Songbird Uncaged: Celine Dion readies return to Las Vegas stage for 10-date run

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TORONTO — Celine Dion is already putting on a show as she imagines being set free onto concert stages after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Quebec vocal powerhouse has been cooped up for well over a year and with a planned return to Las Vegas for a limited engagement this fall, her trademark energy is vibrating through every sentence.

“I’ve been locked up,” she says matter-of-factly in a media call before switching to the cadence of a town crier.

“I’m gonna get out of this cage,” she shouts. “I’m gonna be performing. You better watch out.”

It’s a promise many of Dion’s fans will certainly welcome after the singer’s “Courage” world tour was frozen in its tracks shortly after she crossed the 50th tour date. Dozens more shows were postponed as the pandemic affected the entire concert industry.

Five Canadian dates are still on the calendar for this summer, and while they have not been officially moved, they’ll likely be pushed a second time.

What’s more certain is that Dion is still making plans. She’s booked herself a curtain call in Vegas, the city that hosted her residency for 16 years until 2019.

Starting on Nov. 5, Dion will play 10 dates at the Resorts World Las Vegas theatre, the first in a stacked calendar of marquee stars that include Carrie Underwood, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan.

Tickets go on sale to the public starting May 24.

Dion said her show will raise the bar on the Vegas entertainment spectacle, but beyond the usual theatrics, she expects performing for a live audience will pack an emotional punch itself.

“There’s nothing better than touch, humanity and being close in the same room,” she said.

“The energy, the sweat, the smell and the feeling of every individual. Nothing can take that away from no one. That’s the best of the best.”

Over the past several months, Dion has been drafting plans for the Vegas shows with a team of creators over Zoom. And while many users of the web conferencing platform are fatigued by workdays spent virtually in tiny video boxes, Dion insists she’s come to love the realness it brings to the table.

“We can see everybody’s hair getting white and everybody being home in the same old T-shirts and like — it’s OK. And that’s the way it should be,” she said.

“You know it’s not time to be a fashionista. No, no, no. Take that time and take that luxury. And Zoom? Thank God we have that.”

Staying home during the pandemic allowed Dion the rare “privilege” of spending more time with her family as they isolated together, she said. They passed the hours with “old-fashioned family fun” — cooking, playing golf, frisbee and swimming in the backyard.

“It was wonderful to be together, live and stay in a kind of a bubble,” she said.

“It was very, very different, but it was amazing. We’re very fortunate because we stayed healthy and together. That’s luxury for all of us.”

David Friend, The Canadian Press