Celine Dion made her triumphant return to the Las Vegas stage on Tuesday, after putting her Caesars Palace residency on hold to mourn the loss of her late husband and manager, René Angélil.
The show opened with a touching video tribute to Angelil’s life, including his marriage to Celine and the couple’s three children, 15-year-old René-Charles and 5-year-old twins Nelson and Eddy. The tribute video also included a quote from Celine about continuing to perform after her husband’s death.
"I understand that my career was in a way his masterpiece, his song, his symphony,” the quote read. “The idea of leaving it unfinished would have hurt him terribly. I realized that if he ever left us, I would have to continue without him, for him."
After the video, Celine took the stage solo to a standing ovation, looking elegant in a black sequined gown. She opened the show with a performance of “With One More Look at You/Watch Closely Now” from A Star Is Born, receiving another standing ovation during the song’s transition, as she sang the lines, “I want one more look at you / Are you watching me now? / Watch closely now.”
The singer grew emotional after the opening number, receiving yet another standing ovation as she thanked the audience for their support.
“Through my life, I only had highs from my husband, who sat out here night after night,” she told the crowd. “People thought that I was looking at him, but I didn’t need to. Because every time I closed my eyes, I felt René on stage with me, whether he was seated in his seat right there, in the balcony, backstage, or at home with the kids.”
“He’s always been onstage with me,” Celine added, “and nothing will ever change that.”
The singer credited her husband and manager, who began representing the singer in 1981, with surrounding her with “the very best people” throughout her career and being her “very best critic.”
“It is pretty amazing that since he’s physically no longer with me, he is even more present,” she marveled. “We were one, and nothing has changed. We will always be one.”
The singer then went “all the way back in time,” launching into her very first U.S. single, “Where Does My Heart Beat Now.” During the show, Celine even walked down the aisle of the theater and snapped mid-song selfies with the throngs of fans who came out to show their support.
One emotional moment came during the singer’s iconic hit, “All by Myself,” when Celine became overwhelmed with emotion and had to take a moment for herself before finishing the song. At the end of the show, she thanked fans once again for supporting her return to the stage.
“This was the most difficult show I’ve done in my whole life, and I thank you very much,” she told the crowd, before closing the show with “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”