04/14/2003 at 01:00 AM EDT
Celine Dion wanted to get off on the right foot at the March 25 premiere of her new Las Vegas extravaganza, A New Day...but it wasn't meant to be. "I have one pair of shoes backstage, and it got stolen," a barefoot Dion told the audience. "My size is 8...anyone?" A replacement pair was quickly located, and Dion triumphantly settled into what will be her home stage for the next three years: the $95 million, 4,100-seat Colosseum, built just for her at Caesars Palace. Dion, 35, said the gig provides "stability for my family" (she and husband René Angélil are raising son René-Charles, 2, in nearby Lake Las Vegas) and "freedom onstage" (her $100 million contract doesn't hurt, either). With 599 performances to go, the Canadian singer already feels her Vegas gamble has paid off. Said Dion: "I am so happy."