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Celine Proves Her Energetic Artistry and Vocal Prowess in Her Native French Language 'At the Heart of the Stadium'!,
This review is from: Celine Dion: Au Coeur De Stade [DVD]  (DVD)
Beginning in 1998 and continuing into 1999, Celine Dion embarked upon her eighth concert tour, visiting North America, Europe and Asia. The 'Let's Talk About Love' Tour was named after Celine's fifth English studio recording album, after having achieved high chart success, especially with the catapult popularity of the Titanic soundtrack theme, 'My Heart Will Go On'. Within her Anglophone set, Celine performed a variety of tracks from that album, along with a chosen few of her popular hits. Within French-speaking territories, the tour also supported her eleventh French studio recording, S'il Suffisait D'aimer , which also charted high alongside its English equivalent. With an additional Christmas album released during the tenure of the concert tour, alongside several television broadcasts of the show which included a special cameo appearance on the television programme 'Touched By An Angel' and a special 'Millennium Concert' shown on TVA in Canada, the tour was considered a huge success by fans and critics alike.
This DVD (equally available on VHS), released by Columbia Music on 30th August 1999 within Region 2 territories, contains the ninety-minute recorded concert that Celine performed at the Stade de France in Paris on 19th - 20th June 1999, wherein she performed in front of more than ninety-thousand spectators over two nights. The show consists of songs from her Francophone set-list, which includes a mixture of some English songs from her Let's Talk About Love album and highlights from 'S'il Suffisait D'Aimer', alongside other popular hits from her vast back-catalogue. Jean-Jacques Goldman and Taro Hakase make accompanying guest contributions on two tracks, whilst Diana King can be seen on four big screens that are placed around the set's circular staging during the performance of 'Treat Her Like a Lady'. Celine also pays tribute to the Bee Gees with some disco-style dancing towards the end of the set-listing, and she also adds an acoustic medley, incorporating a selection of songs from her earlier French albums.
The show really is a testament to Celine's amazing vocal prowess, with the flow into each new song being so smooth and perfectly timed. Because of the set's unique circular staging, she maintains a high amount of energy throughout, especially with the dance routines during her more upbeat performances and the disco themed leg of the show. Plus, I imagine even the most hardened of hearts will yield when Celine converses with the audience, giving a heart-felt thank-you to the fans that have supported her and Rene during her husband's skin cancer treatment; ultimately revealing that Rene is doing fine and is watching the concert via satellite technology.
Regarding special features, the DVD release also contains some rare footage of the recording sessions of the two albums that the tour supports. The 'S'il Suffisait D'aimer' sessions lasts for approximately twenty-five minutes, and is entirely in French, showing how the album tracks were recorded and how they were produced. The 'Let's Talk About Love' sessions are a bit more succinctly put-together, with English audio and French subtitling. Lasting for almost one hour, it shows how a number of the tracks came about and how they were produced and recorded, with contributions from the Bee Gees, Carole King, Barbera Streisand, David Foster and Luciano Pavarotti, amongst others. Within this featurette, the full music video for 'Tell Him' with Barbera Streisand is included, alongside the studio version of 'Immortality' featuring the Bee Gees. There is also a minute-long presentation of how the staging for the concert was built, and a chance to partake in some karaoke during Celine's acoustic medley performance. It would have been nice to have some subtitling options, as it is hard sometimes to follow what is being said, especially for someone who hasn't got a big enough grasp on the French language. However, this, in no way, detracts from the concert experience and the sentiment comes through so strong and in such a universal fashion, that the crowd's reaction speaks for itself. Also, for those who would like to follow the songs as they are being performed, or for a handy reference guide in fact, there is an insert booklet included within that contains lyrics for all songs performed during the concert.
All in all, Celine Dion's fifth home-video release, 'Au Coeur Du Stade' (meaning 'At the Heart of the Stadium') showcasing a wonderfully varied and energetic French set-list during the singer's 'Let's Talk About Love' tour, is a welcome addition to any music lover's shelf. The picture quality is not perfect, resembling a simple VHS transfer onto DVD (which it may well be!), but this is only a minor flaw in the overall exuberance of Celine's performance skills.
An Audio CD of the same name, Au Coeur Du Stade ,is also available as an accompaniment to this home-video releasing, focusing on most of the French songs performed during the show and with a shorter track listing; making for a great CD/DVD package. It is of importance to note, additionally, that a combined VCD packaging of the album and video is available as an Asian import for the more hardened collector of Celine's work, which is vast and still reaching great heights for varying audiences around the globe.