Celine Dion had not played Tampa since 2009, but she more than made up for lost time on Wednesday night at the Amalie Arena! Bringing a 17-piece band, a massive digital stage, costume changes and one of the greatest voices for the ages, she had the Tampa sold-out show in the palm of her hand!
Opening with “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now”, Dion walked out in a red sequined high-thigh slit gown belting those big notes from the get go and keeping it up all night long. Her voice is such an amazing instrument! She sang a mix of her hits, covers and tunes from her new album “Courage”. The audience sang along to all the hits and listened intently to the new material. Her band included a 4-piece string ensemble as well as a 3-piece horn section. The 1992 Oscar winning “Beauty and the Beast” was a duet performed with one of her singers who took the Peabo Bryson part. Another duet hit she had with tenor Andrea Bocelli, “The Prayer”, she performed as a powerful solo. Speaking of Bocelli, he is coming to the Amalie Arena on February 14th for a Valentine’s Day evening show.
Celine took on Patti LaBelle’s cover of “If You Asked Me To” with gusto. Her new song “Courage” was clearly a personal song for Dion with a lyric of “Courage, don’t you dare fail me now”, it was a strong request of dealing with life’s difficulties. One of the evening’s showstoppers was the cover of Eric Carmen’s megahit “All By Myself”, which Celine has over the years made her own. The 1996 smash number one hit “Because You Loved Me” seemed timeless. “You’re the Voice” got the audience involved with Celine becoming teacher to have a massive sing-along.
A fun part of the show brings Celine out in a silver one-piece jumpsuit for a medley of covers that included Bowie’s “Let’s Dance”, Queen’s, “Another One Bites the Dust”, Prince’s “KISS”, and the great “Lady Marmalade” which put the entire band into action! Horns in the air and her wild man guitarist in a leather kilt bringing as much of a rock edge that can be done in a Celine Dion show! She has worked the stage most of her life and does it effortlessly as she chats with her audience. She has a sense of humor when people are yelling to her and she can’t understand them, “Wow, now that is quite a voice,” she yells back and the audience laughs with her. She receives flowers from a fan in the front row and gives them a hug before leaving for a last costume change.
Returning to the stage for her encore, Celine arrived in an amazing white gown of layers of tulle to sing the song everyone had been waiting for, the gigantic masterpiece , “My Heart Will Go On” from the movie “Titanic”. Dion talks to her audience with gratitude and grace. She is clearly appreciative for her fans that have been with her since her meteoric rise to fame in the 90’s, the young French Canadian girl who has become a global superstar. She concluded the show with John Lennon’s “Imagine”, asking for peace and bidding Tampa a teary-eyed but fond adieu…
Photos by Vicky Sullivan / The Suncoast Post