On the scene: Celine Dion live in Las Vegas. Holograms, Michael Jackson, and more!


Image Credit: Gerard Schachmes

Back in March, when Celine Dion’s new show “Celine” opened in Las Vegas, my colleague Tanner Stransky posed a very important question: Will you make it to Sin City to see it?

As a huge (non-closeted) Celine fan, I gave a resounding “yes!” and began my Celine countdown. To say I was excited would be an understatement. So I rounded up some travel partners (otherwise known as my mom and grandmother), and we left for Sin City with only one thing on our agenda—see Celine live at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace. (Seriously. We had no other plans.)

Before the show started, I chatted with a publicist for The Colosseum who told me, “well, if you’re already a Celine fan you’re going to love the show. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. It will be great.” I figured I’d enjoy the show. But laugh and cry? Probably not. Famous last words…

I had seen Celine once before on her Taking Chances World Tour, and she sang only her own music, so I was pleasantly surprised that last night’s show included a number of non-Celine classics. She opened the show with Journey’s “Open Arms,” then took it way back to the basics with her “Where Does My Heart Beat Now,” got the crowd to sing along at her request to “Because You Loved Me,” and then went right into “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now.” I’m so used to botching this song during karaoke, it was refreshing to hear it as it’s meant to be heard. She finished off the first set of songs with “I’m Your Lady.” Yes you are, Celine. Yes you are.

For her next round of tributes, the vocal powerhouse scatted to Ella Fitzgerald’s “(If You Can’t Sing It) You’ll Have To Swing It.” Who knew Celine could scat? And then came Billy Joel’s “Lullaby (Goodnight My Angel),” and me in tears. I know—I’m that girl, the one who cried in the middle of a Celine Dion concert, but I couldn’t help myself. The song was paired with a slideshow of Celine and her kids, and it totally got me. In my defense, pretty much everyone around me was crying. In fact, I was still trying to recover so I hardly paid attention to “The Reason.” Blasphemy!

Things really perked up when the orchestra started playing Bond theme music big-band style as Celine exited the stage for one of her many costume changes. She returned to sing “Goldfinger,” made famous by Shirley Bassey. Next came a truncated version of “Nobody Does It Better” by Carly Simon which led right into “Live and Let Die. Yep, even Paul McCartney got the Celine treatment.

When Celine appeared for her next song, she looked slightly different. I was about to brush it off until I realized the real Celine was actually out in an aisle of the auditorium;wWhat I had been seeing on stage was actually a hologram of Celine! Real Celine and Hologram Celine were both there to sing “How Do You Keep the Music Playing.” A duet with herself. Why didn’t I see that coming? Not to be outdone, Hologram Stevie Wonder appeared out of thin air—because holograms can do that—and sang with the songstress on “Overjoyed.”

Celine slowed it down again for her take on Janis Ian’s “At Seventeen” and Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.” (Her backup singer took over duet duties for this one. No more hologram people were seen the rest of the show.) The visual team even recreated the chandelier/ballroom look from the scene in the movie

. It really took me back; I half expected to see Mrs. Potts or at least a talking French candlestick. And speaking of French, Celine decided to sing in her native tongue for the next number: Roughly translated, I think the song title is “If You Go Away”? I didn’t understand anything she said, but it was one of the most intensely emotional performances I’ve ever heard. Celine struggled to get through it. You could see it on her face, and in between phrases, you could have heard a pin drop in the giant auditorium. Her voice wavered slightly on the very last line, and she had to wipe tears away during the audience’s applause. If only I spoke French!

“All By Myself” was next up on the queue, and Celine reminded me that no one does the sing-and-point quite like she does. The song got the singer her first full-auditorium standing ovation. All of the led to what was, easily, my favorite part of the night—a tribute to the King of Pop himself, Michael Jackson.

It started with three cellists playing a medley of Michael that included “Smooth Criminal,” “Billie Jean,” and “Thriller.” Celine launched right into his “Ben” and then “Man in the Mirror.” (Fun fact: Celine said seeing Michael on TV when she was 15 is what encouraged her to learn to sing and speak in English.)

Celine ended the night with her own “Love Can Move Mountains,” and “River Deep, Mountain High.” It was by far the most high-octane part of the evening—Celine even broke down her microphone stand and twirled it like a baton before saying goodnight. But of course came back for a stirring performance of “My Heart Will Go On” because, really, no Celine show is complete without it.

Maybe Celine Dion isn’t your thing. And while she’s clearly mine, it’s hard to go wrong with her powerhouse vocals and song selection. The hotel may be called Caesars Palace, but The Colosseum belongs to Celine.

Celine Dion opens her Las Vegas show, ‘Celine’

Follow Music Mix and Breia on Twitter: @EWMusicMix and @breiabrissey

Comments (33 total) Add your comment
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  • Billie72

    So looking forward to seeing Celine … hopefully soon … thanks for the article Breia!

  • Lorie

    Breia, I’m so jealous!
    I have no interest in Vegas, but one of my dreams is to go soley to see Celine. Fingers crossed!
    Thanks for the article.

    • Michael

      It’s SO worth it! She puts on an amazing show!

