The fifth collection culled from the annual VH1 Divas specials is a little too genteel. Maybe because the producers are now old hands at pairing up pop's biggest female singers, and they know how to avoid potential fireworks. But it's the fireworks that make these records sizzle. Who can forget Elton John's rendition of "The Bitch Is Back" on the 1999 edition? Except for the rendition of AC/DC's "You Shook Me," inexplicably assigned to Celine Dion and disco revivalist Anastacia, which features blistering guitar by Meredith ("Bitch") Brooks, none of the cuts crackle. Cher's dance floor hit "I Believe" sounds canned and forced, and Latin firecracker Shakira goes low-key with an acoustic version of her soft-focus "Underneath Your Clothes." Even the vivacious Dixie Chicks can't rescue the record with their performance of Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide," complete with Stevie Nicks. --Jaan Uhelszki
Before seeing this show on VH1, I had never heard of Anastacia, but I think she has the single best number of the program with her "One Day in Your Life," and I will be buying one of her albums. My main criticism is too much Celine Dion. They must consider her the main attraction because she has more time onstage than anyone else and I also think she has been on more of the Diva programs than anyone else. How much you will like this package may depend on how much you like Celine.
I think this is a very good musical package as well as an excellent value.
The 2002 edition of Divas Live was shot in Las Vegas, for the very first time, instead of New York City, where the Divas Live concerts were previously held. On this show, the divas come out, but with much fewer tracks this time than the other Divas concerts. Still, there were some very good performances including Celine Dion's wonderful song, A New Day Has Come, Cher's Song For The Lonely and Believe. Ironically, Cher performed it at the Divas Live '99 edition, but it wasn't released on the 1999 Divas Live concert album. There was also another newcomer that knocked down the house, Anastacia. Her song One Day In Your Life took off overseas first, than nearly took about a year to make it into the American shores.
Still, when I said there were some flaws, I can absolutely tell when a diva's performance in general was shut out. The case in point is from Mary J. Blige, who performed a couple of her hit songs at the Divas concert from her album No More Drama, the title track, No More Drama, and Rainy Dayz. That was a knockout performance within itself, but how could they release an album like that and shut down a divas perofrmance. Make that 2 divas together. Whitney Houston made a surprise appearance during Rainy Dayz, which made the crowd go absolutely crazy.
When VH-1 makes the concerts a joy live, it is quite alright. Sadly, they really need to try harder to really make better live albums. This time, the Divas Live was taken to a big blow. Instead, I suggest you buy the original Divas Live and Divas Live '99 concerts on CD. They were much better the first two times around.
The Country Queens, Dixie Chicks, did their best with Stevie, and chose one of my Fleetwood Mac favorite songs, and they did it their way.
Cher, good as always, made the MGM Grand dance with "Believe" and "Song for the lonely", and her tribute to Elvis... Well, that wasn't pretty good, but that's her way to say it, and was nice.
Shakira!... Well, what can I say, I just love her soooooo much, she's a complete Colombian pride, and I'm obviously proud of her. Her acoustic version of "Underneath your clothes" reminded me of her good MTV Unplugged album (Grammy Awards winner by the way), and "Always on my mind".... That really rocks!...
In my opinion, three great songs were missing: Cher with Cyndi Lauper in the unique duet of "If I could turn back time", Shakira and Mary J. Blige with "Love is a battlefield", and the Dixie Chicks tribute to the king.... The rest, well, a perfect CD, a great piece of collection, a great musical experience....