×

Celine Dion Pays Tribute to Husband in First Concert Since His Death: ‘My Heart Will Go On’

LAS VEGAS — One thing became totally clear at the Colosseum of Caesars Palace on Tuesday night: Celine Dion is all about the triumph of love over death.

To return to her residency on the Las Vegas stage slightly more than a month after losing both her husband, René Angelil, and her brother Daniel to cancer demands a certain kind of courage, but Dion has never lacked courage.

What stunned and moved the capacity audience is how she took songs she had sung a hundred times before and imbued them with new meaning, or dared to tackle fresh material that dealt dangerously with her current situation.

The first 20 minutes of the show were live-streamed through Dion’s website, and they began with a photo montage of Angelil and a projected quote from Dion that ended with the words “I realized that if he ever left us, I would have to continue without him, for him.”

Then Dion stepped forward as the curtains parted and she sang “With One More Look at You/Watch Closely Now” — the numbers first sung by Barbra Streisand at the end of “A Star Is Born” when another singing supernova had lost her love.

Dion’s tearful, frankly emotional performance drew a standing ovation and cheers from the crowd, but it was just the beginning as she plunged into a sequence of songs all about love lost, including “Where Does My Heart Beat Now?,” “Because You Loved Me” and “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now.”

We might have never thought about Angelil when we heard those songs before his death, but now it was impossible to think about them in any other way.

Still, Dion is too canny a showman to wallow in self-indulgence, and she quickly switched to a series of upbeat energetic numbers that showed her in fine voice and seemingly joyous spirit.

Then things suddenly changed as she made her way into a standard of hers, “All by Myself.” It was the one point in the evening when the emotion got too strong and after singing “Don’t want to be by myself any more,” she had to cover her face with her hands for a minute or more before she could resume.

When she did, she built things back up with a pull-out-all-the-stops rendition of Queen’s “The Show Must Go On,” followed by an achingly sweet version of her greatest hit, “My Heart Will Go On” — the ultimate song of love triumphing over mortality.

The juxtaposition of those two songs was no accident. Dion was there to tell us in no uncertain terms that the show must go on, but her heart will very clearly, if sometimes painfully, go on with it as well.

More Music

  • Obit Obituary Placeholder

    Nick Tosches, Author of Dean Martin and Jerry Lee Lewis Biographies, Dies at 69

    Some time around the turn of the century, author Nick Tosches prankishly hacked his own online biography so that it gave his death date as the year 2021 — picked, he said, because “it was the anniversary of Dante’s death (in 1321); it made so much sense.” He wasn’t too many years off with that [...]

  • Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike

    Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike Take No. 1 Spot on Top 100 DJs Poll

    The duo of Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike top DJ Mag’s 2019 Top 100 DJs poll, returning to the list since taking the No. 1 spot in 2015 and dethroning Martin Garrix after three years of dominance. The results of the Top 100 DJs were arrived at from 1.3 million votes cast in 179 countries. [...]

  • Bruce Springsteen arrives for the New

    Bruce Springsteen Returns to NJ Hometown for Surprise 'Western Stars' Introduction

    Bruce Springsteen returned to his hometown of Freehold, New Jersey to offer a surprise introduction to the first public multiplex viewing of his concert/documentary film, “Western Stars.” Dressed simply in a brown jacket, Springsteen took a moment to say a few words at the AMC Freehold 14 movie theater on Saturday night. “We knew we [...]

  • Marc Byers

    Execs from Motown, Live Nation, Recording Academy Set to Speak at Culture Creators' Inaugural C2 Summit

    Culture Creators, the organization which recognizes minorities in film, television, music and fashion, is holding its first-ever C2 Summit on Oct. 21 in Washington D.C. Its mission: to engage, mentor, and provide recruitment opportunities to students of color attending historically black colleges and universities. Students were selected from an application process and will participate in [...]

  • Rami Dawod SESAC

    SESAC Toasts Rami Dawod as Pop Songwriter of the Year

    Camila Cabello’s “Never Be The Same” and “Electricity” by Mark Ronson and Silk City featuring Dua Lipa are just a few of the co-writing credits celebrated during an October 16 dinner at Nobu Malibu hosted by SESAC in honor of Rami Dawod. Named Pop Songwriter of the Year by the performance rights organization, Dawod is [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content