WATCH: Celine Dion's tribute to late husband, first concert since his death
MANILA, Philippines – Celine Dion paid tribute to her late husband, Rene Angelil, on Wednesday, February 24, during her first concert since his death. (READ: Celine Dion's husband, manager Rene Angelil dies)
Celine performed at The Colosseum at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, where she has a residency – one she took a break from in August 2014 to care for Rene, who was suffering from throat cancer.
It was Rene, though, who insisted that Celine begin performing again, a year later. "I didn't want to be here at first, I don't need it. Don't get me wrong, I love singing for people, but I have priorities," Celine told USA Today.
Rene was more than supportive of Celine's career, as he was not only her husband, but also her manager for 30 years, until he stepped down from the position in June 2014 because of his cancer.
He died in January at 73 years old, and was mourned by Celine, their 3 sons, and Celine's fans from all over the world.
On the 24th, the tribute started with a few photos Rene and Celine's time together, prefaced with a quote from Celine that read, "I understood that my career was in a way his masterpiece, his song, his symphony. 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 quote is the same one that was written on the back of the memorial cards that were given out to fans at Rene's funeral. Rene's funeral was held at Montreal's Notre Dame Basilica, where the two were married 1994, and was streamed live for fans who wanted to pay their respects as well.
At the Colosseum, Celine then started singing an emotional rendition of Barbra Streisand's "With One More Look at You," with tears streaming down her face by the end of the song.
After she composed herself, Celine gave a short speech about Rene, how her life has changed since he left, and how she still feels he is with her now.
"Through my life, I only had eyes for my husband, who sat out here night after night," said Celine. "People thought that I was looking at him, actually. But I did not, I didn't need to, because every time I closed my eyes, I felt Rene on stage with me, whether he was seated at his seat right there, in the balcony, backstage, or at home with the kids, he's always been onstage with me. And nothing will ever change that."
In Celine's tribute, she spoke about how he was, not just as her husband, but also as her manager.
"You know Rene always surrounded me with the very best people possible. I trusted him so much that I never really had the chance to worry about anything. Now, I guess it is only a natural impulse to constantly question myself: Would he let the kids play with these toys? Is this song too fast? Is this song too slow? Don't talk too much? It is pretty amazing that since he is not physically no longer with me he is even more present.
"Rene was my very best critic, he never told me what I wanted to hear. He told me what I needed to hear. You know, night after night, on our way back home from the show, when he was so silent I could sense that he was trying to know how to approach me without hurting my artistic feeling. But there were things that he had to tell me for my own growth."
Rene was 26 years older than Celine, and Celine began dating him when she was 19. In an interview before Rene's death with USA Today, she called Rene "the only boyfriend I've ever had" and "the leader of the band all my life."
Celine continued during her tribute: "Rene is the only man that I have known all my life. He always made me feel that we were were on our first date. Isn't that amazing? Never talking bluntly and always impressing himself in a soft and gently way. We were one. And nothing has changed. We will always be one.
"You know I might not hear his voice yet, but I talk to him, I think of him all the time. I feel, and I know, he hears me. One way or another, I know he will give me a sign for his approval, or not. And now I can feel that he's telling me to zip it. And start singing," joked Celine, to the audience's laughter.
Celine, who hails from Quebec, Canada, said a few words in French, before launching into her song, "Where Does My Heart Beat Now?"
Celine and Rene had 3 sons together, namely, René-Charles Angelil, and twins Eddy and Nelson. – Rappler.com