It's the fourth standing ovation of the evening, as Celine Dion soars through another of her signature hits. The reverent audience inside Las Vegas' Colosseum at Caesars Palace—many of whom have planned their entire vacations around these 90 minutes—appears to be in awe.
And even though she has lived this moment for some 700 nights since launching her "A New Day" residency at the resort in March 2003, Dion still appears stunned by the reception. She looks studiously upon the 4,000 fans, bows gracefully, then raises her arm to share the moment with the troupe of 70 dancers and musicians who fill the stage with her.
"A New Day" is credited with helping catapult the town's reputation as a destination for A-level talent. She has sold 3 million tickets there, according to Billboard Boxscore—and grossed $370.4 million through mid-September 2007.
But come Dec. 15, Dion will have left the building.
"People were still questioning us after one week, two months, the first year," Dion says. "Now we can say we've changed something. It's hard to leave behind, because we started a family with everyone involved in the show. But it's time for something else."
Enter "Taking Chances," Dion's first English-language album in three years. Due Nov. 13 via Columbia, the set signals a sonic left turn for Dion. In a career often trademarked by hits that soar, the AC immortal here more often roars, accompanied by an abundance of guitars and an overall tempo that is brisker, with a deliberate rock tint.
Dion collaborated with a number of producers new to her stable, including Ne-Yo, Ben Moody, Linda Perry, Emanuel Kiriakou and Tricky (see story, page 29), along with stalwarts John Shanks, Kara DioGuardi, Kristian Lundin, Anders Bagge, Peer Astrom, Aldo Nova and Chris Neil.
Now, Dion is ready to show the world how she has grown—as a singer, an entertainer and a woman. "It's not a new Celine," she says. "There was no deliberate plan after five years to do something else. But I'm like everyone. I'm 39 now. I don't look like I did 10 years ago, I dress differently—and I don't sing the same. I have more edge and felt like doing something different."
Still, Dion has been away for a while, and there's no doubt it took some adjusting on the part of her label when it came to her change in musical direction. But so far, radio looks to be along for the ride.
Click here to read more on Dion's upcoming album "Taking Chances," her new sound and recording process, Sony BMG's campaign behind the record, and much more.