So then…my friend and I pop into our seats in the flashy Vegas theater to see Celine Dion perform.
We’re not huge Celine fans, per se, but my company had bought tickets for an international client whose flight was cancelled, so my boss told me to take the tickets myself.
I’m not familiar with all of Celine’s music, but I do like that Love Boat song:
“Love, exciting and new — Come Aboard. We’re expecting you…”
Oh wait – not that one. The Sinking Love Boat song:
“Near, far, wherever you are — I believe that the heart does go on…”
So the show starts – Celine belts out some powerhouse hits – dancers dazzle us with complicated choreography – and a huge mime in a tiny top hat wanders around the stage, freaking me out a bit.
I have no idea how he plays into this performance as he literally DOES NOT SING – DOES NOT DANCE – and PERFORMS NO DISCERNABLE TRICKS.
He doesn’t even seem like he belongs in the cast. This 6 foot 6 inch guy just wanders around the back of the stage all night long, striking creepy poses in his mime outfit, white-face, and tiny top hat.
(For all I know, he’s NOT in the cast. Maybe he’s just a stalker with a clever ruse to get close to Celine.)
Anyway, about half way through her set, Celine stops to chat with her audience. It’s a bit awkward because it doesn’t come across as natural or conversational.
It’s as though a PR person has told her, “You appear to be an elite aloof ice cold Canadian perfectionist. You need to CONNECT with the little people – make yourself more human, so they can relate to you.”
Her set list probably says, “Insert charming stories about your family here.”
So she tells us about how much her son Rene’-Charles (4 years old at the time) loves Hot Wheels cars. Audience members smile – they can relate to this. Their tykes like Hot Wheels too!
Then she says he loves to ride those little coin-operated vibrating cars outside the toy store. Audience members nod their heads. Their kids enjoy that too!
Then she says she flew her son to NASCAR so he could ride laps in the winning car after the race.
BAM! That little tenuous connection to the audience immediately SNAPS!
Audience members are like, “Um, nope, can’t relate to that at all. Don’t have a private jet. Don’t know anyone at NASCAR to arrange a private lap in an actual NASCAR car. But….um….ya know, how lovely for YOU.”
Then she tries to share how cute it is when she kisses her son goodbye to go to work each night, when the helicopter lands in her yard to take her to the Vegas strip.
Um, OK. We get it, you’re rich. “Helicopter-In-The-Yard” Rich.
But my favorite is when she shares the story of the time they emptied their pool to install new decorative tiles.
(Please read this next part with your best French-Canadian accent):
“When zee work wuzz ‘finis,’ we put zee hose in da pool to feell it back up. But it wuzz taking so long because my pool – it izz ENORMOUS! SO BEEG! And poor little Rene’-Charles wuzz so hot! He wanted to swim so badly, but I jezz didn’t know whut to do!”
Here she pauses dramatically to shrug helplessly – and mime Rene’-Charles’ sadness.
“Zen I have zee wonderful idea! I call zee fire department and tell them about poor little Rene’-Charles and zey come right away! Vite! Vite! Zee fire trucks come to my house and zey put the giant FIRE hoses in my pool and ta-da – it feells to the top!”
Here she claps and hops like a giggly schoolgirl.
“All za firemenzz is so nice to Rene’-Charles to fill zee pool and now my boy can swim! Eez wonderful, yes?”
We furrow our brows.
Um…yeah…we guess so.
I dunno, though. I like to please my kid as much as the next mom, but if my 4-year-old was whining that the pool wasn’t filling up fast enough, I’d probably pop him in the bathtub or squirt him with the hose.
I’m not sure I’d call the FIRE DEPARTMENT to come use city water and city equipment to fill my pool. Maybe they do that in certain areas, but I’m not sure that’s the best use of city resources. (Fire dispatcher: “Sorry we can’t put out your 4-alarm fire, sir, we’re filling Rene’-Charles’ pool! He eez so hot!”)
To be fair, if I had Celine’s talent and wealth, I might well bathe my children in monks’ tears and feed them fresh-squeezed unicorn milk.
But I do worry that Rene’-Charles (RC) might develop a bit of an “immediate-gratification” issue if this is the MO:
RC: “Me like Hot Wheels.”
Celine: “Lezz hop zee jet to NASCAR for a lap in zee winning car!”
RC: “Me want swim.”
Celine: “Call the fire department! Feell thiz pool quick-quick!”
RC: “Playground kid gave me mean look.”
Celine: “Call the National Guard!”
RC: “My ice cream tastes icky.”
Celine: “Fly Ben & Jerry here immediately to make a fresh batch!”
RC: “Me sleepy. Sing lullaby.”
Celine: “Quick, get Beyonce and Taylor Swift over here NOW!”
Um, wait, Celine, aren’t YOU a singer too?
Celine: “Oh, yeah, right, right – I guess I could do zat one myself. — Get me a mic and my tiny top hat mime STAT!”
— Darcy Perdu
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Let’s hope Rene’-Charles’ parents don’t try to top each other for birthday parties like these two insanely-wealthy competitive parents!
(Is that totally normal to have the fire department fill up your ENORMOUS pool? Ever see celebs try to “relate” to us commoners? If YOU had unlimited wealth, what extravagance would you indulge in with happy abandon?)
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