×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

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

  • Oprah Russell Simmons Documentary

    Oprah Defends Decision to Exit #MeToo Doc: 'This Is Not a Victory for Russell' Simmons

    Oprah Winfrey explained her decision to step away from “On the Record,” an expose about sexual harassment in the music industry, including women who have accused mogul Russell Simmons of misconduct. The documentary, from filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering, will premiere at Sundance on Jan. 25. Winfrey, who served as an executive producer and [...]

  • Taylor Swift Variety Cover Story Sundance

    Taylor Swift: No Longer 'Polite at All Costs'

    “Not a shot. Not a single chance. Not a snowball’s chance in hell.” Taylor Swift — who, at 30, has reached a Zen state of cheerful realism — laughs as she leans into a pillow she’s placed over her crossed legs inside her suite at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, leaning further still into her infinitesimal odds of winning [...]

  • Tiffany Almy

    Tiffany R. Almy Promoted to Partner at Rothenberg, Mohr & Binder

    Music and entertainment law firm Rothenberg, Mohr & Binder LLP has promoted Tiffany R. Almy to partner. The New York-based transactional attorney joined the firm when it opened its doors in 2018. Founded by Paul Rothenberg, Jeremy Mohr and Joshua P. Binder, the trio’s combined clients have included Solange, Charlie Puth, Logic, Top Dawg Entertainment [...]

  • Kirby Dick Amy Ziering

    'On The Record,' Russell Simmons #MeToo Doc, Charts Course to Sundance After Oprah Exit

    UPDATED: A spokesperson for Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering says the filmmaking team behind “Off the Record” will participate in print and broadcast interviews at the Sundance film festival. The accusers featured in the film are weighing press options at this time. Earlier, a spokesperson for the Russell Simmons documentary confirmed to Variety that only [...]

  • Deborah Dugan

    Reports of Ousted Grammy Chief Demanding $22 Million Are 'Outrageous,' Sources Say

    UPDATED: As the war of words between the Recording Academy and ousted president/CEO Deborah Dugan continues to escalate, interim boss Harvey Mason Jr. today issued a statement to the Academy’s membership about Dugan’s alleged misconduct and warned about “leaks and misinformation.” The letter claims that Dugan’s attorney Bryan Freedman sought “millions of dollars” for his [...]

  • Mac Miller, Ariana GrandeAriana Grande in

    Mac Miller Producer 'Believes' That's Ariana Grande's Voice on New Album

    Since Mac Miller’s posthumous album, “Circles,” came out Friday, many fans have been convinced they heard Ariana Grande’s voice on the track “I Can See.” The late rapper’s reps responded to queries with a “no comment.” Now, his ex-girlfriend’s vocal cameo has been confirmed — or equivocally confirmed, at least — by the record’s producer, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content