When news broke out on Celine Dion's first concert in Manila selling out last February despite it happening five months later, no Filipino was really shocked. I mean, really. A karaoke and singing contest-obsessed country like the Philippines knew right on that one day of Celine would not suffice—and so a second day became inevitable. The Canadian balladeer finally staged her first of two concerts on a rainy and traffic-immobilized Metro Manila last July 20 with the next one ongoing as I write this. #CelineDionLiveInManila saw a jam-packed SM Mall of Asia Arena, with legit fans really spending as much as P35,000 to witness the living legend belt it live.
[related: Hot Stuff: It's July! That Means One Thing—Celine Dion Is About To Arrive In Manila!]
Of course, Ms. Dion did not disappoint. In the first of her two nights in the country, the 50 year-old showcased her singing—and dancing—chops to a mob of mostly titas and titos out with their partners or families. The squinting singer also managed to inject some of her humor in her ad-libs, sending the fans to some bouts of laughter throughout the night.
As for the rest of the highlights? We get real specific below!
Celine Dion speaking Filipino. In her gold and white matador ensemble, Celine Dion greeted her Filipino fans for the first time—and funnily explained herself why the 'delay.' She did so after an explosive entrance in "Power Of Love." "It's my first time in the Philippines, and it feels amazing! Don't ask me why it took so long. I don't know, I guess I lived too far. But I'm so happy to be here with you," she explained before dropping some Tagalog, "Maraming salamat!" The concert goers could only roar in kilig.
Celine debunking her being a tita with a sensuous dance. What awkward? The slender and confidently beautiful Celine managed to do a dance number with partner Pepe, all while showcasing her toned arms and bod. (We hear the mom of three gets her physique from breastfeeding and being watchful of what to eat!) This, despite the singer wondering in jest how she lived through nearly three decades in music, "It's a miracle I don't have a walker!" Celine exhibited her hard-earned bod in five wardrobe changes, one of which included her in a simple but sexy black gown as she wore her hair sleek back.
The crowd singing along to Celine. How often do you get to verbalize some of your favorite musical lyrics next to (or at least in the same room) as your idol? This happened, when Celine asked the crowd to sing the last line of "Because You Loved Me"—a Filipino karaoke staple. "Can you sing? I will be very happy if you sing (with) me," she said while looking to convince the goers seated at the farthest areas of the Arena.
That Deadpool 2 song! What would have set this concert apart from her earlier tours is the addition of "Ashes," the theme song of the recent Ryan Reynolds movie with Fox. Before chanting the contemporary song, Celine comically recounted how the actor offered her the part. "Suddenly, I was in a panic. What if he wanted me to play with him?" she shared.
Listening to "My Heart Will Go On" live. 'Nuff said... Next to singing "Recovering," a song Pink wrote for her with her husband's passing in 2016, the Titanic theme song takes the cake as the most hair-raising and emotional performance that night. Suddenly, you'd feel like you're in grade school again, about to discover James Cameroon via two VHS tapes that would almost ruin the entire viewing pleasure whenever you had to put the second one in as you continued watching.
Celine crying tears of joy. After her encore of "My Heart Will Go On," Celine walked over the edge of the stage to wave goodbye to her fans. The visibly overwhelmed singer would go on to shed some tears, before thanking the crowd. "I am extremely touched by your welcome in my first visit in Manila... When you think about it, we don't really live far away (from each other). Because tonight we (were) one. Tonight, there were no barriers. Nothing was going to stop us from being together," she said, before crooning a riff-imbued a capella version of "Can't Help Falling In Love With You."
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Banner image courtesy of Ovation Productions