After living and crooning for years in Las Vegas, French-Canadian superstar Celine Dion returned home to Quebec on Wednesday to kick off her first world tour in a decade.
At 51, the Grammy winner also recently announced the release of a new album entitled “Courage,” which will be her 12th in English and is due out on November 15.
The first single “Flying On My Own,” featuring her powerful vocals backed by techno beats, has already received airplay, while three more dropped Wednesday: “Courage,” “Lying Down” and “Imperfections.”
Known for her blockbuster ballads, Dion said in April that she felt motivated to create new music and hit the road after the 2016 death of her husband and manager Rene Angelil.
“When I lost Rene, he wanted me back on stage. He wanted to make sure I was still practicing my passion,” she said. “I wanted to prove to him that I’m fine, we’re fine, we’re going to be OK. I’ve got this.”
So, after more than 1,140 concerts for 4.5 million fans over 16 years in Sin City, she bid adieu to the Colosseum at Caesars Palace with a final two-hour show.
“Courage is exactly the way I feel,” she told public broadcaster CBC at the time, talking up the upcoming tour of the same name.
“In the past three years, it has been difficult for me to talk to my children, to raise them, to lose my husband, wondering am I going to sing again… so much has happened, but at the same time I feel that I’m in control of my life.”
Some 60 dates in North America have been confirmed so far, her label said, with two arena shows in Quebec City on Wednesday and Saturday kicking off the tour, which will run through April 2020. Dates elsewhere in the world are still being firmed up.
During her Las Vegas residency, the diva went on a few short regional tours, mostly in Europe and Asia, but her last worldwide tour was in 2008-2009.
“Courage” marks the first album and tour in Dion’s long career without Angelil, who steered her success beginning in 1981 when he mortgaged his house to finance the young teen’s debut album.
The pair began a personal relationship in 1988 when she was only 19 years old, and married in a lavish ceremony in 1994. Angelil died of throat cancer at age 73.
In an interview with NBC’s Today show, Dion revealed that she longs for the hugs and laughs that come with a relationship, but added, “I’m not ready to date.”
The youngest of a family of 14 children raised in the suburbs of Montreal, Dion has sold 250 million copies of 23 studio albums in English and French, including collaborations with French singer-songwriter Jean-Jacques Goldman, Barbra Streisand and Stevie Wonder.
Back in Canada, she told the Montreal Gazette that the tour schedule was “a little crazy,” but that she had found time in advance to take in life’s small pleasures.
“Even though it’s raining today here, it’s wonderful to see some rain because I live in (dry) Vegas so rain is beautiful,” she commented. “And the trees are just about to change colour. We’ve had two corn-on-the-cob parties with the family.”
At a press junket last Friday, Dion was described as jocular, flamboyant, effervescent, and as always, speaking her mind.
She told Radio-Canada she hoped for “a good show and a great album that will please everyone.”
“There are good wines that age well, and there are good wines that age badly. I hope to be a good bottle of wine. I would like that, age well. I would like that,” she said.
“I’m not a new Celine,” Dion added. “I’m a continuity of myself.”