Celine Dion reassures fans about Vegas return

Celine Dion’s longtime musical conductor and three other band members have been laid off, but her new manager issued a news release to reassure her fans that she is returning to Las Vegas.

The Caesars Palace headliner has been the most successful act in Las Vegas since her arrival in 2003.

Letting the musicians go “was a very difficult decision but judged necessary in order to breathe new life into the spectacular,” Aldo Giampaolo said in the release.

“I want to reassure the media, the public and her fans that Celine is returning, although no actual date has been determined,” said Giampaolo, who earlier this year replaced Dion’s husband, Rene Angelil, as her manager.

Angelil stepped aside after a reoccurrence of cancer in 2013.

Musical conductor Claude “Mego” Lemay had been with Dion for 28 years. The other musicians were Yves Frulla, Andre Coutu and Jean-Seb Carre. Their contracts were due to expire this weekend.

“Celine and Rene are thankful for their talent and love over the last years and wish them much success in their future projects,” the release said.

Dion’s last show at Caesars was July 29, when she suffered throat inflammation.

SLS GETS BOOST

The best week in the short history of SLS Las Vegas — and prospects of a strong May — has brought a jolt of optimism after a rocky start.

The hiring of several veteran East Coast hosts paid off over the weekend when a blackjack player dropped $1 million in one night.

Matt Erickson, senior vice president of restaurant operations, credited new President Scott Kreeger with the strategy of beefing up the host ranks.

Kreeger replaced Rob Oseland, who left after two months to join another casino project.

May should bring a bonanza of traffic from the Rock in Rio festival, Erickson said, because of an arrangement that will funnel monorail passengers through the former Sahara hotel-casino during the event’s two weekends.

“We’re hoping to see upwards of 10,000 a day from the monorail,” Erickson said. “We’re banking on Rock in Rio. It should be a huge uptick for us and help the city as well.”

Asked about the status of Jose Andres’ Ku Noodle, which has appeared to be underachieving, Erickson said it will undergo “tweaking” based on feedback.

More protein will be added to the menu, the all-white interior will get more color, and a hole will be cut in the facade to better feature the popular Taiwanese shaved ice, he said.

ROOTIN’ FOR ROSE

A Las Vegas photographer who wants to see Pete Rose in the National Baseball Hall of Fame got a response from baseball’s new commissioner, Robert Manfred Jr.

Jerry Adler sent an email to Manfred in January, urging him to reinstate the all-time hits leader.

Rose, who turns 74 on April 14, was banned from baseball for life by Commissioner Bart Giamatti in 1989 for gambling on baseball.

Adler said it would be “great for baseball” and let fans “know you are the new man in charge!”

Manfred, in his Feb. 13 response, wrote: “This particular matter has been left solely to the judgment of the Commissioner.

“While I am familiar with his current status, I have not yet studied the entire factual record since becoming Commissioner.

“I look forward to becoming completely conversant with the facts of the situation. Because I understand and respect the passion that surrounds this case, I assure you that I will be fully prepared and fair-minded in the event that a formal request involving Mr. Rose reaches my desk.

“Again, thank you for reaching out.”

SIGHTINGS

NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr., dining at lunch with friends at Giada at The Cromwell. … At N9ne Steakhouse in the Palms over the weekend: James Harden of the Houston Rockets, NFL great Marshall Faulk and Oakland Raiders linebacker Khalil Mack.

THE PUNCH LINE

“I still haven’t adjusted the clocks in my house. I’ll need four to six weeks. We can send a satellite to Mars, yet we cannot have a microwave that automatically adjusts its clock.” — Jimmy Kimmel

Norm Clarke’s column appears Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He can be reached at 702-383-0244 or email him at norm@reviewjournal.com. Find more online at www.normclarke.com. Follow Norm on Twitter @Norm_Clarke.

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