weather icon Partly Cloudy

Celine Dion closes 1,141-show residency on Las Vegas Strip — VIDEO

Updated June 9, 2019 - 2:09 pm

In her sendoff at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace, Celine Dion opened with “The Power of Love.”

Then she felt it.

Dion was greeted with a full-throated roar and a standing ovation from the start as she opened her 1,141st and final show Saturday night at the Colosseum.

“I’m supposed to ask how everybody is doing tonight, but you already answered that many times already. I am very excited, but also I am quite emotional tonight,” Dion said. “We have something in common, because you are feeling pretty awesome tonight. All of us here onstage are feeling pretty awesome as well.

“On behalf of my extended family, we are very excited to be here tonight because this is home away from home.”

Dion recalled opening “A New Day…” in March 2003.

“This is our final show in this beautiful Colosseum, and it’s kind of strange. When they started to put it together I was oof, I don’t know,” Dion said, to a cascade of cheers. “I thought I misunderstood something, and I was going to be here for three months or something. But it has been 16 incredible years.”

The night started with the video Dion recorded with her family and a collection of Vegas drag performers, along with the requisite Elvis impressionist. The 18-wheeler Dion is driving breaks down, and then an SUV full of drag queens (driven by Dion tribute artist Steven Wayne) stops.

As the crew drives off toward L.A., the camera shows the vehicle’s bumper sticker, “Celine Courage Tour.” And for the woman for whom Caesars built the Colosseum, that’s where the highway leads.

Time after time

Dion thanked her orchestra for all of their time and hard work with an appropriate parting gift. All 30 band members received Boucheron watches, a favorite of the late Rene Angelil, valued at about $6,000 (or about a $180,000 outlay, says the calculator on my Apple Watch), but are really priceless considering the sentiment. A gift well-deserved, believe it.

The AEG split

AEG Presents/Concerts West Co-CEO John Meglen said he is “not happy” with Caesars Entertainment’s decision to close its exclusive booking contract with his company. Since the Colosseum opened in 2003, AEG has served as the venue’s exclusive promoter and booking partner, but Caesars has a new deal with Live Nation that takes effect just as the Colosseum closes for renovations in July.

During a podcast interview in May with veteran rock-music journalist Bob Lefsetz, the host asked Meglen why his company had decided not to renew its deal at the Colosseum.

“It wasn’t necessarily that we didn’t decide,” Meglen said. “One, there was some miscommunication between our organization being involved in the arena (T-Mobile), and that had something to do with us operating the Colosseum. But at the end of the day, you know, they picked their horse, after all these years. I don’t know why. We’re not happy about it.”

AEG and MGM Resorts International are business partners in T-Mobile Arena, but Live Nation also books many touring shows in the facility. The move by Caesars Entertainment to partner with Live Nation exclusively does strengthen that company’s hold on Strip residency headliners. Live Nation and Caesars are also in an exclusive booking partnership at Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood, and Live Nation is also the partner in most residencies at Park Theater at Park MGM — including Lady Gaga and Bruno Mars.

Comedic interlude

For much of Dion’s run at the Colosseum, George Wallace has been ready to fill in for 15 or so minutes if she is running late. He’s actually appeared, unbilled, a few times over the years. He was onstage Friday and again in Saturday night’s finale to warm up the crowd.

“It’s an honor to be with her,” Wallace says, “and it’s a great international audience.”

Wallace continues to headline at Westgate Cabaret, where the offer for Dion to return the favor is always open.

Scene of Shania

We’re still anticipating the formal announcement of Shania Twain headlining one of Caesars Entertainment’s resident headliner venues, either Zappos Theater or the Colosseum. Twain, who was in the audience at Saturday night’s show, originally headlined the Colosseum starting in 2012. At the time, the booking strategy was to pull from the thousands of Canadian contacts the hotel has developed as a result of ticket orders for Celine’s shows.

As Meglen said when Twain was originally booked, “Just using that alone is usually something that will help in the success of the show.” The series “Still The One” ran for 105 performances, through December 2014.

The lost three

AEG Live’s news release wrap of the finale late Saturday night listed Dion’s total number of shows at 1,141. Earlier this week, AEG Live Senior President John Nelson recited the number as 1,144 (that was the number originally cited in the headline of this column).

