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Oh, Celine! - Canadian superstar leaves Jazz & Blues Festival audience breathless

Published:Monday | January 30, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Celine Dion takes a moment to make a connection with her audience.
Celine Dion and one of her backup singers .
Celine Dion's version of the sexy black dress was more than just eye-catching.
Diana King in a cameo performance with Celine Dion last Friday night. - Photos by Janet Silvera

Janet Silvera • Senior Gleaner Writer


Like a drug suddenly removed from the addicted, Celine Dion left her audience yearning and in awe last Friday night.

The adrenaline was high in the country and Dion had literally succeeded in locking down the land of Bob Marley (at least where traffic was concerned). All that was available was the woman who recreated magic in the Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium, wowing the thousands that witnessed the consummate performer at the 16th Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival.

Mesmerised by the international superstar's professionalism, chairman of Art of Music Productions (AMP), Walter Elmore, and his son, Martin, lost control of their tear ducts, and were incapable of hiding the emotions etched in their faces.

"I couldn't help but cry when I looked at my father and saw how emotional he had become. He worked so hard to bring this festival to where it is today," said the younger Elmore.

"Hello, Jamaica! It took me a few years to get here, but I will make up for lost time," Dion promised the people from the birthplace of reggae, as she made her way onstage after midnight.

Extraordinary love fest

Taking her 'captives' to the beginning with her 1990 hit song, Where Does My Heart Beat Now, Dion commenced an extraordinary love fest as couples became inseparable and singles hugged themselves tightly, rocking the night away. When she drew for It's All Coming Back To Me Now, the energy, electricity and power that came from within, was the perfect precursor to the tribute to jazz great Ella Fitzgerald's 1936 Mr Paganini.

Twenty minutes into her one hour and forty-five-minute set and the audience was still, eyes glued, ears keenly listening for Dion to belt the Academy Award/Grammy Award, double-whammy song that catapulted her career, Beauty and the Beast.

Accompanied by the stirring sensations from one of her backup singers, there was more than a Reason for the Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival to be on musical fire.

"She is the best," shouted a woman in the audience. "Awesome," remarked another.

Dion came with a gift, and she handed it over, surpassing all her counterparts who have graced the Jamaican stage. This was no ordinary woman and she proved this with Shirley Bassy's Goldfinger.

Like a true Bond girl, ready to take on '007', she shook the grounds at the stadium and burnt up the stage like an inferno.

She even brought the sexy, sensuous Italian singer, Andrea Bocelli, who was not physically in the venue for The Prayer, but left an indelible mark from the screen.

Audience touched

By the time Dion reached the Diana King just jamming combination, the audience themselves had become musical instruments, touched by the pianist, the saxophonists, a violinist, and the soloist who sent current through the thousands who flocked the venue.

"In 60 seconds, Dion's sensual voice drummed senses to my head, driving wild rhythm through my thighs, leaving my most secret parts uncovered, drenched, shaking and ticking to the 60 seconds of sweet surrender," revealed a fan, who stood transfixed.

The lighting on the set was excellent, the performance was incredible, but "We wanted more", said the addicted audience.

Dion shared the stage with siblings Tessanne Chin and Tami Chynn, Jully Black, Richie Stephens and Gentleman and Brian Art.

AMP, organiser of the event, raised the bar several notches up at Jamaica Jazz & Blues 2012, setting a standard they will be hard-pressed to match.