Bob Sehlinger, author of The Unofficial Guide to Las Vegas, shares with us his review of the Celine Dion show in Las Vegas.
It takes a big voice and a bigger personality to fill the 4,300-seat Colosseum at Caesars Palace. Celine Dion is blessed with both, which she amply demonstrates in her return to Las Vegas. She is emotional and energetic, graceful and glamorous, exquisitely gowned, and at the top of her very sophisticated game. Dion’s show is dazzling, with an extravagance of spectacular visuals, lights, and music surrounding her versatile five-octave range.
In 2016, Dion lost the most important man in her life, her husband and manager, René Angélil, who was greatly responsible for her rise to stardom. Now, as she returns to the Colosseum, her show reflects the void left in her life with songs of remembrance, perseverance, survival, and newfound affirmation of life. Tellingly, the finale is a thunderous rendition of “The Show Must Go On.” Irrespective of this poignant mirroring of her struggles, most of the production is fun, fast-paced, and decidedly upbeat.
Dion alone is more than enough, but she also duets with her on-screen self then again with a holographic Elvis and Frank Sinatra. The powerful 31-piece orchestra and four backup singers sit on five separate mobile stages that reconfigure based on the music. Sometimes it’s just the horns; other times, just the strings, a quartet, or a quintet as accompaniment.
Light panels beneath the orchestra change color depending on mood or theme. On the sides of the stage and extending over the audience are screens that depict family scenes or blaze with vibrant patterns of fire and fireworks, flowers, stardust, and hundreds of other 3-D images exploding toward the audience.
The set list is 20 songs followed by a wildly popular encore, which she sings atop a fountain cascading water in stunning designs. Visually gorgeous and aurally breathtaking, this upbeat and refined event is a class act from initial downbeat to final note.
Celine Dion’s engagement runs for three years, and she is contracted for 70 shows per year. She performs for 3–4 weeks, goes on a short hiatus, then returns again. Check with Caesars Palace or celineinvegas.com for show dates. Tickets are available up to six months in advance. There are good sight lines from every seat. Plus, the enormity of the stage and scope of the production make sitting close to the stage less than desirable, unless you intend to chat up Dion on potato-pancake recipes or some such.
If you drive to Caesars, use the valet parking at the adjoining Forum Shops rather than the hotel-casino valet service at Caesars’ main entrance. There is also valet service, as well as self-parking, at the rear of the hotel, with an entrance convenient to the theater. Give yourself lots of extra time to process through the metal detectors and bag-purse search at the entrance to the theater.
Photo Credit: By Schnappi [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons