Live A Paris

Celine Dion

Sony Music, 1996



It seems to me that I'm the only one who's interested in reviewing so-called "fluff" albums on "The Daily Vault". Sometimes I get intimidated by all the upper-world revelations some reviewers here and on HitsWorld seem to get from all sorts of albums by everyone from Tool to Nirvana. Hey, I like my material; I just want some fun, not the meaning of life.

Because once in a while in the "fluff" hierarchy, an album comes out that screams "I'M AN ARTIST!!!" and perks up my faith in "fluff" (or using Vault lingo, a "gem"). At this precarious time for "fluff" when artists Mariah Carey is preparing, Whitney Houston is going down, Toni Braxton is disappointing, and Spice Girls are overplayed, Celine Dion releases an album that captures her trademark live performances in one neat package.

Don't be turned off by the thirteen out of fifteen French language tracks. Jean-Jacques Goldman works perfectly with Dion, so even if it is essentially a Dion-Goldman concert, it doesn't take away anything at all.

I understand only rudimentary French but this album still took me into a state of stupor. I've seen Celine Dion in concert recently (Seoul performance), and I'm amazed at how perfectly the feeling is captured into disc. The layout is the only disagreeable factor; "J'Attendais" was never my favorite Celine Dion song (Celine, you're a "fluff" artist! Enter with Goddess-like pose!) and "Vole" isn't a good way to end a concert. I was very disappointed that "To Love You More" was not a live performance, just the studio version, released for the sake of the Americans (it was previously released in Southeast Asia and Europe).

But that's it on the negatives. "J'Attendais" kicks into "Destin" which happens to be one of my favorite songs on her D'eux album. Everything about this song is perfect for Celine Dion live; she sings it with much more passion than she does in the studio.

It's really too bad about "The Power Of Love", the song everybody either loves or hates. Without the high polish gloss effect of the studio, her stark belting is less emotional. "Regarde-Moi" and "River Deep, Mountain High" do the requisite let's-perk-the-audience bit and I get a little afraid for her; this lady sings with no reserve whatsoever. What if she loses her voice in the middle of the concert? It amazes me because here's one of the thinnest singers on Earth and she flies around the stage for over two hours, faltering not one bit.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

It took me some time to realize that "Un Garcon Pas Comme" and "Les Autres (Ziggy)" were the same song (it's actually "Un Garcon Pas Comme Les Autres (Ziggy)"). I gotta say this here; the French audience is amazingly in tune when Dion invites them to sing the chorus.

"Les Derniers Seront Les Premiers" is my favorite song on D'eux, so my anticipation was high as I listened into this song. It's around a hundred times more exicting than it is in D'eux; when Jean-Jacques Goldman suddenly added his vocals to Dion's during the second chorus, electricity went through my skin. He was a little shaky at first, but that's part of the magic.

Then Dion goes "Are you ready to rock and roll!" And she gets into "J'Irai Ou Tu Iras", another duet song featuring Goldman. Dion makes a sharp contrast with the following "Je Sais Pas", much more chilling than its childish English-lyric counterpart "I Don't Know".

"Le Ballet" is a much longer edit than its album version (ten minutes and thirty something seconds) because Dion introduces her band members during a much extended bridge section. It's also a fascinating study on the interesting sounds Celine Dion can make; especially when she does imitations of the intruments she's introducing or that weird breathing sequence she does on 6:56 and 7:38. Only someone with French influence would be able to produce them (you'll hear what I mean).

"Priere Paienne" can be easily overlooked in D'eux but thanks to Dion's formidable background singers, that's impossible. Sit back and enjoy the gorgeous harmonies going in the background ... preferably late at night driving fast on a highway with the roof down (convertible required).

The audience goes understandably berserk when Dion opens "Pour Que Tu M'aimes Encore", another exquisite song on D'eux later to be butchered in Falling Into You when it was translated into English ("If That's What it Takes"). I'd like to extend a gratified smooch to Celine Dion herself; thank you for singing this song, especially for singing it in French. No matter what happens during the rest of the album, nothing will destroy it.

So it's sad that she had to end it with "Quand On N'a Que L'Amour" and "Vole". The former has the "fluff" laid on too thick. "Vole" was a very unwise choice for an encore; it's just plain boring to hear in studio or live. And how was I to know that "inedit" in English meant "studio version"? "To Love You More" is her best English track to date (which is saying a lot), but it doesn't belong on this live album.

Regarding Live a Paris as a package, it's near-perfect; Dion is better on stage than in the studio and she knows it. Falling Into You didn't deserve the Grammy for Album of the Year, and that disappointing album unfortunately overshadows Live a Paris in CD stores everywhere. Not buying Falling Into You is perfectly understandable, but Live a Paris deserves more attention and respect than it is getting now. It simply is the best Celine Dion album to date. And isn't that reason enough?

For we "fluff" fans, the answer us YES!

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


© 1997 JB and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Sony Music, and is used for informational purposes only.