Losin’ It to Celine Dion

Given the ubiquity of wide-legged jeans that I owned in high school, it may come as a surprise that my first concert was not the traditional rocking fare. REM came to my town when I was in eighth grade, but their show was on a school night so I wouldn’t be attending per the (fairly logical) ordinances of my parents. Shiny happy people? More like shiny happy long division. (That made so much more sense in my head.) My freshman year, U2 made the rounds with Rage Against the Machine in tow, and as much as I wanted to go (even though it was the famously weak PopMart tour), the show’s scheduling again conflicted with school. Would I be a live concert virgin forever? It certainly seemed so, and this frustrated me because I just wanted to give it up.

See what I did there?

See what I did there?

I was so desperate to see a concert that I dropped my standards considerably and opened myself up to the world of adult contemporary pop. As with first kisses and first cars, you settle for what you can get. You may want to shop at Forever 21, but Mama’s got a Talbot’s charge card so that’s where you’re going. I’d take that, though, because it’s better to be wearing mom jeans than to be naked. If I could be surrounded by a wall of speakers in an arena still smelling of pot and urine from when Tool came through nights earlier, I would gladly go to a show where my co-rockers actually owned rockers.

Enter Celine Dion.

Everybody, Celine. Celine, everybody. Source

Everybody, Celine. Celine, everybody.

If it’s gonna be your first time, you should start out slow and easy.

In 1997, one of my friends came upon some tickets to her show and invited me along with her. I was skeptical of Celine Dion because she was one of those singers who looked young but also teetered on the geriatric fence. I think this happens when your music is often heard playing in waiting rooms. Her husband was at least thirty years older than her too and that wasn’t helping her foster street cred to the younger set. These were pre-Titanic days, so Celine Dion was mostly known for wearing prom dresses in most of her videos and holding notes for upwards of 35 minutes by opening up her jaws as wide as a reticulated python. It was going to be on a Friday night, so I couldn’t use the school night excuse to get out of it. And since Ms. Dion certainly had the squeaky-clean thing going on, I knew there was no chance that my parents would veto the show on the grounds that seeing her shimmy and shake onstage would speed along my own depravity.

Well, lookee what I found. The power of Google.

Well, lookee what I found. The power of Goooooooooooogle.

I remember hearing that the show in Memphis was going to be filmed and televised on cable, and at the time I felt lucky that I would witness firsthand a concert that was destined for glory. In actuality, though, the Memphis concert just gave Ms. Dion (supposed) license to dance around and gyrate in the style of Elvis. I cannot emphasize enough how little people in Memphis care about Elvis, so the instant she came out on stage wearing an all-white jumpsuit modeled after Elvis’ jumpsuit he wore in his later years, I heaved an inward sigh. This was going to be a long two hours.

Thanks to the glories of YouTube, I actually don’t have to tell you very much about the concert.  Because BOOM. It is all there. For your viewing pleasure. You’re welcome.

I can say one thing about Celine Dion though: gal has got a set of pipes on her. She’s no Billy Corgan, of course, but it was a good first show for me to go to. I almost feel like seeing some of the harder rockers I was a fan of at the time without Celine as a buffer would have been too much of a shock to my system at such a tender age. You have to be finessed and romanced for your first concert experience.

And pro tip: if the singer sings a song called “All By Myself”, there is absolutely no chance you can get pregnant while at her show.

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  1. Well, like I just told your partner in crime, my first concert was Jessica Simpson, so Celine isn’t so bad. It’s a shame it was during her pre-Titanic era.

    1. Did she lip sync and then do a jig like her sister famously did on SNL?

  2. Actually, your first show makes ratt and poison look pretty good.

    One of my earlier shows was Pink Floyd – Delicate Sound of Thunder tour, at Madison Square Garden.
    I got so high/drunk, I actually managed to wander out of MSG.
    Think about that for a second.

    I don’t think I’d have done well at a Celine concert at that age.
    On the other hand, I had one of the best naps ever when I saw Gordon Lightfoot, so…

    1. I went to a James Taylor concert with my mom in college and I got a nice snooze out of that one too. It’s a shame because I would love to see him now. Sigh. Youth is wasted on the young.

  3. Good old, Celine. My mom listens to her.

    1. Not surprisingly, so does mine ;D

  4. Ahhh, my best friend LOVES Celine to this day but totally feels the need to hide that fact from others. Girl does have pipes!

    1. I have the same feelings about Phil Collins. I freaking love him but I try not to bring that up too often.

  5. I thought the Bolton was bad… Celine? Say it ain’t so. But she is quite the show-woman, so I’ll have to give her that (diva drama queen-dom notwithstanding).

    1. She is indeed a show-woman! I think that was what kind of embarrassed me for her when I was a kid at her show. The show fell dead in the center of my obsession with 90’s alterna-angst so seeing someone so theatrical (and well-bathed) on stage was kind of a jolt to my system. She was just so happy.

  6. […] Blog Hop post hosted by The Waiting. This week: Remember the time we went to that […]

  7. I wanted to go to Guns N Roses/Metallica, I got to see Garth Brooks instead. The concert had fire and a chubby country singer in too tight Wranglers dangling from a wire above the crowd. It was hard core. Yep. (He’s a great country singer, but he’s…well he’s country). Great post!

