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November 15, 2018

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The Colosseum:

Review: Mariah Carey’s premiere at Caesars is a night of triumph

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Denise Truscello / WireImage / DeniseTruscello.net

Opening night of Mariah Carey’s “Mariah #1 to Infinity” at the Colosseum on Wednesday, May 6, 2015, at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

Opening Night of Mariah Carey

Opening night of Mariah Carey’s “Mariah #1 to Infinity” at the Colosseum on Wednesday, May 6, 2015, at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Launch slideshow »

Mariah Carey Arrives at Caesars Palace

Mariah Carey arrives at Caesars Palace on Monday, April 27, 2015, in Las Vegas. Launch slideshow »

Mariah Carey Arrival at Caesars

Mariah Carey arrives at Caesars Palace on Monday, April 27, 2015, in Las Vegas. Launch slideshow »

Multiplatinum global superstar Mariah Carey came to Caesars Palace on Wednesday night and conquered an empire. What a voice, what a stage show, what a great band, what a triumph!

Perfection personified, the Duchess of all Divas was right at home in the footsteps of Colosseum residents past and present Celine Dion, Sir Elton John, Rod Stewart, Bette Midler and Shania Twain.

Mariah’s “Mariah #1 to Infinity” was stunning with old-fashioned Las Vegas glitz and glamour. There are only a handful of stars who are able to pull off this kind of spectacular, and Mariah proved that she is still at the top.

She rocked the Colosseum with her singing. My only worry is how she will keep her voice in shape dealing with our desert dryness over the next 17 shows booked to date in her mini-residency. She performs 18 of her timeless No. 1 hits in chronological order.

That spectacular journey through her life and career has to tax her vocal chords. Mariah closes with her newest hit “Infinity” being performed for the first time live. Her voice is an extraordinary powerhouse.

She dispelled any worries about her losing that angelic gift. It was pitch perfect reaching for the heights with her five-octave span. No question she is the highest-pitched contemporary pop singer of the decade.

At her top end (G 7), she has the sexy rapture of heavenly squeals, while on the low end (F 2), there’s a smoky, sultry sound when she sings South of the Border style to a Latin guitar. I loved the Brazilian bossa nova guitar sound as she sang to the torrid, bare-chested tango dancer’s sensuous writhing.

Kudos to musical director “Big Jim” James Wright, who leads the solid band with Daniel Moore and Derrieux Edgecombe on keys, Lance Tolbert on bass, Josh Baker on drums and Tim Stewart on guitar. They are a powerful force in their own right.

Mariah’s three backup vocalists — all of whom share the solo spotlight with her — are Trey Lorenz, Maryann Tatum and Takeytha Johnson. During the show, DJ Suss-One and DJ Ravi Drums play and perform while Mariah slips off stage to change into another costume.

Additionally, there are 10 Infinity dancers choreographed by NappyTabs, the Emmy Award-winning married choreographers Napoleon and Tabitha D’umo. A younger dance crew who auditioned from various schools here also added to the stage impact.

Our thanks to Denise Truscello of WireImage for her fabulous photo coverage.

It’s a knockout punch from start to finish that Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Manny Pacquiao should have delivered over big fight weekend. Giant butterfly wings from floor-to-ceiling divide to reveal Mariah and then stand majestically in ever-changing hues and colors at either side of the all-white stage and band platforms throughout her mega-power performance.

First-night fans stood for so much of the show, Mariah mounted a circular stand for several songs so that everybody could see her. It’s a veritable Apple store come to life with everybody using iPhones to capture the magic. These truly are moments to remember for many months to come.

Her backdrop is a unique series of shark fin-shaped sails. At one point, they are bathed in different colors to reinforce the excitement or the sensuality of her words and at another time become surfboards for a party sequence.

Mariah has figured out the massive Colosseum stage when it comes to strutting it in high heels and sequined gowns. An undisputed diva, she’s got one elegant gentleman to assist her wherever she walks to avoid any potential fall.

And despite that, she had to summon her wardrobe assistants onstage to zip up a potential wardrobe malfunction. Mariah laughed with the audience about what it was like changing in front of 4,000 people.

She rides out over the massive 22,450-square-foot-stage on various moveable effects including a pink convertible, a yellow jet watercraft and a chaise lounge bed from where she picks one audience “victim” to join her.

There are shades of the Britney Spears S&M number at Axis at Planet Hollywood as Mariah blindfolds and pink handcuffs her volunteer. She even uses a tickler whip on the guy, but I won’t spoil how it ends except to say you’ll laugh at the unfortunate ending. It ain’t what the guy is hoping next to Mariah!

She wades into the adoring audience up close and personal twice while performing “Always Be My baby” touching hands and posing for selfies with her “lambs” and “butterfly” fans. Thank heaven for security to ensure that the out-of-control worshippers don’t overwhelm her. This is no elusive chanteuse.

Mariah walks tall from the back of the Colosseum through the crowds and fake paparazzi to start the movie-party sequence. There are old-time movie usherettes with fake popcorn who roam the audience. I loved that catfight video on the giant rear screen “Mariah vs. Bianca.” That’s a lipstick bathroom battle that would have done a James Bond stunt villain actor proud.

There is an emotional highpoint as she joins first with singer Trey on The Jackson Five’s “I’ll Be There,” which winds up woven into video with Michael Jackson singing it in duet with her. It’s beautiful, touching and very moving.

Mariah, who is onstage for most of the two-hour, wall-to-wall production, is credited with the show’s concept directed by legendary Grammy Awards producer Ken Ehrlich and brought to life by Creative Director Raj Kapoor. Both men are familiar with the Colosseum, Ken for directing Celine’s newest show there and Raj for Shania’s production that ended in December after two years. They are production geniuses and very much an in-synch team of top talent.

In tandem with her new residency, Mariah is continuing to celebrate her remarkable career releasing her first album with newly signed Epic Records. Seventeen of those 18 Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 singles, more than any solo artist in history, were written by her. The new album is in stores May 18.

To date as the bestselling female artist of all time, Mariah has sold more than 200 million albums. She also is set to attend the 2015 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 17 and airing on ABC.

Songbird Anita Baker and record producer L.A. Reid attended Wednesday night’s premiere along with Australian hotel gaming magnate James Packer, AEG toppers John Meglen and John Nelson and Caesars Palace President Gary Selesner. No wonder they all toasted her success with champagne after the show.

“Infinity” is a tour de force of glitz and hits for the superstar, validating her diva status and reigning rule of a global empire Caesars himself would have liked to conquer. Mariah is at Caesars Palace through May 24 and returns July 8 through 26.

Robin Leach of “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous” fame has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past 15 years giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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