Celine Dion Returns to NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum
Celine Dion’s Courage World Tour
NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum
Uniondale, New York
March 3, 2020
The nearly sold out venue pulsed with tangible excitement in the 30 minutes prior to Celine Dion appearing at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale. With the help of an NY Islander-jersey wearing mix-master named DJ Pete, stationed on the floor adjacent to the soundboard, dance mixes throbbed through the venue speakers as enthusiastic fans danced and vibed, hoping to be in the spotlight for a few brief moments on the video monitor perched over the stage. Their faces beamed and they danced more fervently when they spied themselves on the screen, over the word “Courage.” An octogenarian couple in the row near the DJ flung their hands in the air like they just didn’t care and bumped hips, squealing with joy when they appeared on the big screen. The last time Dion played the Coliseum was over a decade ago and her fans were clearly ready to welcome her back to Long Island.
The lights dimmed and the audience watched an intro video, enraptured and awaiting the Canadian chanteuse’s arrival. They wouldn’t need to wait for long as Dion rose from the beneath the stage, resplendent in a slinky red sequined dress, ideal to showcase her perfectly defined form. As the first notes of the iconic “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” cut through the arena, her fans rose to their feet, cell phones poised in mid-air to catch every moment on video and in photos, to share and relive later.
Dion has faced substantial loss in the past few years, beginning with the tragic deaths of her beloved husband and brother to cancer, days apart in January of 2016. Just last month, her 92 year old mother passed away after a long battle with cancer. Appearing both fierce and vulnerable, the 51 year old revisited many favorites from her impressive catalog of hits as well as covers that left the crowd rejoicing. The Courage World Tour, which kicked off last September in Quebec City will continue through April before a brief respite, then going to Europe for the next leg. This is the first tour she has tackled without her husband and longtime manager, Rene.
Dion commanded the stage, a force of nature. Her perfectly controlled voice is always spot on and watching her perform is like watching a master class in how it should be done. Encouraging audience participation, her fans harmonized on many of the song set like “The Power of Love,” “Beauty and the Beast” with backup singer Barnev Valsaint, ‘The Prayer,” “Imperfections” and Eric Carmen’s “All By Myself” which was turned into an anthem of strength rather than a lamentation of loss. A high point of the show came at the end of the set in the form of a medley that including David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance,” Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust,” Prince’s “Kiss,” Ike and Tina Turner’s “River Deep, Mountain High” and “Lady Marmalade” made popular by Labelle. Her 17-piece band was tight and flawless.
Dion’s frequent costume changes added a sense of her own style and whimsy to the evening. As she took up practicing ballet in the past few years with ex-tour dancer Naomi Stikeman and Cirque du Soleil performer Pepe Munoz, Dion was in athletic form and showcased any garment like a fashion model.
The perfect pacing of the show quickly brought the night to the encores: the powerful “My Heart Will Go On” as well as a cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Both conveyed messages of hope for the future from an artist who brought her all to the stage and left the fans wishing for another night of pure joy like this one.
Photo Credit: Christine Connallon