A five-year residency in Las Vegas and an unusually long lead-time between onsales and play dates seem to have had zero impact on demand for Celine Dion's upcoming Taking Chances world tour, which begins Feb. 14 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Dion grossed a staggering $385 million at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in
Las Vegas, drawing nearly 3 million people to 717 shows that concluded Dec.

The Colosseum stand was a collaboration between Dion and her husband/manager Rene Angelil, AEG Live touring arm Concerts West and its co-president John Meglen, and Caesars.

Largely driven by Dion's performances, the Colosseum has been the top-grossing venue of its size since it opened in 2003.

Concerts West is promoting the more-than 70 Taking Chances shows in North
America, partnering with such Live Nation promoters as Rick Franks in Detroit, Dave Marsden in Boston, and Jeff Trisler in Seattle, as well as the late Jon Stoll's Fantasma Productions in Florida.

"Sales are fabulous, grosses are through the roof already," Meglen tells Billboard.biz. "We've put up 37 shows in the U.S., and we're already over $50 million gross. In Canada we have 12 shows on sale and we're over $26.5 million there."

Dion is particularly hot in her home country of Canada in general and her native province of Montreal in particular. "Canada is off the charts in terms of ticket sales," says Dion's longtime agent Rob Prinz of United Talent. "We've sold out six Montreals already and we might end up with 10 or 12. There's a huge demand there and I don't know when it's going to end."

Adds Jacques Aubé, VP/director general for Gillett Entertainment Group, promoter of the shows at Bell Centre, "It's fantastic, hometown girl coming back after five years in Vegas. Six sold-out shows, 120,000 tickets in less than two hours. It's a Bell Centre record, that's for sure."

The long lead-time, more than a year in some cases, was geared to coordinate onsales with Dion's high media profile surrounding the release of her album last fall. The globe-spanning trek begins with a February run through South Africa starting on Valentine's Day at the Coca-Cola Dome in Johannesburg.

Stops include Dubai, Japan, Korea, Australia, the U.K. and Europe through the spring (including six nights at Palais Omnisports-Bercy in Paris in May), with the tour landing on North American shores Aug. 12 at TD Banknorth Arena in Boston.