Last night, I bought a last-minute ticket to see Celine Dion at Madison Square Garden with my friend Robb, his friend Louis, and Louis’ boyfriend Jorge. (This sounds like a Kathy Griffin bit…) I took notes:
• Robb: “I don’t believe I’m here.” [Note his IM from earlier in the day: “There will be moments tonight when we’re all scarred from embarrassment. But have you ever seen her live? You will be amazed at the voice. It’s perfect.”]
• Opens with “I Drove All Night.” Standing on the piano in the first song! She has great legs…
• Me: “I just got chills. Goddamn it.” Robb: “Write that down.”
• Robb turns to give me a knowing nod as she holds the last note of “The Power of Love.”
• Ten years since she’s played the Garden. Feels priviledged to still be singing for us. Has her 81-year-old mother and 7.5-year-old son on tour. Thanks us again on behalf of everyone onstage. Robb: “It’s genuine.” I agree.
• New song “Taking Chances.” “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” [Squeal!] “Because You Loved Me.” [Boo.] People like that song?
• “To Love You More.” Still no chest-pounding. Four kids pulled from our section because they’ve been standing and doing interpretive dance during every song. Robb hopes they get better seats so they can act crazy right in front of Celine. “She’d love them.”
• “Eyes on Me.” New song. Like it. And the black thigh-high boots.
• “All By Myself.” Robb nudges my leg as if to tell me to “get ready.” One light chest slap, but definitely not a pound. When is she going to pound? Goes a cappella for the big note at the end. Falls to her knees and leans back with her arms over her head. [Note that this is starred, twice, in my notebook. It was such an amazing/awesomely bad sight that I got tears in my eyes. I also started thinking that maybe people who diss Celine are secretly afraid that they would do the exact same moves if they had her voice and those dramatic ballads.]
• “I’m Alive.” She’s wearing bell bottoms? New song “Shadow of Love.” Pretends to shoot gun and put it in holster. New song “Fade Away.” Robb is right: This sounds like a Kelly Clarkson song. “I’m Your Angel.” Robb: “Her R. Kelly duet. Obviously recorded before he was seen peeing on someone. ALLEGEDLY.”
• She just did a leg kick during “Alone.” Kisses her thumb then gives us a thumbs-up.
• New song “My Love,” written by Linda Perry. Some people know how to write a song, Celine says, and some people know how to see into your soul.
• “The Prayer” with a videotaped Andrea Boccelli. Robb: “They clapped for the video.” Funny that she didn’t have a videotaped R. Kelly.
• French song: “Pour Que Tu M’aimes Encore.” The biggest selling French song in history, according to Robb, who’s singing along. Didn’t he study in Spain in college? Robb: “I don’t speak French; I learned it phonetically.”
• “We Will Rock You.” A Queen tribute. “The Show Must Go On.” Twirling the tassles on her bedazzled vest. On her knees again. Robb: “Jorge’s crying.”
• The soul medley Robb warned me about. Leads into “It’s a Man’s World.” One of her white, strappy thigh-high boots is falling down. Does she know? “Love Can Move Mountains.”
• Encore: “River Deep, Mountain High.” People applaud when she twirls a portion of mic stand like a baton. How hard is that? Another chest slap. But still.no.pounding.
• Second encore: “My Heart Will Go On.” Raised podium, naturally. Descends to walk the perimeter of the stage. Train of gown blowing = nice touch.
P.S.: As we left the concert, Louis and Jorge argued over whether Jorge had actually cried. (He denies it.) When we got to the street and started critiquing Celine’s costumes, Jorge said her Titanic gown was his least favorite: He doesn’t like short-in-front, long-in-back, even for the purpose of flow. A woman walking in front of us actually turned around to say, “No. That was my favorite.”
How does this compare to your Celine experience?