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Cher (8/23/02)

American Airlines Center (Dallas, TX) by Qubert

“Ladies!  Gentlemen!  Flamboyant Gentlemen!  Children of all ages!  Welcome to the Cher-est Show on Earth!”   Clad in a red tailcoat and top-hat and sporting a whip, Ringmistress Cher drove the sold-out crowd into a frenzy of screaming and squealing to begin her show Friday night at the American Airlines Center.   She had already floated to the stage and treated us to heart-pounding renditions of U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and her own current hit “Song for the Lonely” dressed like an ice queen and surrounded by wild dancers as much Cirque du Soleil showpieces as backup support.

As  you see, it is impossible to talk about a Cher show without discussing the spectacle of it all.  Friday’s show mixed Vegas and Broadway and Hollywood and left no adoring fan unhappy.  Cher, at 56, has lost none of her legendary Diva touch, and there’s no one like her.  (After talk of this being her last tour met with a chorus of boos, she suggested that we could follow the younger women like Britney and J. Lo, which met with another chorus of boos.  Laughing, Cher asked, “Gee, do they know you feel this way about them?”)  She strutted around the stage fiercely and fabulously as only Cher can, sporting over a dozen costume changes.  Between songs, the crowd was treated at times to acrobatic performances by the dancers; at other times we saw video clips from Cher’s history.  The clips ranged from Sonny and Cher scenes (the famous 80’s reunion performance of “I Got You Babe” on Letterman was an audience favorite) to clips from her movies to a montage of interviews over the years (a smitten Letterman again, asking her how quickly she could slip into a red wig). 

But we were there for the music, and our Diva did not disappoint (except perhaps for the sparse selection from the current LIVING PROOF album – I didn’t care, but some in the crowd afterwards expressed concern).  Her voice was as strong as ever, moving through “All or Nothing” dressed as a far eastern Indian Princess and “Bang Bang” in a massive feather mohawk. She came out in jeans and a fur lined vest, going back in time to her hippy days.  A medley included “Dark Lady”, “Gypsies”, and “Half Breed”.  That bit was the start of a chronological move through her greatest hits.  One of the best segments was a stripped down set of the “Theme from Chances Are”, “Jesse James” (introduced with “I don’t hate this song, it’s just not my favorite, okay?”), and “Heart of Stone” – a favorite of this reviewer that she stated was her favorite of her songs and that she apparently never plays live. 

The evening’s highlight came next, when Cher came out in her 80’s massive coif and sang “Strong Enough”.  In thigh-high black stiletto boots, a biker jacket, and a black-leather and fishnet body suit, she segued into “If I Could Turn Back Time”.  How right was it when a fan threw a sailor’s cap on the stage?  She put on the hat, and we were treated to a re-enactment of the oh-so-controversial video for the song from 1989.  The audience – including yours truly – were transported to another plane.     The encore brought a sequined and red-tressed goddess treating us to “Believe”.     

One of the greatest concerts I have ever seen!  Still, this being a review, I must list a few disappointments.  Cyndi Lauper could not play due to an ankle injury, which according to reviews of other shows, means we missed out – of well, guess we’ll have to catch her when they come back n November.  The endless costume changes sometimes slowed the pace, I must confess, but she was always worth it.  Finally, I only wish the souvenirs weren’t so pricey.  But ignore my complaints; I only include them for fairness. 

Cher could have sat in a chair and read a book for two hours and this crowd would have shouted in adoration.  Instead, she gave it her all.  Her voice was amazing, her humor spot-on (“I looked like a drag queen piñata!”), and her famous attitude was fully intact.  Speaking about Dr. Pepper, she complained that they ought to “Fu. . .er, freaking give me a life time supply!”  And responding to boos during the talk of it being her last tour, she implored the crowd to “Give me a friggin break!  I’ve been a friggin evil diva for 40 years!”   

Couldn’t you just die?


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