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Celine Dion, BST Hyde Park, London live review

The Canadian icon delivered a hits-packed set that was pure magic.

Celine Dion
Credit: Alix Malka

Celine Dion is one of the best-selling artists of all-time. In her fifth decade as a recording artist, Dion recently concluded her Las Vegas residency after spending the past 16 years on-and-off performing at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace. Alongside her residency, she found the time to tour in other parts of the world, most recently bringing her Celine Dion Live 2017 tour to the UK in June 2017 with sold out shows at The O2 Arena in London and First Direct Arena in Leeds. Last night Celine Dion took to the stage at BST Hyde Park in London to headline the first night of the popular summer festival.

To say that anticipation was high for Dion’s performance would be an understatement. I lost count of the number of fans sporting her t-shirts and the artists on the line-up expressing how excited they were to see the legend performing later in the day. At 8.20pm, Dion took to the Great Oak Stage sporting sunglasses, which she removed after the first song, and a glittery blue jump suit. She launched into her version of The Power of Love, the first song that impacted the charts in most English-language speaking parts of the world. The audience was so loud, it would have been hard to hear Dion if it hadn’t been for her out-of-this-world voice that soars high above any noise or distraction. She hit every note effortlessly and the audience went wild.

The set list for the night was a slightly tweaked version of her most recent Las Vegas show with an emphasis on the hits. Honestly, it was absolutely perfect for Dion’s hardcore and more casual fans. Packing in all the songs we wanted to hear from the beginning, Dion moved on to That’s the Way It Is, the catchy I’m Alive and the gorgeous Because You Loved Me, where she teased the audience for not being loud enough. The first huge moment of the night came on It’s All Coming Back to Me Now, which also marked the night’s first costume change with Dion wearing a gorgeous green gown. Even though the song is a cover, it’s one that’s synonymous with Dion and hers is easily the definitive version.

Beauty and the Beast hit audience members right in the feels and I saw a fair few people in tears as Dion and one of her backing singers sang a flawless rendition of the Disney classic. A cover of Carole King’s The Reason put Dion’s remarkable vocal abilities at the forefront while the French-language Pour que tu m’aimes encore saw the majority of the audience singing the little French they likely knew.

In between songs Dion was warm, funny and engaging. Before Ashes she told the story of how Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds had contacted her about the song but she originally thought he wanted her to star in the movie with him. Another moment saw Dion deliver a flawless vocal riff and when greeted with huge cheers she cheekily joked that the riff wasn’t even that hard. Dion has such a big personality and that really shined throughout the night.

Elsewhere in the set a cover of John Farnham’s The Voice prompted a very loud sing-a-long, the uptempo new single Flying On My Own turned Hyde Park into a dance party and a medley of Prince’s Kiss and Purple Rain was greeted very enthusiastically. Think Twice and All By Myself, two of Dion’s signature songs, sounded incredible and the audience joined in on all of the high-notes and belt moments, including Think Twice’s iconic ‘no, no, no, no’ part, which wasn’t lost on Dion as she smiled and looked a little overwhelmed.
River Deep, Mountain High followed Love Can Move Mountains, keeping the party vibe going toward the end of the set. Exiting the stage for her fourth and final costume change, Dion returned to sing her iconic hit My Heart Will Go On from Titanic and ended the night with a sensitive cover of John Lennon’s Imagine.

Performing for almost two hours, Dion didn’t let the energy drop once all night. She’s such a seasoned performer and vocally there are few people who can even claim to come close to her. Her voice hasn’t deteriorated over the years and she can hit all the notes now that she could when she originally released the songs that made up the set list. I’ve been to many outdoor shows at Hyde Park and I can safely say I’ve never felt such an incredible atmosphere and community as I did during Dion’s set last night. For two hours, despite the problems in the world and everyone’s individual battles, we all came together to appreciate and celebrate a legend, and it was absolutely magical.

Set list: 1. The Power of Love (Jennifer Rush cover) 2. That’s the Way It Is 3. I’m Alive 4. Because You Loved Me 5. It’s All Coming Back to Me Now 6. Beauty and the Beast 7. The Reason (Carole King cover) 9. Pour que tu m’aimes encore 9. You’re the Voice (John Farnham cover) 10. Ashes. 11. Flying On My Own 12. Think Twice 13. All By Myself (Eric Carmen cover) 14. To Love You More 15. Kiss / Purple Rain (Prince cover) 16. Love Can Move Mountains 17. River Deep, Mountain High 18. My Heart Will Go On 19. Imagine (John Lennon cover) Performance date: 5th July 2019

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