POP: Celine Dion; Wembley Arena, London
Tuesday 19 November 1996
Of course, it's only those of us used to the "we're going to play for two hours and you can like it or fuck off" atmosphere of an Oasis gig who are sitting rigid with embarrassment as Celine rambles on. I mean, at least Oasis are honest about it. If, as Celine claims, this really is our show, are we allowed a cut of the profits? Still, the couples and families are having the time of their lives (has she covered that song? She should). They watch in hushed reverence, occasionally venturing to the lip of the stage to give her flowers. "For me?" she gasps, every time, tugging at her white, backless jumpsuit. No, love, for the multi-million- selling French-Canadian diva behind you.
Interestingly, this weekend Wembley does play host to another super-diva: Celine's label-mate, Gloria Estefan. Infinitely warmer and more likeable, Gloria is a Cuban refugee who weaves her background in and out of her work. Likewise, Streisand's story is integral to the role she plays on stage. But Celine Dion, like Mariah Carey, seems to have come out of a pod. A pod marked "ballad".
While my companion stormed out in disgust during "River Deep, Mountain High", I actually quite enjoyed it, because at least the tempo changed. And I felt quite moved during "Pour Que Tu M'aimes Encore" because it was in French so was bound to be tragic (especially rendered with hand- wrenching and brow-tugging).
Obviously, Celine Dion is a brilliant singer, technically at least. But she is far from being a great singer. She may as well be reading aloud from TV Quick for all the emotion she displays - I don't buy that "the more notes I squeeze out of one lyric, the more emotion I must feel" deal. Lesser singers, such as Madonna and Kylie Minogue, have fashioned careers from their capacity to change and take risks. Even the wearying Mariah Carey has taken one risk (a duet of "Ol' Dirty Bastard" with the Wu-Tang Clan, which was one of the singles of 1995) but Celine Dion is carved in stone. She is never, ever going to change, and that means there can be no optimism about anything she does.
Music Why this music festival is still the place to spot the next big thing
Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Is this bridge haunted by the ghost of nu rave?
- 2 Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
- 3 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 4 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
- 5 Noel Gallagher: I lost sh*tloads of money, a few million, didn’t tell my wife
Britain's first cinema flickers back to life following £6m refurbishment
A historian gave the most British look of despair when someone screwed up Richard III's birthday at his reburial
James May hints Top Gear days are over following Jeremy Clarkson's BBC exit
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
James May hints he will not continue on Top Gear without Jeremy Clarkson
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew