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Dion takes "Chances" with harder sound as "Day" ends

Updated: 2007-10-08 16:31
(Agencies)

Dion takes

NEW YORK - It's the fourth standing ovation of the evening as Celine Dion soars through another of her signature hits. The reverent audience at Las Vegas' Colosseum at Caesars Palace -- many of whom have planned their vacations around these 90 minutes -- appears to be in awe.

She has lived this moment for some 700 nights since launching her "A New Day" residency at the resort in March 2003, but Dion still appears stunned by the reception. She bows gracefully before the 4,000 fans, then raises her arm to share the moment with the troupe of 70 dancers and musicians who fill the stage with her.

"A New Day" is credited with helping catapult Las Vegas' reputation as a destination for A-level talent. Dion has sold 3 million tickets there, according to Billboard Boxscore -- and grossed $370.4 million through mid-September 2007.

But come December 15, Dion will have left the building.

"Five years ago, I had done it all. I needed a new challenge," Dion says. "I wanted to offer my fans something more theatrical and spectacular than anything we'd done before. I never felt I had anything to lose."

She consistently filled 4,000 seats five nights per week at the Colosseum, a $95 million theater custom-built for the show. Billboard Boxscore ranked the AEG Live residency among the top five grossing concerts worldwide each year.

But at first not everyone had high hopes for the undertaking, she recalls. "People were still questioning us after one week, two months, the first year," Dion says. "Now we can say we've changed something. It's hard to leave behind, because we started a family with everyone involved in the show. But it's time for something else."

ROCKING OUT

Enter "Taking Chances," her first English-language album in three years. Due November 13 via Columbia, the set signals a sonic left turn for Dion. In a 25-year career often trademarked by hits that soar, the adult-contemporary immortal here more often roars, accompanied by an abundance of guitars and a tempo that's brisker, with a deliberate rock tint.

"It's not a new Celine," she says. "There was no deliberate plan after five years to do something else. But I'm like everyone. I'm 39 now. I don't look like I did 10 years ago, I dress differently -- and I don't sing the same. I have more edge and felt like doing something different."

Dion offers a candid view of her perceived reputation, suggesting that as she was building her career, perhaps she was steered in a direction that kept her stylistically staid.

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