Celine Dion at the O2 Arena, London, gig review: Unstoppable vocals at a flawless show with zero pretence

There's no one else like her

Tom Rasmussen
Wednesday 21 June 2017 15:14
Celine Dion performs at the O2 Arena in London
Celine Dion performs at the O2 Arena in London

Celine Dion is arguably the last of her kind. A star whose careers spans more than three decades and whose whole existence is dedicated to the “ultimate honour”: to entertain. Others in this dynasty are divas such as Shirley Bassey, Barbara Streisand and Liza Minnelli, stars who have built legacies on sheer, unflinching vocal talent and an unwavering commitment to the art of The Show.

Her first stadium tour in eight years, Dion opened with the evergreen classic “The Power of Love”, as blue light bathed the audience from behind the her. Her vocal was the definition of unstoppable: never a monster note missed, never a vocal run misplaced, never a second out of time. The two-hour-and-20-minute extravaganza played exactly into her fans’ hands: letting rip on classics from “Think Twice” to “Because You Loved Me”, “All By Myself”, to “Love Can Move Mountains”.

For the more dedicated in the room she offered titbits from her contemporary canon in a rocky medley, featuring the more sultry Celine, with rompers like “Refuse to Dance” and “Love is All We Need”. Every fibre in her body was on stage to perform for us, as she delivered flawless hit after flawless hit.

On each song, Dion was emotionally present – unlike many younger, less seasoned stars at a similar level. The yelping audience were plunged and catapulted on an emotional rollercoaster via a joking Celine, a seductive Celine, best gal-pal Celine, and the Celine mourning her late husband.

Every moment brings with it a flood of entirely new feeling, which the French-Canadian actually feels, despite rolling out the same repertoire most nights for the past 15 years in Las Vegas.

What is so utterly unique about Celine Dion, and the reason she continues to sell out stadiums, is that there’s no other pop star out there who doesn’t have an ounce of cool. With Dion there’s no pretence, no pressure or nerves; there is simply entertainment.

And while stars of the same magnitude use their platform for political purposes and their music as a means of exploring the potential limits of pop, production, and writing, Celine has always sat comfortably at pop-stardom’s apex, offering nothing brand new, but providing fans across the world with what they want: emotion, escapism, and euphoria.

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