Celine Dion's cancelled Halifax show

Oh, the things we say when on the phone with Rene Angelil.

We found ourselves asking strange questions of Celine Dion's husband/manager; unfamiliar questions; questions that sounded, even as they passed our lips, utterly foreign to us; righteous, indignant questions, like, "Isn't this an unfair punishment for Celine Dion's loyal fans in Halifax?"

Who is saying that? Was that us?

Oddly enough, it was us, speaking on the phone with Angelil as he answered questions from Los Angeles via conference call on Tuesday. Weird, weird, weird. How can we muster such anger for a show that we didn't even want to see?

(Editor's note: The opinion expressed in the preceding sentence is solely the opinion of this columnist and does not reflect the general opinion of Halifax's concert-going public. It was in no way meant to offend any act(s) which may be considering the Halifax Common for their upcoming regional/national/world tour. Please. Don't leave us. We need this.)

I suppose we—the bitchy, never-satisfied media—were just feeling defensive, blamed by Angelil as the real reason why Halifax has been de-Dioned. "What the hell is wrong with Haligonians?" he asked rhetorically, claiming that he'd never seen such a negative reaction in his 26 years as Dion's manager.

And, even though that's the kind of claim that could never, ever be verified, we're prepared to grudgingly accept that Celine was publicly blasted.

But, should that matter? I mean, really? If you were pro-Dion, we non-Celine fans can sympathize that you lost your concert. But if you didn't jump on the Celine Dion bandwagon for the greater good of the city—to make Halifax seem like a more welcoming place for music promoters and whatnot—don't buy into the argument that you're somehow to blame for all this. Even after chatting for a half-hour with Rene, we can't muster any guilt. Frankly, nor should you.

On Monday, Trade Centre Limited president Fred MacGillvary told the Daily News, "Shame on us," referring to negative Haligonians and the harsh media response...but we're just not buying it. The much more likely reason for the cancellation—the reason we wish the promoters would just be honest about—is Celine's recently announced Quebec City show on the Plains of Abraham, scheduled a day before the prospective Halifax show.

On Tuesday, journalists asked Angelil if Celine's travelling show could make the trip from Quebec to Halifax in just one night, which Angelil seemed to find insulting.

"Of course," he scoffed, "we're professionals."

But, throughout all of Celine's world tour—which runs until January 2009, and includes more than 60 shows—only one venue change happens over just one day, between venues in New York and New Jersey, which are about an hour apart by 18-wheeler.

Isn't it much more likely that Celine would rather play a show to celebrate Quebec City's 400th anniversary than a ho-hum show in crummy old Halifax?

And if that is indeed the case, why won't Angelil just say so, rather than putting the rest of us non-Celine cranks through such a guilt trip? We're already too cynical and depressed to enjoy sunshiney and sincere Celine Dion albums. You don't need to make us feel any worse!

Siiiigh. In other news, council votes to widen Chebucto Road. We wrote about that, too. Let us know if we're getting too negative.

Calling all cranks! Email mikef@thecoast.ca

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