Your Funfarer with Celine after the interview. — Photos by RICKY LO

Celine Dion says sorry for 2014 cancelled shows
FUNFARE - Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - January 17, 2018 - 12:00am

LAS VEGAS -— Whether singing or simply talking, Celine Dion has a magical way of charming and endearing herself to people, so down-to-earth and thus grounded that you want to hug her and pledge your eternal love for her.

I experienced it myself Wednesday (Jan. 10) last week when she sat for 20 minutes talking to a group of journalists from seven countries in Asia at a room in Colosseum, the 4,300-seater at Caesars Palace said to have been built for her to the tune of $95M in 2003 when she started her residency there.

Divided into batches for the intimate interviews, the journalists sat five in each of the two rows with Celine barely a meter away. The media guys represented the countries covered by Celine’s Live Tour 2018 including Japan, Macau, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines (on July 19 at the MOA Arena) where her 2014 shows (for an event and at the Solaire) were cancelled due to a compelling reason.

 

 

 

I told her that her Filipino fans have been worried since then and were eager to know how she recovered from whatever personal crisis she was going through at that time.

Speaking in a soft voice so slowly as if weighing every word, Celine looked straight into my eyes hardly blinking (as she did to every journalist asking a question), saying, “When was that?” She gathered her thoughts and smiled, “Oh yes, in 2014. Yes, I was supposed to go there,” heaving a sigh, “I have to say that, first of all, it’s always hard to cancel a show or a tour knowing that you are letting people down. But I really had to be by the side of my husband. And, if I may add, it wasn’t a hard decision to make at that point because I didn’t know if he was going to pass away or when.”

Her husband, Rene Angelil, was 26 years her senior when they got married in 1994 at Montreal’s Notre Dame Basilica in an elaborate ceremony celebrated throughout Canada. He was in remission for a few years after he was diagnosed with skin cancer in 1999 and died at 73 on Jan. 14, 2016, at their family home in Las Vegas. He is survived by Celine and their three children (two of whom are twins).

Turning misty-eyed, Celine continued, “And finally, he’s resting in peace.” (Not long after Rene’s death, Celine also lost her brother so that was a double whammy.) She repeated what she had said in an interview a year before Rene’s passing, “I really wanted to devote all my strength and energy to Rene, so it was important for me to devote my time to him and our children.”

Also in the room was the De Guia couple Renen and Celine, namesakes of Celine and her late husband. When Daniel Ben Av, president of DBA Productions, introduced the couple to Celine, she gasped, “Oh, really? What a coincidence!” Daniel Ben can also claim credit for helping Celine and several other artists as well. “He’s my mentor,” said Renen whose Ovation Productions is producing Celine’s Manila concert.

In a 2015 interview with a US magazine, Celine was quoted pouring her heart out, “When you see someone who is fighting so hard, it has a big impact on you. You have two choices. You look at your husband who’s very sick and you can’t help, and it kills you. Or you look at your husband who is sick and you say, ‘I got you. I got it. I’m here. It’s going to be just fine.’ I’ll say, ‘You’re scared? I understand. Talk to me about it.’ And Rene says to me, ‘I want to die in your arms.’ And I assure him, ‘OK, fine! I’ll be there. You will die in my arms.’”

Celine talked in a cool-calm-collected manner, savoring the meaning of her every word as she does when singing, that she was like lulling the journalists to sweet slumber, grappling as they did with jetlag from more than 12-hour flights from halfway around the world.

“It’s okay if you want to fall asleep,” she said good-humoredly. “I understand because you came here from far away just to listen to me. I can even sing for you,” she “threatened” and we would have given her a wide-awake standing ovation if she did and we were somewhat disappointed when she didn’t.

“But you know,” she proceeded, “even if he’s gone, Rene is actually always with me,” singing paean to her husband who groomed her to become a superstar starting when she was 12 after Rene heard a demo tape of a song Celine co-wrote with her mom. “He’s with me all the time anywhere I am and anywhere I go. I feel that we still live together although just differently. He is there,” she pointed to an empty chair in the room, giving us goosebumps. “I see him every day…active, moving around, dancing. He is part of every song I sing and every show that I do. And I’m happy that I have finally let him go.”

Celine confessed that music helped her get over that saddest chapter of her life.

“Music has a therapeutic effect,” she swore, but you must please wait for a follow-up story for her to elaborate on that and other juicy topics (has she found a new love?).

As soon as our time was up, Celine reiterated her apology to her Filipino fans for her cancelled shows in 2014.

“I will make up for it,” she promised.

(The Celine Dion Live 2018 Tour is produced by AEG, with Renen de Guia of Ovation Productions as presenter of the Philippine concert. Tickets will go on sale tomorrow, Jan. 18, starting at 10 a.m. For tickets and more information, visit celinedion.com)

(E-mail reactions at entphilstar@yahoo.com. For more updates, photos and videos, visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo.)

CELINE DION LIVE TOUR 2018
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