Celine Dion may have said goodbye to Las Vegas last year, but the "Taking Chances" tour -- her first world tour in more than eight years -- reveals just how much the city has rubbed off on her.

Celine Dion may have said goodbye to Las Vegas last year, but the "Taking Chances" tour -- her first world tour in more than eight years -- reveals just how much the city has rubbed off on her. She wasn't lying at a recent press conference when she promised dancers (“the first on tour with me in a long time”): male and female dancers, in an ever-changing array of costumes, filtered around the singer and her band.

Her first-ever show in South Africa may not have ultimately succeeded in presenting her as a multi-faceted performer, but it definitely confirmed that Dion is a singer of unparalleled ability. Performing in a stadium that ordinarily holds rugby fans and flanked by two huge screens, Dion used her astonishing voice to captivate the near-capacity crowd. The summer night was balmy but she didn’t break a sweat delivering takes of favorites "I Drove All Night," "I’m Alive" and the title track to her recent album, "Taking Chances," with clarity and, at times, aching beauty. And judging by the audience's rapturous response, it is no wonder Dion is the country’s top-selling international artist.

The spectacle was directed and choreographed by Jamie King, who has worked with Madonna and the Spice Girls. The 90 minute-plus show pivots around themes from her early years in the opening sequence, and then ‘rock,' 'passion,' 'fashionista' and 'soul.' Additionally, the singer’s multiple costume changes, the lighting and -- of course -- the dancing all feed into the projection of Celine as a multi-faceted artist, able to move through varying musical elements with ease.

...Except when she doesn't: there were a few missteps. The mid-show Queen tribute, which includes "We Will Rock You" and "The Show Must Go On" performed in front of a montage of shots of the UK act, is supposed to lift momentum after a gooseflesh-raising performance of "Pour Que Tu M'aimes." Instead, it ends up feeling misplaced and awkward. Dion herself made no reference to why the tribute was included in the show.

Additionally, a selection of soul offerings during another part of the set effectively shows off backing singer Barnd val Saint’s vocal ability, but a section that features "That’s Just the Woman in Me" and "It’s a Man’s World" among dancers doing sexy moves just doesn’t fit the sure-voiced adult contemporary singer.

In the end, Dion got to the essence of what she’s does best: standing alone on the stage, she delivered a mesmerizing take of "My Heart Will Go On." Any awkward moments from earlier in the evening were forgotten.


Set List

I Drove All Night
I Got the Music in Me
Power of Love
Talks
Taking Chances
It's All Coming Back to Me
Because You Loved Me
To Love You More
Eyes on Me
All by Myself
I'm Alive
Shadow of Love
Just Fade Away
I'm Your Angel
Alone
Talk
Pour Que Tu M'aimes Encore
Think Twice
We Will Rock You
Show Must Go On
I've Got the Feelings
It's a Man's World
That's Just the Woman in Me
Love Can Move Mountain
River Deep Mountain High
My Heart Will Go On