  • LouBeOH

    Absolutely no question Celine can sing and is a dynamic and entertaining live performer, but, my God, this show seems horrible. She has three decades of her own hits, but, half her setlist is covers of other peoples iconic songs (which thanks to her level of bombast and cheese are always terrible no matter how her voice is). Plus, all the hologram gimmicks are reminiscent of the worst of Vegas. I’m glad I sent my partner to the original show.

    • Kat

      Agree on the setlist. I would gladly go to a Celine show if she were singing all the hits, but this seems like more than half are covers. Oh and Breia- for the record the song is called The Power of Love, not I’m your Lady :)

    • PN

      Maybe she doesn’t want to sing all her own songs because of all that big vocal range on her ballads,so she mixed it up by playing covers along with her own.

  • Mike

    Absolutely love this woman… Me and my brother used to fued when we were little over who was better (Celine Dion or Whitney Houston). What can I say, even from a you age he could recognize her power and talent and here we are 17 years later and she’s still going strong. After Whitney disappeared I had to wait a while for another female vocal that I believed could rival Celine; I didn’t find her until Kelly Clarkson showed up on American Idol ;)

  • Canadian Fan

    I’ve got to say that I am thrilled that this is a rare piece on EW that’s actually about entertainment!?! It has nothing to do with Kate Gosselin, OctoMommy, the Kardashian litter or the Jersey Shore mutants! For the most part, this site has become total tabloid trash. Nice to be able to read a report about an actual show that is based on talent and has nothing to do with scandal or reality TV. I’ve seen all of the amazing Cirque de Soleil shows in Vegas – perhaps an article or two about them would be more worthwhile instead of wall-to-wall coverage of the Bachelorette? More writing about what’s happening on Broadway? Small independent films that aren’t getting much PR? Music acts that have nothing to do with Idol or The Voice? The possibilities really are endless, EW…

    • PN

      I think that they need to get back on reporting on active celebrities instead of someone coming from reality shows. I do think that some people are getting tired of those reality shows and most of them are on cable–the big networks cut down on them a lot last season. But report on some entertainers that are still out there performing and acting. After a while those Kardashians are becoming tiresome to watch and I’m tired of the Bachelor and the Bachelorette! Show some real stars, not reality TV people!

    • LouBeOH

      Amen! I was starting to believe that I was the only person who doesn’t find the glorification of horrible people entertaining. We gave up our subscription because of EW’s insistence on featuring these “reality” people ad nausea.

  • Rocky

    Celine Dion tried to get me pregnant once. But I wouldn’t eat from her pitrie dish. True story. BEST story ever.

  • Kevin

    Um, “I’m Your Lady”?? How big is this writer’s fan flag if she doesn’t even know that one of Celine’s signature hits is called “The Power of Love.” And she gets paid to do this? Sheesh!

    • PN

      I think because Celine sings I’m Your Lady so much in The Power of Love, that’s what made that writer write it in the article. I don’t think the song title came to her head; she might have just come from the show and wrote it on the computer.

  • Laura

    Was just in Vegas! While Celine is not my thing and my fam didnt see her, Im glad that you had a good time! The city was a lot more fun than I expected considering my family arent gamblers (played just a little) but the Cirque shows we saw were amazing, and David Copperfield was so cool!

  • JP

    Big Celine fan here and I was actually pretty disappointed with the Celine 2.0 Vegas Show. I had seen her previous “Cirque de Celine” concert at the Colliseum a few years ago and it was incredible with the dancers, set pieces and aerialists. Plus, she sang mostly her own songs. This new show is slow, visually boring, and there are WAY too many songs by other performers. By the way, it sounds like she makes herself cry every night because she had to wipe away tears after her French song performance during our show too. I would definitely recommend waiting to see her go on tour again because this show was not that great.

  • RvE

    The French song is called “Ne Me Quitte Pas”. The literal translation of the title is “Don’t Leave Me”, but there is an English language version of it that is called “If You Go Away”. Céline is AWESOME, and her French songs are some of her best! :)

  • Michael

    I wonder when Celine Dion will come up with another album. Her last album Taking Chances wasn’t really her best cup of tea.

    • blairnaj

      at least it has more sales than that of Mariah Carey’s Memoirs of an imperfect angel right!!!! means shes still the queen!!!!

  • PN

    I love that Love Can Move Mountains–the full 5 minute plus album version in all its funkiness on her 1992 album! I love that she closed her Las Vegas show with that number! But good that you got to see her in concert, Breia!

  • Dino

    The French song is Ne Me Quitte Pas by Jacques Brel. It means ‘Don’t Leave Me’ in English.

  • MultiPass

    That was a very cute review. you love her so much!

  • Lesley

    Celine is definately a “powerhouse” when it comes to vocals. My family had saved up money for me to fly to Vegas as a Christmas gift for her last Vegas stint. Needless to say, I could not get tickets. Now that she is preforming again, I will be unable to go. I wish the nosebleed seats were not so far away…..and I wish the seats in general were a bit more affordable. I am always disapointed with the cost of this stuff. I just hope they will release a DVD sooner than later. I don’t want to wait, three, or even 5 years to see it. From what I have read, snippets I have seen, it sounds and looks fabulous!!!!!

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