The Concert

TV Guide, November 8th 1997

Most superstars save their big move for late in the game. Micheal Jackson doesn't do any serious moonwalking before his encore. Basketballer Micheal Jordan waits until he's limber before attempting his signature behind-the-back dunk. But Celine Dion gives the crowd what it came for in the very first song of her new 2 hour special, "The Concert", taped last March in Memphis.

Dressed in a perfect-for-Memphis skintight Elvis-style gold lame outfit, her hair done up in two storey country and western pompadour- Celine kick-starts the show with her 1995 hit, "The Power Of Love" The tune shows off the Montreal singer's gorgeous, five-octave soprano to spectacular effect. And when Celine reaches the song's throbbing, operatic climax, the Tennessee crowd goes into a quivering mass hug.

There will be more cuddling and flashlight waving (the tools are taped to our seats) before the night is through. For Celine's Memphis show is an overflowing greatest-hits package shrewdly calculated to satisfy her swelling constituency. (At last official count, shye's sold more than 50 million albums.) As healty portion of her English hits are delivered- "Because You Loved Me" and "Decleration Of Love" -along with three songs sung in French and a duet with a beaming Japanese fiddler, Taro Hakase. Every one of these indutrial-strength love songs is received with rapt devotion in keeping with the singer's ecstatic delivery. Many of those in attendance are teenage girls who fell in love with the possibility of music upon hearing "Beauty And The Beast". This is their first exposure to expertly produced rock'n' roll, with a bone-stirring sound and dizzying light tricks. But Celine's voice that thrills them. Whenever she torches a lyric with one of her soaring cries, something close to Beatlemania ensues.

Before the show, 20-year-old concert goer Daniella "Danny" Wynn tries to explain Celine's appeal: "I love her music, her voice is just so full of hope" she says. "I always feel better after listening to her albums" Throughout tonight's show, Danny sings along at the top of her lungs. Elsewhere in the crowd other young girls sing along. Not that you can hear them with Celine working the microphone on stage. But 20 minutes after she abandons the spotlight, her songs continue to reverberate through Mid-South Coliseum as dreamy shop girls like Danny and arm-in-arm schoolgirls shout out the lyrics to "All By Myself" and "Beauty And The Beast" while proceeding on out into a crisp March night. Listening to Celine's fans sing, the expression "know the words by heart" never seemed so appropriate.

From Memphis To Montreal

TV GUIDE recently caught up with Celine Dion in Montreal, where she talked about her TV special, life on the road and her recently released duet with Barbra Streisand.

TV GUIDE: Wtxhing you perform in Memphis, I caught glimpses of Elvis, Tina Turner, Ginetter Reno and Barbra Streisand. Were these artists influences ?

Celine Dion: They were, and I'm flattered you say that. One funny thing about my influences is that I'm not sure who they are, because growing up, my biggest musical influence was my family. I was the youngest of 14 kids in a musical family, and I watched my brothers and sisters perform Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Beatles... Aretha- everybody! So I'm really influenced by my family's interpretations of performers.

TV GUIDE: You shot this special in Elvis's home town and came out wearing what looked like one of Elvis' gold-lame suits. Were you tempted to do an Elvis number?

Celine Dion: Yes. I used to do Elvis' "Can't Help Falling in Love". But we hadn't rehearsed anything, and you want everything to be perfect for a special

TV GUIDE: What's the difference between a live show and a TV special? Do you accommodate the cameras or...

Celine Dion: No, the camera follows me. I play for the people, not the camera. The only thing that's going to work for me is to connect to the audience.

TV GUIDE: Before ypur Memphis show, I was talking with one fan who told me you were her favorite because, "Celine's music and her voice are full of hope."

Celine Dion: [melting] ohh, that's why I'm happy doing what I do. Yes, you make money. [according to Forbes magazine, Celine made more money last year than any other singer- $65 million US.] And that's nice. You help your family. And me, I like shoes. The money stops making you happy. What keeps making you happy is when somebody says, we played your song at our wedding, or a song helped them through a problem

TV GUIDE: I was backstage after your show and when I saw you come off I was reminded of a marathon runner who'd finished a race- you looked triumphant, but exhausted.

Celine Dion: That's hardest for me, after a performance. For two hours you give everything...then you go into your dressing roon and you're so alone. It's frightening. I don't feel secure or strong. I might not sleep until four o'clock. It's hard, but I would do anything for that two-hours on the stage.

TV GUIDE: You finished the special at the end of a tour; how long had you been on the road?

Celine Dion: Oh, boy... three years, I think. I was supposed to take a year off. I wanted to learn to golf, and relax. But my record company wanted an album. And, you know, eberything is going so well now, and in this business when you're hot you have to go for it, so we decided to do an album, but only if...I loved the music. So...oh.boy, I think [Let's talk about love] is the album of my life. The people I worked with- Pavarotti, The Bee Gees, Sir George Martin, and my idol, Barbra Streisand.

TV GUIDE: Did you get to know Streisand?

Celine Dion: Yes, I had dinner at her place. It was funny. I caught myself staring at her. I was thinking, that's the same gesture she made in Funny Girl, things like that. Then I told myself, Celine! Stop it, you're being a groupie... The song we sing "Tell Him" is beautiful. I'm a young girl who is afraid of telling a boy she loves him, and Barbra plays my mother who gives me advice. At the end we sing together. It's fantastic!

TV GUIDE: You seem to be one of the lucky few who fulfil childhood dreams. What do you dream of now?

Celine Dion: It's true. And I can say, everything that I dreamed of came true. And it's better than I thought it would be. But I still dream, yes. About children, about being in movies. I'm only 29. I have many dreams left

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