    1. Yesssss! Good ol’ Garth. You and I probably had very similar experiences growing up in the South but having little to no interest in him. My best memory related to him involves drunkenly singing “Friends In Low Places” at decrepit bar in Seoul. I need to blog that.

  8. Have you seen her Live in Las Vegas DVD with Cirque de Soleil? Amazing. I actually was never a fan of hers and still not but that DVD is definitely worth seeing.

    1. I went to Vegas right when that show was about to start, and I was honestly kind of bummed that I missed it! It looked awesome!

  9. My first concert was in college: Jimmy Eat World, I think. It wasn’t really my cup of tea, but my roommate was pumped. The main lesson I learned from my first concert was immortalized on my Xanga (which my friends kind of used like Facebook before it was a thing): “Everyone has two armpits. This is especially true at a concert.” What a gem. :)

    1. Lord, SO TRUE. You have never been so aware of BO until you go to a rock show.

  10. My first concert was early 2000’s Jason Mraz at a spooky abandoned warehouse used for haunted mazes called Sloss Furnace. There were about 150 people there and he was a lot shorter in real life than I imagined. A few years later he blew up like crazy. I still have my ticket stub. I’m such a hipster.

    1. I have kept a lot of my tix stubs too. What’s sad is that they were not meant to last so a lot of the ink has faded away. WAY TO GO MAKING ME FEEL OLD, TORI AMOS STUB FROM 98.

      1. RIGHT??

  11. oh yes, this is a “remember when” that i can attach myself to — garth brooks, when i was about 10 years old with my dad. does it get any better than that?

    1. Outings with dads are THE BEST. My dad took me to see Uncle Buck in the theater when I was like seven and it remains one of my best memories.

      1. i had my dad email me his memories as well. should be a good one :)

  12. I got a very slight and uneasy feeling that I was witnessing a cult while watching that video. I also love that she asked the audience to “Romance with me to this next song.” Oh, Celine. It’s not wonder I couldn’t resist watching you every time you were on Oprah. P.S. Your last line is a gem. It seriously got me.

    1. Celine’s grasp of English is endlessly endearing. My husband and I still remember when Hurricane Katrina hit and all the celebs were going on TV to raise relief funds, and Celine was all, “I open up my TV, and all I see are the helichopters.”

  13. My sister and I love Celine. She’s our girl, seriously. We belt out her songs on road trips. It’s on our bucket list to see her live in Vegas before she dies… My first concert was Creed. I didn’t even know who they were, but a friend invited me, and it meant I got to stay out late on a school night. Whoo hoo, thanks Mom and Dad for upping my cool-factor!

    1. Ah, good ol’ Creed. They were so popular when I was in high school, and I hadn’t heard them until last week when one of their songs came on at a restaurant I was at. All I could think was that they sounded *exactly* like watered-down Pearl Jam.

  14. Well, my first concert was Patti something or other who was a Christian rock singer. So, beat that! That was hard core. I loathe Celine Dion after seeing her on Oprah too many times. Ugh. She bugs.

    1. Do you mean Sandy Patti??????? OMG, I *loved* her when I was a kid. She and Amy Grant were my homegirls.

      1. Yes!!! I was thinking that was it but then it didn’t sound right. Yeah I was cool.

      2. Btw, you should really watch this video of this comedian that impersonated Celine and 18 other music divas in one song. It’s amazing! http://www.break.com/video/comedian-impersonates-19-singers-in-one-song-2505413

        1. OK, so I just cried I laughed so hard :D

  15. bangbangzadie · · Reply

    Michael Bolton & Kenny G.

    1. They should stick them together in a celebrity death match.

  16. Brilliant video. I most like where she says “Romance with me,” at the end. I was a bit disappointed I didn’t get to find out which was her favourite off the album though. When I was younger (but still old enough to know better) my friend, Fiona, and I planned to do a kind of world tour duet thing as Britney and Celine. My friend has the same birthday as Celine so she was Celine, obviously. I had to be Britney and she was being a right ho-bag at the time so I was a bit disappointed. I wanted to be Celine.

    1. Celine definitely had taller hair and higher-cut blouses than ol’ Britney. And she never had to do a booty roll. I think I’d want to be Celine too.

  17. This concert sounds EPIC. I, too, was at a concert that was filmed and put on the TV…Hanson. It was totes awesome.

    1. Oooooh Hanson ;D I think I am officially an adult because instead of making me angry like they did when was a teenager, I now think they’re really cute.

      1. Angry?! Aw, that makes my heart ache. I was the teeny bopper who eventually met the oldest one (super nice, btw) and I still scream with joy in my heart for them.

  18. […] Losin’ It to Celine Dion (notthehardestpart.com) […]

  19. This is basically the most hilarious thing I have ever read. Ever. You are the best! I think my first concert was when my aunt took me to see Alanis Morrissette. Pretty rad for a twelve-year-old!

  20. […] Losin’ It to Celine Dion (notthehardestpart.com) […]

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