Reba McEntire stands in the middle of Caesars Palace’s Colosseum stage and begins to sing the opening lines of a song she’s performed too many times to count. But the 4,000 fans packed into the venue lean in as though it’s the first time they’ve heard it. They’re here for every word; they want to take in this particular story one more time. And with Reba’s famously drawn-out syllables, her steely-eyed gaze at the audience, and her subtle but confident movements, she sells her mega-hit rendition of “Fancy” as brilliantly as she did when she recorded it 28 years ago.

Yep, give Reba a red dress, a spotlight, and a redemptive story to tell, and the 62-year-old country music queen still captivates like no other. Before the big “Fancy” moment, which arrives late in the Vegas production she headlines several times a year with her friends Brooks & Dunn, she works through decades of hits, from the lovelorn “Whoever’s in New England” to her empowerment-themed Reba sitcom opener, “I’m a Survivor.”

In many ways, the Vegas residency is the culmination of a career that has continuously surprised and thrilled fans since the raised-on-rodeo Oklahoma girl broke into Nashville’s scene in the late 1970s. Reba has conquered the Broadway stage (in Annie Get Your Gun), starred in the hit self-titled TV comedy, made memorable appearances on the big screen, claimed spots in the Country Music Hall of Fame and the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame, and launched winning fashion lines including her latest, a collaboration with a classic bootmaker dubbed Reba by Justin.

But Reba’s greatest accomplishment, if you ask her and her biggest fans, is the fact that she’s won acclaim in so many different worlds without sacrificing her own personality, without throwing away the qualities that set her apart. We picked up on that particular theme when we chatted with the star a few days before we were captivated by “Fancy” in Vegas. She was happy to talk about music, acting, fashion, and the curveballs in life that can unexpectedly take you to a better place.