IMG 8038Before launching into this piece, I suppose I should come clean about something.  I’m not really a Celine Dion fan.  Having said that, her new show at the Colosseum is a must-see!  I may not be a fan, but this show just about blew me away!

I’ve always acknowledged Celine’s talent.  Although I think she has one of the best voices in contemporary music, I just don’t connect with mostIMG 8028 of her material.  I’ll admit I saw her first Vegas show, A New Day.   ...I saw it twice, actually.  I enjoyed it for the over the top, Cirque du Soleil style staging and for Celine’s energetic performance.  

IMG 8447This new show, simply entitled Celine, is less of a theatrical spectacle and more of an all-out Celine Dion concert, but make no mistakes, there are spectacular elements to the show.  The opening number, Journey’s “Open Arms” starts simply - the main stage curtain opens to reveal Ms. Dion standing center stage with a white curtain behind her.  On the release into the chorus, the huge white curtain...DROPS, to reveal her 31 piece orchestra, band and back-up singers.  It’s an impressive moment!

The first segment of the show was more or less a musical retrospective of Celine’s early career - “Where Does My Heart Beat Now”, “Because You Loved Me”, “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now”, and “The Power Of Love” were performed back to back, often accompanied by multiple video images of Celine at various ages.  

IMG 8450After a solo violin interlude, Dion returned to do a jazzy tribute to Ella Fitzgerald (“Mr. Paganini”), followed by an emotional cover of Billy Joel’s “Lullabye” which she dedicated to her children, videos of whom were projected on screens behind her.  Her rendition of Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep” was strong and I also enjoyed the medley of James Bond themes, ending with “Live And Let Die”, complete with vivid red lights and flames shooting up on the LED screens upstage.

Her male back-up singer then took the stage, along with the brass section of her orchestra for Blood, Sweat and Tears’ 1969 classic “Spinning Wheel” after which the curtain opened to reveal Dion on a platform onstage.  A few lines into the song, we realized we were watching a hologram when the real Celine appeared in the audience to sing a duet with her projected image.  She then mounted the stage platform to perform a duet with a hologram of Stevie Wonder seated at a holographic piano!  

The next segment might’ve been called the Sadness Suite, featuring Janis Ian’s plaintive “At Seventeen”, Eric Carmen’s “All By Myself” and a magnificently performed “Ne Me Quitte Pas” - Jaques Brel’s mournful plea for his love not leave.  Sung entirely in French, Dion proved that you don’t need to speak her language to understand the depth and emotion of such an incredible song.  Truth is truth!

A celebration of Michael Jackson’s music was next, showcasing the talents of three  phenomenal cellists, who performed an instrumental of “Smooth Criminal” - difficult to identify at first, but completely recognizable with the first chorus of “...Annie are you okay?”

IMG 8032After several more numbers, we reached the finale - a rousing version of “River Deep Mountain High”, the Tina Turner/Phil Spector classic.IMG 8043  Celine looked stunning in a gold spangled mini-dress and she and her musicians just tore up the stage!

IMG 8034After the bows there was a short break where the stage was set for Dion’s signature encore, the iconic “My Heart Will Go On” from the film Titanic.  This, of course, was beautifully sung, but also featured what might possibly be the most over-the-top stage effect I’ve ever seen.  I won’t give it away, but remember...this is Vegas.  Celine knows that to wow an audience in Vegas, you’ve gotta go BIG or go home!

I thoroughly enjoyed this show.  I’ve heard a few complaints that some of her fans would have preferred fewer covers and more of Ms. Dion’s material.  I feel that by covering other artists, she’s actually opening the door for people like me whom, as I said, don’t quite connect with her songs.  With the exception of the “Hologram Break”, which I felt dragged the show down a bit, I was otherwise always interested.

Some of the “comedic” patter between her and her musical director felt a bit forced, but those moments were few and luckily Ken Ehrlich’s direction kept the show zipping from moment to moment fairly seamlessly.   The lighting by Yves Aucoin is grand, gorgeous and dramatic, particularly at the top of the show with the curtain-drop reveal and later in the Bond medley and encore.  Lastly, her sound designer, Dennis Savage kept the sound pristine and perfectly balanced throughout the evening.

So...Have I been converted?  Am I now a big Celine Dion fan?  No.  The show didn’t change me that much.IMG 8042  

BUT...would I see the show again?  Absolutely.  I am in awe of Ms. Dion’s talents and though I may not buy her records, I know a fabulous performer when I see and hear one!  Celine puts on a killer show, and if you happen to be in Las Vegas during one of her rotations - she alternates with Elton John and Shania Twain - and especially if you’re a fan, run to see this show.  Celine Dion est magnifique!