BRAND NEW ON E!
Her heart may go on and on, but her show has, at long last, come to an end.
Celine Dion's A New Day... ended its nearly five-year, 717-show run in Las Vegas Saturday night with an emotional farewell performance, given to a sold-out crowd of 4,100 well-wishers, among them Dion's husband René Angélil and her seven-year-old son René-Charles.
The two-hour show was punctuated with by several emotional yet intentionally non-teary speeches by Dion, expressing her gratitude to fans for coming to her show at Caesar's Palace Colosseum, created specifically for her debut on March 25, 2003, and to her family for their support in her Sin City endeavor.
Her only tears of the night came followed her encore of "My Heart Will Go On."
"It's quite hard to believe that we've come to an end," she said. "It's a pleasure to perform for you...it was a wonderful adventure. It was an emotional night. It was a wonderful adventure."
Dion also told the capacity crowd that she was "extremely in shock that, night after night, week after week, year after year, you came, you were here."
In a post-show news conference, Dion said making it to the final performance was extremely important to the consummate professional, who devoted blood (a viral infection in October, the highly contagious mycoplasma bronchitis last November and the rare ear infection labyrinthitis in May 2006), sweat (a Cirque de Soleil-themed show performed nightly on a 5.7-degree angled stage) and tears (she persevered through a performance even on the day her father passed away in 2003) to the stage show, all of which made her feel, "at one point, like the Titanic was going to sink again."
"But we believed and we went on with it."
Dion reminisced about the inception of the stage show during the final performance, telling the audience that many industry heavyweights initially balked at the idea of taking up a residency.
She also told the crowd, just a fraction of the three million people who are estimated to have seen the show during the course of its run, that the nightly spectacle was almost called off due to her budding pregnancy, back in 2000 when the both the show and René-Charles were first being conceived, and bad reviews.
"The vibe was not that positive for us," she said in a pre-show video. Of her coinciding pregnancy, she added, "I had a life for the first time. I knew then that I wanted to have more success as a mother than a singer."
She says the sacrifice paid off in the end.
"Most of us have left our families behind to give ourselves every night. I can assure you it was worth it.
"Tonight I was emotionally invaded," she said. "It was very important for me to pace myself and try not to cry."
The crowd, however, did not abide by the same rules.
Nearly every song sung by Dion Saturday resulted in a standing ovation, with the final curtain call enduring through 10 straight minutes of applause and cheers. The concert's end, for which René-Charles walked on stage to hand flowers to his Grammy-winning mother, culminated in a shower of red rose petals raining down on the stage.
For those unable to make the trek out to see the show at Caesar's Palace, in the $95 million theater the hotel-casino built specially for Dion, the singer's final performance will be screened in roughly 200 movie theaters across the country later today, courtesy of Fathom Events.
All told, the show has grossed more than $400 million during its run. Dion's departure from Caesar's, however, paves the way for Bette Midler to begin a residency of her own on Feb. 20, with The Showgirl Must Go On.
Dion, meanwhile, won't have long to reminisce about her run. She kicks off a 96-date world tour in support of her new album, Taking Chances, in Johannesburg on Feb. 14.