LADY OF SONG: Celine Dion in performance at Jamaica Jazz & Blues.
When highly regarded superstars live up to expectations while exuding a sophisticated air of class and ovation-worthy stage presence, it renews my faith in the power of the entertainment world to positively astonish. To that end, megawatt diva and iconic songstress Celine Dion, she of the wiry physique and multiple Grammys, delivered a mind-blowing set Friday night at the Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival inside the Trelawny-based Greenfield Stadium, a venue that accommodated a massive crowd that only swelled as the hour of the songbird’s performance drew closer.
And what a performance – fuelled by standards and popular career hits made all the more exhilarating by the sheer vibrancy of Celine’s stagecraft, her adrenaline-infused zest and, of course, the magnitude of that voice. In short, it was a real thrill to finally witness Celine live in action. That it was her first time on a Caribbean stage made the occasion all the more special. As members of the audience, she captivated us and held us adrift in time and experience.
Hearing hits like “All Coming Back to Me,” “The Power of Love” and “The Reason” incited a mass sing-along. You couldn’t help but surrender to the raw passion and kinetic energy that the wonder woman exuded. The virtuosic performance also included such gems as “Because You Loved Me” and the breathtaking duet “Beauty & The Beast” before moving into a James Bond segment (“Goldeneye” and “Live and Let Die”) that included a wardrobe change from cream jacket and sparkling knickers to a shimmery silver gown with a seductive thigh-high split.
The show got even more enormously exciting with Celine’s renditions of “I’m Alive” and “All By Myself,” which came in for prolonged applause. But the show achieved a whole new crescendo when our very own Diana King joined the queen onstage for a sassy treatment of “Treat her like a Lady,” their 1999 hit. By this time, Celine had slipped into yet another outfit. This time a long-sleeved mini-dress encrusted with gems that dazzled under the lights.
Buoyed by the singer’s dazzling vocal dynamics and her backing band’s impeccable instrumentation, her songs took on a whole new resonance in live performance. Particular mention must be made of “Love Can Move Mountains” and the encore number “My Heart Will Go On.”
“This is the place to be,” Celine told the packed stadium at the start of her set. And she was indeed right. Those who were unfortunately away from the concert missed an experience worth remembering – and on an occasion that doesn’t get any more significant than the 50th anniversary of our Independence. Celine Dion memorably enticed us not only with her melismatic chops but with that confidently sexy strut as she made light work of the stage.