band played a few notes from the Jaws theme.
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On October 16, 1998 Celine Dion performed at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, USA with the "Let´s Talk About Love Tour". According to Amusement Business, Celine set a facility record for a single performance concert at the Thomas & Mack Center. The performance grossed nearly $1.2 million. Food and beverage per caps were $2.87 and novelty per caps were $5.46, according to venue officials.
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On October 21, 1998 Celine Dion performed at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood, USA with the "Let´s Talk About Love Tour" and in front of about 18,000 people. According to critic Adam Sandler, to her credit, Celine kept the vocal histrionics and hyper stage movements she has become known for to a minimum during her sold-out concert at the Great Western Forum, preferring instead to illustrate her evolution as an artist through singing prowess and a relaxed stage manner. Performing in the round on a heart-shaped stage, Celine worked hard to incite a reaction from the unusually dormant and celebrity-studded crowd by effectively advancing the perf´s theme of "Love" through song and story. While the format has become an overused tour device to foster intimacy, its goal was aided by Celine´s take on Roberta Flack´s "The first time ever I saw your face", Ewan MacColl´s classic that forced down Celine´s usually high-end vocals a few keys and demonstrated her enormous note control. Other songs in the grouping didn´t come off as well. It was also difficult to get a sense of intimacy during the evening as Celine has moved her popular roadshow from the smaller confines of 6,000-seat amphitheaters to the more cavernous 20,000-plus seat arenas where touching love songs unwittingly devolve into power ballads. Celine´s penchant to over-reach was perhaps best illustrated when embarking on a misguided foray into ´70s music when she called the songs of the Bee Gees "the greatest songs in the world" and launched into "Stayin´ alive", complete with rotating disco ball. The shift was an unneeded exercise in order to segue into a video duet with the Gibb brothers. Similarly, Celine´s duet on "Tell him" with Barbra Streisand was done via Babs-TV - tape taken from the album´s "Making of" spec. The closing, complete with Titanic bow railings on which Celine leaned, gave the crowd exactly what they had hoped for: Celine´s signature warbling of "My heart will go on" and film clips of Leonardo DiCaprio, which were met with jet noise-like screams from the females in the crowd.
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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6
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