Tickets are still available for her final concert in the New York area tonight.
Celine Dion’s new tour is a triumph. Her first trek around the United States in over ten years is called “Courage,” after Dion’s new album of the same name.
The spectacle last night (March 7th) at Prudential Center showcased that this tour is as grand as her most recent Vegas residency, which ended last year. Though, a concert in a 20,000 seat venue is decided less intimate and lush than a Vegas Showroom a fourth that size. No matter — Dion’s powerful voice is big enough to any venue. Hell, it probably could reach space if she wanted it to.
It is so very hard to review this show without spoiling anything, especially the staging. Though to give you a general idea; the stage itself takes on the style of futuristic lego bricks. It is built like a rectangular U, with sections that raise and lower as needed, and catwalks on either side of the stage. Though a word of warning if you get a seat near one of those offshoots: Dion prefers a corded microphone, and very rarely makes her way to the far reaches of her set-up.
The stage was deep enough to accommodate her backing band, who she calls her “extended family,” was a staggering 17-piece mini orchestra. Even though there were over a dozen instrumentalists and backing vocalists, the musicianship was so top notch, it never drowned out or distorted the music. They helped create a full and varied sound throughout the night, on songs including “Alive” and “Imperfections.”
Dion’s crystalline vocals are iconic. To call her voice twangy would be reductive of her French-Canadian roots. To call it “poppy” is just plain insulting. Celine’s voice knows no genre, and makes one want to hear every song she’s ever recorded, and dream of one she’s hasn’t. (Celine Goes Country has a good ring to it, don’t you think?)
It’s hard to pick a standout number when every song in Celine’s 18-number setlist elicited such a strong reaction. After all, unless one was lucky to catch her while she was–quote–”locked up in the desert” at the Colosseum, Americans by and large have not seen
Dion in concert for over a decade.
A solo rendition of “The Prayer” got the biggest standing ovation of the main set. Her encore of “My Heart Will Go On” received the biggest reception, with an ovation lasting six minutes afterwards. Standing awash in the reception, one could tell she missed bringing
her music to her fans.
“Courage” is an appropriate name for a tour and an album. It took courage for her to return to the stage after the death of her husband René Angélil four years ago. This is her first major worldwide tour — it is lasting until September — without him by her side. But still,
just like that song says, she goes on — with courage. And if her promises are to be believed, it will not be another decade until the northeast sees Celine again.