After 16 years, Céline Dion is saying goodbye to Las Vegas — and she’s now flying on her own.
Synonymous with modern-day Las Vegas entertainment, Dion, 51, ended her longstanding residency show on Saturday while debuting a new song, appropriately called “Flying On My Own.”
“I’m supposed to know what to say,” Dion told the 4,298 people gathered in The Colosseum at Caesars Palace. “I am very excited and I am a little bit emotional at the same time. This is our final show in this beautiful Colosseum in Las Vegas. There are lots of wonderful memories, you know, but it’s kind of strange at the same time, because when they started to put it together I was here and it was like, ‘I don’t know.’ Then I must have misunderstood something because I thought I was going to be here for three months or something like this, and here we are 16 years later. Maybe we have saved the best for last.”
The singer also recalled her late husband René Angelil’s love and support throughout her Vegas career.
“I’m both proud and humbled by what we’ve accomplished at the Colosseum since we began 16 years ago when René and I first shared this dream. This entire experience has been a huge part of my show business career, one that I will cherish forever,“ Dion said. “I have so many people to thank, but the most important ‘thank you’ goes to my fans, who gave us the opportunity to do what we love.”
In her last residency show at The Colosseum, known in Las Vegas as “the house that Céline built,” the five-time Grammy winner rumbled through her hits, while also debating “Flying On My Own.”
Of the new song, she said, “I have been waiting for a long, long time for… It’s my brand new song. I have to admit that my knees are shaking right now, I’m very nervous.”
There was no reason for her to be nervous, because on this night she could do no wrong. Her voice as strong as ever, Dion worked through her hits, giving the crowd a taste of her catalog, including “My Heart Will Go On,” “The Power of Love,” and “Because You Loved Me.” Most of the crowd, it seemed, were not first-timers, as they sang along, holding back emotions and fighting back tears just like Dion.
As the show ended, Dion was joined in a final bow with her band. Then, her flower-bearing children — René-Charles, 18, and twins Nelson and Eddy, 8 — appeared. Somehow she kept her emotions in check, blowing kisses to the crowd.
Although her Caesars departure was announced months ago, Dion’s exit hung over Caesars Palace like a thick cloud on Saturday. For most the day, the hotel’s marquee, which hovers over the Las Vegas Strip, showed a picture of Dion from a previous performance. “Thank you for 16 incredible years,” the message read. Upon entering the show, guest received a letter from Dion that thanked her fans for her Las Vegas run.
“Over sixteen years ago, my dear beloved René and I shared a dream and a vision to create the most spectacular show which we could stage in one destination, night after night, with the hopes that people from all around the world would travel to see,” the letter read. “You didn’t disappoint us.”
When Dion first launched her Las Vegas residency at Caesars Palace in March 2003 — then called A New Day — her success on the Las Vegas Strip was no sure thing. Many thought her show would meet a similar fate as the Titanic, a movie that sent her career to another stratosphere.
Not only has Dion been able to sell out her show night in and night out, she’s become the gold standard of Las Vegas residencies, proving that singers such as like Lady Gaga, Gwen Stefani and Bruno Mars — all of whom currently have Vegas residencies — can succeed in the desert oasis at the peak of their popularity.
Between her A New Day show, which ran through 2007, and the Céline show, which began in 2011 and ran through Saturday, Dion has performed 1,144 shows in Vegas for more than four million fans. The show has generated more than $700 million in ticket sales, making Dion by far the most successful and influential residency act to play Las Vegas.
“You’ve been with us throughout this incredible journey and I can’t thank you enough!” the star tweeted on Friday on her penultimate show.
The fact that she’s here is shocking — even to her.
“I honestly didn’t think about how long we’d be here when we first started,” she told Vegas Player, Caesars’ in-room magazine. “I figured a few years, for sure, but I never imagined it being this long.”