Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Celine’s show must go on

Media Moment: Celine Dion documentary
Queen-related: WWRY and The Show Must Go On

A few months ago, I remember coming across a YouTube video of Celine Dion in Boston paying homage to Queen through singing WWRY, showing video footage of the band, and continuing on with The Show Must Go On. What in the world had I stumbled upon?

Celine — or someone on her management team — must be monumental Queen fans because at her Boston show she was reeaallly stressing how great Queen were to the crowd who had paid to see her; not necessarily Queen footage and songs. I wouldn't have expected Celine to be a rocker at heart. I could easily see her perform Who Wants to Live Forever . . . but nothing with a harder edge to it.

Her Celine Through the Eyes of the World documentary was playing on television the other night so I PVRed it and thought I’d get lucky and find some Queen references in it like I did on YouTube. Sure enough, there were not one, but two appearances of WWRY

The first one was at about the 17-minute mark when the band was playing in Dubai and she urges the crowd to join in on the stomp-stomp-clap rhythm. What struck me at that concert was the presumably Muslim majority was singing along with the lyrics. This segment of the documentary also carried a brief interview with a fan from Iran who claimed he had waited 15 years to see her and hopes that he will be able to see her again in Iran someday. I think if Celine continues to push Queen in the middle east, she’ll have an easier time, particularly in Iran where Queen music has already gained official approval by the Iranian government.

The next appearance of WWRY happens at the 23-minute mark when the band is now in Macau, China and have gathered in a restaurant for some dinner and downtime. After Celine’s husband, Rene Angelil, spoke to everyone before dinner, Celine starts up with the stomp-stomp-clap again by banging her fist on the table. This time, her tween-aged son, Rene-Charles, sings along into the microphone. It stops before the guitar solo would normally kick in, but Celine was obviously proud of her son’s attempt at performing it.

Finally, at the 36-minute mark of the film, she is now in Brisbane, Australia and starts into The Show Must Go On. They play almost the entire song in the film and the guitar player does an admirable job of imitating Brian throughout the song. Celine herself sang it well although the “wings of butterflies” bit wasn't quite as poignant as Freddie’s but it was definitely better than Elton’s (noble) attempt at the Tribute Concert.

I dug a little deeper into YouTube and discovered that there is a video of Celine performing TSMGO with two dudes (Christophe Maé and David Halliday) from at least 2007. Did she get the TSMGO bug from that performance and decide to perform it during her world tour, or did she suggest the song to the other two dudes for that TV performance? 

Whatever the case, she's definitely a Queen fan. Personally, I’d like to see her take on Save Me, or any other Queen-penned ballad. I don’t think she’d outdo Freddie but she could certainly keep up, at the very least.

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