Suter: Celine Dion's iconic voice fills Smoothie King Center

February 10, 2020
Celine Dion performs at the Smoothie King Center Friday.

With apologies to Lizzo and Billie Eilish, where have all the great voices gone?

One was at the Smoothie King Center Friday night on her Courage World Tour. 

And just like my review begins with an apology, Celine Dion started her show the same way.

 “It’s been more than 10 years since I’ve been to New Orleans, What’s’ up with that,” she said. “That is not right. I’m gonna find out why that happened … and I promise to get to the bottom of it.” 

The crowd adored it and that was just the start of the love fest. Celine appreciated the rowdy crowd of fans that filled the Smoothie King Center, she said that’s just what she expected from a “New Orleans Party City” and she thrilled us all night. She appealed to fans across generations at the arena Friday night. From kids, teens, 20-somethings, 30-somethings, 40-somethings…. even 50-plus. Men, women, gay and straight were in for a memorable night. 

“They locked me out in the Nevada desert of all that time, but I escaped” Dion said. 

Interestingly enough, she could have made it easy and just recreated that Las Vegas show on tour but she did not. 

There huge black stage that filled one whole end of the Smoothie King Center. She had a small group of talented musicals behind her in black barely visible at times. She looked like a little bitty thing on the sprawling stage. But, let me tell you, she filled it with amazing vocals and funny comments and even funny faces. 

She realized she doesn’t need all the backup dancers and other distractions because she has that voice and great energy to do some dancing herself. Her fans loved it. 

She is in great shape and very limber at 51, and her voice was precise, sounding pitch perfect. Of course Celine had a few outfit changes but during the breaks kept the crowd engaged with her starring in some short video’s on the big screens and during one of the outfit changes the video screens showed some amazing ballet routines done by Celine Dion herself, wow!

The audience featured some unique outfits as well, with more than a few in the arena wearing shiny sequined clothes knowing somehow she’d be in one. I missed that memo. 

But the real impact and emotion came from her classic songs and iconic voice. She didn’t just stand there and sing, she used all of the stage, letting fans sitting on the right and left get a close up view of the superstar and always included everyone. She looked all the way up to the upper level to fill the whole arena with her powerful, passionate voice as she sang, “The Power of Love,” “Because You Loved Me”), “If You Asked Me to” and “All By Myself” with that incredible note at the end gave me chills. And of course, she sang “Beauty and the Beast” but with one of the backup singers belting out the lyrics just as good as Peabo Bryson along with an amazing performance of “The Prayer.” 

Celine took breaks between songs, speaking of her love for the musical city of New Orleans and her often humorous take on things and plead for more love in the world. 

She thanked the crowd for supporting her through good times and bad. Truly, you could feel her passion, her class and her appreciation for every person there. Celine even made a point to take some flowers and a stuffed frog from some fans down front, telling her security “to take these backstage and give them some water, I mean the frog too he looks thirsty”. After closing with a medley of dance hits “Let’s Dance” from David Bowie to Queen “Another One Bites the Dust”, “Kiss” from Prince and “River Deep, Mountain High (My Favorite) and Lady Marmalade — Then it was “Good Night!” as the arena erupted waiting for another outfit change and the encore as the crowd enjoyed another video with soft haunting music with shots of Celine under water in slow motion, really captivating.

As the anticipation grew, she finally appeared in an all-white Antebellum style huge plumed gown, so big she could have hid a table under there, and then the crowd gasped as the now iconic flute riff began the song from the movie “Titanic,” “My Heart Will Go On.” She closed with a cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine” that she asked the whole crowd to sing along with as she was almost in tears…and so was a lot of the audience. Not just for that song but for the true love she showed for all of her fans. 

Friday night, New Orleans certainly showed how much they loved her, and I lost count but she must have thanked her fans. 10, 12 times? 

Celine, Thank you! 

Where have all the great singers gone? 

One just left after her show Friday night.