At a Glance
What is it?
A concert from Canadian pop superstar Celine Dion that mixes her greatest hits like “All By Myself” with cover tunes from other artists.
Where is it?
At the 4,000-seat Colosseum at Caesars Palace on the Center Strip.
Is it worth the cost?
It depends on how much you pay for the tickets and how much you love Celine Dion.
Why should I see this show?
Because you really love Celine Dion.
What else do I need to know?
Expect a lot of singing but not much else in the way of stage spectacle.
What’s the bottom line?
She is one of the best singers in the world so who needs stage spectacle?
This is the third (and potentially final) iteration of Celine Dion’s residency show at Caesars Palace. The first in 2003, billed as “A New Day,” had staging created by Cirque du Soleil’s Franco Dragone. With some evocative Cirque style visuals and an energetic dance troupe behind her doing choreography from Mia Michaels, it was probably the best of the bunch in terms of an overall production.
In 2008 she went off to do other projects but came back in 2011 with an updated production featuring a 31-piece orchestra that focused less on the stage spectacle and more on the singing. That was both a good thing and a bad thing, in that it allowed the power of Dion’s vocals to take center stage (and let’s face it you would be hard pressed to think of anyone who has as pure, clear, and perfect a voice as her), but the end result felt a little sleepy. Packed with her signature ballads and equally languid songs from other artists, the show lacked energy.
After taking a year off to care for her ailing husband in 2015, Dion returned with a (mostly) new production that is now slated to end its run in June of 2019. While it is still packed with mostly slower songs, there is a new energy that is almost palpable.
The dramatic opening is still intact – keep your eyes on that big white curtain but from there most of the show is new (or new-ish). She leads with the touching “I Surrender” and then segues into one of her early hits, “Where Does My Heart Beat,” while showing photos and video on screens of her throughout her career. It’s a lovely moment and sets up the parade of hits quite well. There’s “Because You Loved Me,” “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now,” “The Power of Love,” and more.
When she segues into an intimate cabaret setting it gives her a chance to show off how good her vocal abilities really are with nimble and complex phrasings that could set the stage for a future jazz album. It also gives the first real hint of the “new” Celine.
While her vocals are unimpeachable, I have always thought she came across as distant. Despite her emotive style and earnest “You are my heart” type of stage patter, there has always been something that kept her separate from the audience.
Now she dives into the audience, almost literally. She takes a trip up and down the aisles, pausing to shake hands and pose for selfies with fans. It’s a fun moment that brackets other more personal moments. She has a montage of photos and videos of her family while singing a beautiful version of “First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.” Later she puts away the giant orchestra and goes acoustic for some updated versions of “New Day,” “That’s the Way It Is,” and “I’m Alive.” It’s a nice change of pace that enlivens the show.
Some of the covers she does aren’t quite as successful. Her version of “Kiss” is more Tom Jones than Prince and I’m sorry but nobody but Prince should ever do “Purple Rain.” Seriously, it should even be removed from karaoke catalogues. Don’t do it.
The ending is the theme from “Titanic,” of course, and it comes with new staging that literally surrounds her with water and color. It’s a stunning, over-the-top visual that makes what she does next even more impressive.
She closes with a simple cover of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” that with the old Celine could have come across as treacly. Here, it is powerful, emotional, and so vocally intricate that it almost leaves you breathless.
Celine has become a Vegas mainstay and if she keeps delivering shows like this she could continue to reign over The Strip for years to come.