No, the TV remote wasn't broken, and no, I didn't lose a bet. All sarcasm aside, I really do like Celine Dion. I think she has a great voice, her songs are generally good, and she has the intelligence to hire top-caliber songwriters. If I hear her on the radio, I will usually listen (well, with the exception of that Titanic song. Even I hated that after a while). I really like her latest single, "I Drove All Night."
However, when it comes to seeing her perform live, the illusion is shattered. I don't know if it's her so-thin-she-makes-Karen-Carpenter-look-l
Anyway, last night was the opening of her new Las Vegas show. Kat wanted to watch it, and being a Celine fan, I figured I'd give it a shot. Once again, it was one of those things that, while the music was fine, the show was unsettling. Celine recently got a very short haircut, and throughout the show, I was trying to decide if she looked like Sandy Duncan or like a woman I knew who had a stroke a few months earlier and whose hair hadn't quite grown back. With long hair and the proper makeup, Celine is actually quite attractive. This just served to make her head look more skeletal.
Her choice of wardrobe left a lot to be desired. She started off in a red pantsuit layered with wispy scarves. Not the best look, it make her look like some 70s disco diva. Later, she changed into a pale blue outfit that was supposed to make her look like a fairy (the kind with gossamer wings, not the kind from Christopher Street). They had her rigged up with a flying harness, and something about it ruined the look of the dress, eliminating whatever curves she had and almost making her look like she had a distended belly. Her final outfit (and the one that really reminded me of Sandy Duncan) was a pair of high-waisted tuxedo pants held up by cross-back suspenders and a white blouse. I could've sworn Sammy Davis Jr wore the same outfit on one of his appearances on the Muppet Show. I really think she would have been better off opening with a simple strapless or backless floor-length dress. She's as skinny as a rail, let her wardrobe have clean lines to it.
If someone told Celine that she had the moves to pull off a Vegas song and dance routine, somebody lied. They showed some of the rehearsals in the behind the scenes vignette, and I thought to myself "I'm sure this will look better in the real show." Nope. It may be opening-night jitters, but she looked very stiff. Some of her steps and upper body movement (hand and arm) looked like she did them less because they fit with the song, and more because they just occurred to her at that moment out of context with the emotions of the music and lyrics.
Apparently her show was designed by the same people that did Cirque de Soleil and O. I've never seen those shows, so I probably don't "get it," but her show seemed disjointed, poorly choreographed, and downplayed Celine's musical talent in favor of her trying to do a theatrical performance, which is an ill-fitting role. I've always thought Celine Dion has the chops to be a modern Barbara Streisand (minus the political activism and ill-conceived movie career). She really does her best work with just her, a few backup singers (although I don't recall many of her songs that needed them), and an orchestra. After this show ends its scheduled 3-year run (I don't think it will last that long), I would suggest she retool her show to more of an evening of torch songs and her original material. Less French Riviera and more Vegas lounge singer.