For the first time in a decade, Celine Dion is heading out on a U.S. tour, leaving behind her longstanding residency in Las Vegas after 16 years. “I think there was a miscommunication. I was supposed to be there for two months,” Dion joked to a crowd gathered Wednesday for her announcement at the Theatre at the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles. “We kept going on and on and on and on.”
Dion arrived for the afternoon event ready to sing, leading her band in a sparkly black dress through a three-song concert that began with the uptempo “I’m Alive.” The performance and most of an onstage Q&A were streamed on Facebook Live. “Lots of news, lots of work,” she said, then deadpanned. “No, I’m not pregnant, don’t worry.”
In-between songs at the old Gothic theater, the Canadian diva was a chatty and playful host, making goofy asides to the 1,000 fans inside, while also sharing some poignant reflections on her life and work.
“I think it’s time for a change, time to hit the road,” Dion, 51, said to cheers. “So many people came to see us, and now it is time for us to go and see them.”
The Courage World Tour begins with a North American leg launching Sept. 18th in Quebec City, Canada. She said it is named after a song from her upcoming album, still in-progress for a likely November release, and reflects on her life following the death of her husband and manager, René Angélil, in 2016.
“We all go through a lot of things in life – whether it’s losing someone, whether it’s a sickness that we have to fight, something that life imposes on us,” Dion explained, adding that with the support of family and colleagues, she was able “to find my inner strength … to find courage to keep going.”
It was her husband, near the end of his life, she added, who encouraged the singer to continue performing: “He wanted me back onstage. He wanted to make sure I was still practicing my passion.”
In a video that opened the event on Wednesday, Dion was shown putting on a cap that read “BOSS” in shiny letters as she took the wheel of a large cargo truck and pulled away from The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, where she ends her residency in June. “The biggest news is that I will be driving the truck on tour,” the hitmaker said from the stage. “Have you seen how I drive? In the past, I used to drive people crazy. Now, just get out of the way, would you?”
Her quirkier moments at the Ace showed a sense of the absurdity that may explains her being asked to sing “Ashes” for the crazed superhero farce Deadpool 2. Before performing the song, she told a story of getting a call from actor Ryan Reynolds about the film. “Of course, he wants me to play in the movie with him. I know what he wants. Then I woke up from my little dream,” Dion said, returning to reality of recording the track. “I love it so much. It’s such a beautiful song.”
Soon after “Ashes,” backup singer Elise Duguay played a hugely familiar flute melody and Dion began “My Heart Will Go On,” her Oscar-winning love theme from 1997’s Titanic. “Are you going to sing along to this one?” she asked. When it was over, she curtsied all the way down to the floor and thanked the crowd in French: “Merci beaucoup!”
The new album, she said, would include an appearance by Sia, among an abundance of material being considered for the final release. “I feel her pain and her passion, and I connect with her music,” Dion said of the Australian singer.
“They always say you need 12 songs,” Dion lamented of the typical album length, explaining that she had already accumulated 48 song contenders. “I’m more than ready. The problem is that I’m too ready. The problem is I can’t make up my mind.”