utorok 8. marca 2016


Recently, I had the pleasure of attending Celine Dion’s incredible Las Vegas show. This show was extra special because it was the first Friday show she had done since the death of her beloved husband of 21 years, Rene Angelil. Being a lifelong fan of Celine’s music, I went into this show expecting to have a good time. I did not expect to have a life altering cathartic experience. In order to understand the true emotional impact of this performance, it is necessary to review Celine Dion’s personal life.

Celine Dion and Rene Angelil had a somewhat controversial beginning to their relationship. In 1980, Rene discovered Celine Dion, then 12, and signed her to his record label. Thirty years older, he had two failed marriages under his belt. She wasn’t done with puberty yet. That being said, they didn’t go on their first official date until she was 19. Though their relationship started in an unconventional way, the everlasting love story that would develop in the decades afterwards is worthy of tremendous respect. They had three children together and developed one of the most long lasting partnerships in the music industry. They were incredibly devoted to each other. For a cynical heart like mine, their relationship provided hope that true love really exists.

Since his preliminary diagnosis in 1999, Rene had been through three bouts of cancer, with Celine often halting her musical pursuits to take care of him. They gave a whole other meaning to the marriage vows “in sickness and in health,” staying committed to each other until the very end. When I heard the news that he had actually passed away, I got the wind knocked out of me. My mind immediately went to “Oh Celine. I hope she’s okay.” After going through a heavily documented grieving process in the public eye, complete with a televised memorial service, Celine triumphantly returned to the Vegas stage the week that I saw her. In watching her resilient performance, I learned some very important lessons about strength, love, and life in general.

As my mom, sister, and I were sitting down for the show, we thought to ourselves “Do you think she’ll break down? I hope she will be okay.” She was fierce and unbreakable. She addressed Rene many times throughout the show. Whenever she spoke about him, she made it clear that though her heart was broken, Rene would want her to be strong. He wouldn’t want her to be in shambles, though it’s so easy to collapse in times of loss. At one point, Celine triumphantly shouted “the show must go on!” and the audience roared, knowing what that phrase really meant to her in the moment. From this show, I gained a powerful new perspective on life. I always try to be positive and look on the bright side of every situation. Witnessing Celine’s incredible strength reminded me just how important it is to put your life in perspective sometimes. No matter what happens in life, the show must go on. Though it is tragic to lose the ones we love, when the dust settles, we still have time left on earth. Every day is a gift. After tragedy, we should approach our days with positivity and optimism, to honor the legacies of the ones we’ve lost. 

Throughout the show, Celine gave us an inside look at her beautiful family life. Showcasing photos of her children and Rene, Celine made it crystal clear that family is the driving force behind her life. Watching the show with my mother and sister, I felt a newfound sense of gratitude that I have family to support me during difficult times. Flipping through her personal photos, my heart broke for Celine, knowing that her husband was gone. But, the experience also made me think of how lucky she must feel to still have her gorgeous sons and other members of her inner circle by her side. Something I have learned in my life is that family is not determined by blood. It’s determined by who enriches your life and makes you want to be a better person. Apart from her sons and Rene, Celine also took the time to appreciate her “stage family,” which includes the incredible musicians she performs with in her show. She applauded those talented performers for contributing to her musical persona, yes, but also for contributing to her overall happiness in life. Family, whether connected by blood or not, is everything.

As mentioned above, Celine is proud to consider members of her musical entourage part of her family. Watching her perform with her protégées, you couldn’t help but feel inspired to help out others in your life too. In life, we are fortunate to achieve a certain level of success. It is easy to get so caught up in the pursuit of your own success that you forget to pay it forward. In my daily work life, I always try to find opportunities where I can give back to others, whether that’s through a work referral, a blog post share, or some other kind gesture. If I need help, I greatly appreciate when others step forward for me. I want to do the same in return. There are many negative things in this world that we can’t control. But, we can spread love and light in our own lives, to counteract the toxic noise. Watching the show, I could tell that Celine’s musicians adore her. But more than that, I could tell that she adores them. There is a mutual appreciation and respect. Don’t look down on those who are up and coming. Instead, make yourself better by recognizing talent and helping others to achieve their goals. Surrounding yourself with the light of others will only make your light shine that much brighter.

Going into this show, I didn’t know who Celine Dion would be. I thought she might be a stuck up diva, being an international star. I was pleasantly surprised that she was completely down to earth and genuine. Celine clearly understands who she is and doesn’t let the negative opinions of others affect her. You would have to be self-assured to marry someone 30 years older than you, right?! Celine showed many endearing parts of personality throughout the night. For one song, Celine Dion walked down the aisle and sang within the front few rows. Doing so, she was immediately swarmed by fans. A pop culture icon was within arm’s reach; people freaked out. To my amazement, during the madness, Celine continued to perform while people took selfies with her. The consummate professional, she hit all of her notes and gave her fans a personalized experience they would never forget. After this photo break, Celine confessed to the crowd that she isn’t good with technology. Though she isn’t into selfies herself, she complied with what her fans wanted. (At least until security had to shut it down, she had a show to finish!) She has a great sense of humor and humility in who she is, which I didn’t expect to see. From her honest interaction with the crowd, I realized that celebrity status or not, being honest with oneself is a key ingredient to being successful. You have to realize what your skills are and find a positive way to cope with your faults, to have a strong sense of self. Celine clearly knows that her moneymaker is her incredible voice. But, she’s willing to poke fun at her technical ineptitude too. She doesn’t dwell on the negative. I found her honesty very endearing and inspirational.

Though the other items on this list are important, this final lesson from Celine is the most significant. Celine has built her career around songs that traverse the full set of emotions that go along with love. From its strength (Power of Love) to its loss (My Heart Will Go On), love can take us through the wringer. There is no better soundtrack for the journey of love than the one that Celine Dion provides through her music. Celine’s songs have always had an impact on me, being a soft rock fan. But, watching her sing her classics on this particular night, I felt emotionally gutted by the end of the show. Her songs take on a whole other level of meaning, with the recent events in her life. When she sang “All By Myself,” I couldn’t hold back my tears, thinking of how much the theme mirrored her own life. With the finale “My Heart Will Go On,” I completely lost it. Celine was now the real life Rose Dawson saying goodbye to her true love. Throughout the show, I was astounded at Celine’s strength. Instead of succumbing to her grief, she let her love for Rene drive her through the music. Though there was great emotion in her voice, it wasn’t a sign of weakness. It was as if she had found a newfound confidence, in knowing that Rene is in a better place. Observing Celine’s performance, I realized that love is eternal. After our loved ones pass on, they are always with us. Though it’s easy to feel sad that they are gone, we also have the choice to feel empowered because they are in a better place and watching over us. Having just lost my beloved grandmother, I was incredibly grateful for this lesson.

For all of the above reasons, I highly checking out Celine Dion’s Las Vegas show at Caesar’s Palace. Though she is in a city that is known for its excess and fake allure, Celine Dion is a genuine icon of elegance and grace.

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