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July 25, 2014

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Celine Dion’s show: Hollywood vs. her hits; plus, is Shania Twain waiting in the wings?

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Gerard Schachmes

Celine Dion rehearses at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace on March 12, 2011.

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Celine Dion Arrives at Caesars Palace

Celine Dion's arrival at Caesars Palace on Feb. 16, 2011. Launch slideshow »

Celine Dion Welcome Back Marquees

Marquees on The Strip welcome back Celine Dion to Las Vegas on Feb. 16, 2011. Launch slideshow »
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Shania Twain and Frederic Thiebaud.

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Celine Dion rehearses at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace on March 12, 2011.

Celine Dion’s new show at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, which has is gala premiere tonight, was originally planned as a total salute to Hollywood movie theme songs, but last summer, Celine and her team of show designer Yves Aucoin, sound engineer Denis Savage and conductor Claude Lemay all agreed that the plan wasn’t working, so the focus shifted to her performing her hits. As Yves said: “The singer sings real words, and the musicians play real instruments and continuously.”

Yes, there is a tip of the hat to the great James Bond songs and Michael Jackson’s talents, but now it’s far more of Celine’s hits that have sold more than 200 million albums worldwide and won her numerous awards, including bestselling female artist of all time.

“This is now the songs the fans want and the show they expect,” John Meglen, president of AEG, the producers of Celine’s show, told me after Saturday’s final dress rehearsal. “The first show we presented was a collaborative -- part Franco Dragone -- but this is all Celine, 100 percent. She has transcended the level of superstar and moved on to become legendary.”

“The show is elegant, sophisticated, classy and glamorous, yet also fun. Everybody is having a great time up there on the stage. For Celine, it’s her time to party after a day of playing Mom. The spotlight is on her and her music the entire time. She takes over this humongous stage and makes it feel as if she’s in your living room. This show is solely about her and her incredible vocal talent and music genius. Celine is the best she’s ever been. That voice reaches all the great and good emotions. There is no other like it, and when you cry, it’s a feel good experience.

“Nobody in this team is a prima donna. Everybody listens to each other, so it’s the best that can be brought to her fans. Celine has also brought incredible stamina and discipline to the production. She has a work ethic about her vocal chords, her family and raising children all at the same time, which I haven’t seen with any other artist. She had huge input into this show. It’s what she wanted, and now you understand why she and Rene (Angelil) are thrilled the way it has all turned out.”

Director Ken Ehrlich added: “In A New Day, she didn’t have the opportunity to prove just what she’s capable of in terms of greatness. It’s always been there, and now you’re seeing that amazing vocal instrument of hers in its beautiful, natural, pure state. We all want what she wants in that everyone will leave the theater each night saying it’s the best show they’ve ever seen or will ever see.”

I pushed John on the subject of Celine performing longer than the current three-year deal. He admitted that there have already been discussions. “If everything goes well for Celine and Rene and we’re just as happy, we have an understanding to continue. It could well go to the five years, and we may hear about that right after the opening night,” he laughed.

He also confirmed our exclusive story posted several months ago that another Canadian superstar, Shania Twain, was considering the details of a concert run at Caesars, headlining when Celine is on a break. “Those talks are ongoing,” John said.

Celine has admitted that she wanted to give up singing after the birth of her first child, Rene-Charles, 10 years ago. Today, she says she can be both mother and performer. She told USA Today’s Marco Della Cava: “Performing as a mom is what I enjoy most. Music is a part of me, but now I don’t have to choose between the two. I do what I love. I don’t need to perform, but I love to do it. I know I’m not going to be able to sing like this forever, but as long as I can, I will -- like wine that’s gotten better with age. I’m sure my fans will let me know when they’ve had enough!”

Celine sounds heavenly and looks just as stunning onstage, whether simply standing still or slinking across it in designer, thigh-high-slit gowns. There will be standing ovations and curtain calls at tonight’s premiere. After the show, she’ll tend to her two twin baby boys Eddy and Nelson, change and then return within 90 minutes to hold a news conference with media from all over the world. VegasDeLuxe.com will have a report tomorrow.

More than 2,200 of the guests for Celine’s final dress rehearsal Saturday were doctors, caregivers, volunteers and donors of Keep Memory Alive that funds the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. Celine graciously thanked all of them for their contributions and work in their research, prevention and early detection fight against Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and ALS Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Among the VIPs on Saturday: New Wynn/Encore President Marilyn Winn, The Venetian President Rob Goldstein and MGM Hospitality President Gamil Aziz.

KMA founder Larry Ruvo hosted a small dinner party before the show in nearby Spago, where he announced that Larry King would be filming the work of the brain clinic for a new CNN global TV special. “It was here 15 years ago, we had a handful of people commit to a dream that has now come true. It’s so gracious of Celine to support our goals by dedicating her show to Keep Memory Alive. We really do welcome her back to Las Vegas.”

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.

Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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