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International songstress Celine Dion is back in Vegas and better than ever. In her new show at Caesars Palace, the Grammy Award-winning artist performs her repertoire of hits and a collection of songs from other artists including Billy Joel and Ella Fitzgerald.
Dion performs with 31 musicians, consisting of orchestra and band, who are situated behind her on the stage for most of the show. There aren't any back-up dancers. Instead the show puts the focus on Dion and her incredible voice. It also gives Dion the opportunity to take a break from singing to talk to her audience. After her first song, Dion takes a moment to express her gratitude for being able to return to the same showroom she called home from 2003 to 2007 with her previous show "A New Day."
A video montage played before the show starts lets the audience in on what Dion has been doing since 2007. There are shots from her Taking Chances Tour, launched in 2008, which visited five continents, 25 countries and played to more than 3 million people. The montage also features video footage of her family including her son Rene-Charles Angelil and twins Eddy and Nelson. Returning to Caesars Palace and performing as a resident headliner in Vegas is a personal experience that Dion shares with the audience.
"On top of all this, I can still do what I love, sing for you," says Dion.
Throughout the show she breaks from singing to speak to her fans, making her performance feel like an intimate experience despite the Colosseum being a 4,300-seat venue.
A stunning light and video display acts as a backdrop for Dion. Ken Ehrlich, who also directs the Grammy Awards shows, designed the visual presentation exclusively for the Colosseum. As Dion performs, moving stage pieces and a video and light display themed to each song, create an amazing audio and visual experience.
During her performances of fan favorites including "Where Does My Heart Beat Now," "Because You Loved Me" and "It's All Coming Back to Me Now," vintage clips of Dion, along with shots from the original music videos are played. Dressed in a sparkling gown, Dion evokes multiple standing ovations from the crowd before she's even half-way through the show.
There's a brief interlude with a phenomenal violinist before Dion reappears on stage wearing a blue high-cut gown. This time she's with a three-piece band to perform Ella Fitzgerald's "(If You Can't Sing It) You'll Have to Swing It (Mr. Paganini)." Dion's take on the jazzy song isn't what people are used to hearing from the French-Canadian ballad singer, and that's a good thing. She's got the power and pizzazz to make any song her own, and she does.
Some of the other songs in the show include Billy Joel's "Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)," Shirley Bassey's "Godlfinger" from the 1964 James Bond film, the Paul McCartney & Wings song "Live and Let Die" and Janis Ian's "At Seventeen."
The show's audio and visual effects hit an innovative high note during "How Do You Keep the Music Playing?," a duet that Dion performs with a hologram of herself.
"Well, that was a pretty neat trick," says Dion.
This same technique is used for "Overjoyed," a duet that Dion performs with Stevie Wonder.
Later on in the show the music picks up where Dion's repertoire of hits left off with her performance of "Beauty and the Beast," "All By Myself" and the French song "Ne Me Quitte Pas."
The show also includes a tribute to the late Michael Jackson. Dion explains how the king of pop helped influence her own career after seeing Jackson perform on television when she was 15 years old. While wearing a sparkling gold jacket reminiscent of Jackson, Dion performs "Ben" and "Man in the Mirror."
There's no shortage of hits in this show. Fans will relish in hearing Dion's chart-topping anthems performed live. Even if you're not that familiar with her music, Dion's charisma and ability to conquer a dynamic mix of songs is sure to entertain all audiences.
Dion grew up the youngest of 14 children in Quebec, Canada. During her childhood Dion sang with her siblings in her parents' small piano bar called Le Vieux Baril. When she was 12 she collaborated with her mother and brother Jacques to compose her first song, "Ce n'était qu'un rêve" ("It Was Only a Dream"). Her brother sent the song to music manager René Angélil.
Impressed with the song, Angélil, Dion's future husband and manager, mortgaged his home to fund what would become Dion's first record, "La voix du bon Dieu" (a play on the words "The Voice of God/The Way of God"). Released in 1981, it became a local hit skyrocketing Dion to instant stardom in Quebec, Canada.
In 1982 she competed in the Yamaha World Popular Song Festival in Tokyo where she won an award for "Top Performer" and "Best Song." The following years she continued to win awards increasing her popularity in Europe, Asia and Australia.
Dion released her first album in the United States in 1991 called "Unison." The album was a hit within the adult contemporary radio format and featured the hit songs "(If There Was) Any Other Way," "The Last to Know," "Unison," and "Where Does My Heart Beat Now." The album's success established Dion as a rising star in the United States.
Dion's album "The Colour of My Love," released in 1993 featured her first U.S., Canadian and Australian No. 1 single "The Power of Love." In 1996 the album "Falling Into You" solidified Dion's status as an international super star. The album featured a string of hits including "It's All Coming Back to Me Now," a re-make of Eric Carmen's "All By Myself" and "Because You Loved Me."
Her next English album "Let's Talk About Love" released the following year featured the mega hit "My Heart Will Go On," a love ballad and the theme song for the blockbuster film "Titanic." "My Heart Will Go On" was an international phenomenon and won Dion multiple awards including two Grammy awards.
In 2002, Dion released "A New Day has Come," featuring the songs "A New Day Has Come," "I'm Alive," and "Goodbye's (The Saddest Word)." It was followed in 2003 by the album "One Heart" and in 2004 with "Miracle."
Between 2003 and 2007 Dion performed more than 700 shows as part of her concert series "A New Day..." at Caesars Palace. When the show ended on Dec. 15, 2007, more than 3 million fans had seen it.
Dion's most recent English album, "Taking Chances," was released in November, 2007. She followed up with an international tour that visited five continents.
Dion has continued to release chart-topping music around the world. In May 2009 she was named the second best-selling female artist of the decade in the United States selling more than 17 million albums.
-- By Caroline Fontein
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