Singer Celine Dion made her return to the Las Vegas stage on Tuesday, her first appearance at Caesars Palace since the death of her husband and manager, Rene Angelil.
The show wasted no time in offering tribute to Angelil, with an opening video that showed scenes from the man’s life, including his marriage to Celine and his involvement with the couple’s three children: 15-year-old Rene-Charles and 5-year-old twins Nelson and Eddy.
Dion offered up her own quote in the video, saying that she was returning to the stage to honor her late husband.
“I understand that my career was in a way his masterpiece, his song, his symphony,” the quote read. “The idea of leaving it unfinished would have hurt him terribly. I realized that if he ever left us, I would have to continue without him, for him.”
The opening 20 minutes of the show can be viewed in a video on CelineDion.com.
Dion received the first of many standing ovations as she took the stage and opened the show with a performance of ‘With One More Look at You/Watch Closely Now,’ receiving a second standing ovation as the songs transitioned.
The crowd rose again after the end of the opening number and Dion emotionally addressed the audience.
“Through my life, I only had highs from my husband, who sat out here night after night,” she told the crowd. “People thought that I was looking at him, but I didn’t need to. Because every time I closed my eyes, I felt René on stage with me, whether he was seated in his seat right there, in the balcony, backstage, or at home with the kids.”
“He’s always been onstage with me,” Celine added, “and nothing will ever change that.”
An especially emotional moment came while Dion was performing her hit, ‘All by Myself.’ She became overwhelmed in the middle of the song and had to stop, as the crowd offered her encouragement to continue.
Dion closed the show with ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow.’
“This was the most difficult show I’ve done in my whole life, and I thank you very much,” she told the crowd.
Tuesday’s performance was her 966th in The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, according to the LA Times.