Both numbers are correct. Dion headlined 1,141 ticketed shows at the Colosseum, the number used by AEG Live PR. She also performed three benefit shows at the Colosseum that were not ticketed, but do count in the final number of every show she performed at Caesars.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Entertainment Videos
Bellagio Conservatory unveils Italian summer exhibit
The Bellagio's Conservatory & Botanical Gardens have opened the gates to its summer display. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
A.D. Hopkins on his debut novel
Veteran journalist introduces readers to “The Boys Who Woke Up Early.” (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Seven Magic Mountains restoration complete
Artist Ugo Rondinone’s iconic Seven Magic Mountains receives a complete painting restoration in June 2019.
Making Bread Pudding French Toast at Esther’s Kitchen in Las Vegas
James Trees, chef/owner of Esther’s Kitchen in Las Vegas, slices house-made blueberry bread pudding, coats it in egg yolks and mascarpone, fries it and tops it with spiced walnuts, Lyle’s Golden Syrup and creme fraiche. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Celine Dion closes 1,141-show residency on Las Vegas Strip - VIDEO
Hear from Celine Dion about her 16 years on the Las Vegas Strip and what the future has in store for her. (Caesars Entertainment)
Lobster grilled cheese at Big Sur Oyster Bar
The hugely popular lobster grilled cheese at Big Sur Oyster Bar at the South Point in Las Vegas is made with white cheddar and served on sourdough. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
You can dine out with your dog in Las Vegas
Lazy Dog, among Las Vegas restaurants that allow dogs, is probably the most accommodating, with free bowls of water and a doggy menu. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sparrow + Wolf at Vetri Cucina in Las Vegas
Marc Vetri will launch a new collaborative chef series June 18, with a little help from Sparrow + Wolf’s Brian Howard. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
10 best things to do at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge
10 best things to do at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Disneyland (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run at Disneyland - VIDEO
What it's like to ride the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run At Disneyland (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ada’s opens at Tivoli Village in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Ada’s, from James Trees, owner of Esther’s Kitchen in Las Vegas’ Arts District, brings Tivoli Village a similar menu of seasonal, artisanal pastas, pizzas — and ice cream. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
Nutella French Toast at Cafe Americano in Las Vegas
Harold Norris, executive chef at Cafe Americano at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, coats brioche in cinnamon and chocolate and layers it with Nutella and bananas. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Heavier traffic expected from EDC festival attendees
Electric Daisy Carnival attendees began to vacate the Las Vegas Motor Speedway starting before 5 a.m., the majority heading south on Interstate 15.
What it's like to skip the lines and fly by helicopter to EDC
What it's like to skip the lines and fly by helicopter to EDC. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
DJ Steve Aoki visits Las Vegas comic book store
DJ Steve Aoki visits Torpedo Comics in Las Vegas Friday, May 17, 2019, for a signing for his new comic book series "Neon Future." (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas Smith & Wollensky opens at The Venetian
After 18 years, the Smith & Wollensky location on Las Vegas’ south Strip closed in 2017, to be re-born two years later with a rib-cutting — instead of a ribbon-cutting — in The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
Colin Cantwell, Creator Of Iconic Star Wars Ships Visits Vegas
Colin Cantwell, who created and designed such "Star Wars" ships as the X-Wing fighter, and Death Star, met fans at Rogue Toys in Las Vegas today. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Beauty & Essex in Las Vegas makes an EDC Wonder Wheel
In honor of the Electric Daisy Carnival, Beauty & Essex at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas makes its Wonder Wheel party-worthy. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Giada talks Vegas Uncork’d
Giada De Laurentiis talks during Aperitivo Hour, a Vegas Uncork'd event, at her Caesars Palace restaurant, Pronto, May 10, 2019. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Scenes from Vegas Uncork’d 2019 on the Las Vegas Strip
The 13th edition of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit brought four days of food, wine, celebrity chefs and parties to town, May 9-12. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Three ingredients Gordon Ramsay can’t live without
Bon Appetit's Andy Baraghani interviews the "Hell's Kitchen" chef during a Vegas Uncork'd event at Caesars Palace, May 11, 2019. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas Uncork’d launches wiith bubbles and a blade
Dozens of chefs representing some of the Strip’s top restaurants gathered Thursday at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas to launch the 2019 edition of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bunky the Clown at the clown convention
Bob "Bunky the Clown" Gretton talks about his life as a clown and the Clown Convention which was in Las Vegas at Texas Station this week. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Frying soft-shell crab at Lola’s in Las Vegas
At Lola’s: A Louisiana Kitchen in Las Vegas, soft-shell crab is breaded and fried and served either as an appetizer, po’boy or platter. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
The Stove in Henderson makes Pecan Pie Pancakes
At The Stove in Henderson, chef/partner Antonio Nunez stacks buttermilk pancakes with pecans and dulce de leche and tops them pie crust crumbs. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vinnie Paul remembered at Count's Vamp'd
The late rocker's favorite table at one of his favorite clubs in Las Vegas. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
4DX movie experience at Red Rock
4DX movie experience during a demo reel at Red Rock. (Christopher Lawrence/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
What To Do On May The 4th
There are plenty of events going on May the 4th this year around Las Vegas. Celebrate Star Wars and Comic Book Day all at once. The Rogue Toys, the 501st, Rebel Legion and Millennium Fandom Bar are all hosting fun events to help celebrate your geek-dom. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Water Sports Introduces New Attraction At Lake Las Vegas
Las Vegas Water Sports will debut its new aqua park attraction at Lake Las Vegas Days this weekend. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Making the Space Invader at Greene St. Kitchen in Las Vegas
Lysa Huerta, pastry cook at Greene St. Kitchen at the Palms in Las Vegas, starts with angel food cake, Fruity Pebbles ice cream and strawberry sorbet to create a space creature engulfed in flashing lights and swirling mists. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)