The first leg of the Dressed to Kill tour has already finished! That went by fast. I've been preoccupied the last few weeks hosting several rounds of guests, going camping, and covering yet another nightshift for an ICANN meeting in London. Meanwhile, Mr. Cher Scholar is looking for a new job and my job will soon be ending. So it also looks like we will be moving (again). Lots of changes (and stress!).
But here's the wrap-up of the final shows of the first leg of the tour. Is it me? Or did the wig for "Believe" change?
Cher’s show was all spectacle, with nine dancers, 11 costume changes, a circus set up, a Trojan horse and what might have been a Brony at one point....The duets walked a thin line between touching, exploitive and saccharine. It worked this time, but let’s hope Cher doesn’t take a hologram Bono out on tour 10 years from now...She played things tongue-in-cheek, though occasionally her banter went on a little long. There was an odd, extended diatribe about Dr. Pepper that didn’t really go anywhere. But everyone’s grandma has moments like that...There were some odd costume choices. At one point she was wearing gold dress and wig while Trojan soldiers danced around her. She looked like Dot Matrix from “Space Balls” transported into a gladiator movie...Cher has never been the type of singer who was famous for hitting all the right notes, but on Monday night she hit all the right beats.
Cherilyn Sarkisian was winking and crossing her fingers during the speech, which is one of the reasons she can still fill the downtown Minneapolis basketball arena with 13,000 squealing fans. In the 50 years since Cher married Sonny Bono, she has survived both tremendous success -- she is a Tony Award away from an EGOT -- and embarrassing failures that would sink a lesser woman. But Cher has always positioned herself as not only a survivor, but one with the ability to laugh at her shortcomings along the way....The only real drawback of an otherwise wildly entertaining evening was the series of long breaks when Cher disappeared backstage to change...Her farewell shows suffered from the same odd pacing, but it's easy enough to forgive Cher.
Cher is the patron saint of underdogs and survivors...there were many guises. Peacock Cher. Aladdin Cher. Vampire Cher. Gypsy Cher. Sonny’s Cher. Pocahontas Cher. Gladiator Cher. Vamp Cher. Disco Cher. Dinner Party Cher. Strip Club Madam Cher. Virgin Mary Cher.
She’s a master of the spectacle...She then donned the infamous headdress for Half Breed. Some things are best left in the 1970s; regardless of Cher’s (much-debated) Cherokee ancestry, both the song and its presentation reeked of the sexpot stereotype Buffy Sainte-Marie once coined "Pocahontas in fringes.")...Standing on a platform suspended from cables, she floated above the audience, traversing the length of the arena while her fans worshipped from below. And she says she’s not a diva. If this is truly her farewell tour, well, it’s not a bad one to go out on.
While the show was a feast for the eyes, some of the vocoder-era numbers were a little too close to the recorded versions for my liking sonically speaking. However, the diva proved she could pack an emotional punch on her own when singing some of her more soul-stirring ballads – most notably, “You Haven’t Seen The Last Of Me” (from Burlesque) and her show closer, “I Hope You Find It.”...Ironically, the fashionably-named Dressed To Kill tour marks the first time in decades that longtime collaborator Bob Mackie did not design Cher’s costumes – and it shows. While all of her costumes were suitably sparkly, spangly and “Wowza”-inducing, many just didn’t have the Mackie sophistication. Her “Believe” costume especially, with sequined-heart nipple covers, looked a little more Hello Kitty than Catwoman-chic.
Cher’s performance was spectacular. The 68-year-old icon flawlessly belted out hit after hit as the stage constantly transformed along with her outfits....If I Could Turn Back Time”/”Time After Time” mashup anyone?
Highlights: Her phenomenal voice, especially on Strong Enough and the touching duet, I Got You Babe, featuring Sonny’s recorded vocals and a collage of black-and-white images from their life together. (Sniff.) You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me was another tearjerker — and, as she sang it unencumbered by any dancers or props, you felt like she was trying to make a heart-to-heart connection with the crowd.
Thankfully, her self-deprecating humour stopped the 90-minute show from getting maudlin.
Pacing, as always, isn’t Cher’s strong suit … because she’s always changing ’em...She’d sing one or two songs, then head backstage to switch outfits, letting her dancers, movie and TV clips, or animated visuals distract the crowd.
Her casino Cleopatra. Her ’60s-style red mini-dress, complete with red boots? Her glittery brothel madam. Her pink, blue and orange headdress, which tickled the floor behind her legs as she sang Half-Breed, an ode to her Cherokee ancestry. And yes, a leotard, thigh-high boots, and leather jacket in the style of her notorious If I Could Turn Back Time video. STRUT IT, GIRL!
Cool props (or flops?):
Her aerialists. Her Trojan horse, wheeled in for the dance-pop anthem, Take It Like a Man. Her two staircases, enveloping her seven musicians. Her flying contraption, which she used to float above the arena during her last number, I Hope You Find It.
Along with that distinctive braying voice in fine form for 68 years old, the show displayed all the signposts of a remarkable career that spans television, movies and pop music...On a stage that looked like an enormous video slot machine...she actually did sing their signature duet I Got You, Babe – with the actual voice of her late ex-husband – and “without crying,” too. She earned a standing ovation for that pungent American memory...Cher has been a surprising pop culture pioneer for more than 50 years.
The visual and sonic assault on the senses got back on track with a medley featuring old-school solo material Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves, Dark Lady and Half-Breed. Clearly, no one gave a crap about political correctness in the ’70s.
[Three mentions in these reviews so far about "Half Breed"]
It seems unlikely that we’ve heard the last of the grand dame.
...let’s bask in her fabulousness....The rest of the evening was number after number of gregarious and gaudy good times...We’ll even forgive her excellently kitschy but cringeworthy performance of the entirely un-PC fossil Half Breed, because, well, Cher.)
[There it is again!]
She was funny, self-deprecating and still sassy...[about her duet with Sonny] It wasn’t cheesy. It was wonderful. It was a Show-stopper.
...you have to wonder if fans are feeling a little farewell fatigued. Scalpers hovered like buzzards around the gates at Rogers Arena minutes before the start of Cher’s final Dressed 2 Kill tour date in Canada, frantically trying to off-load extra tickets at 10 bucks a pop. Inside, fans talked about how they had bought their tickets at a discount online.
[That's a new one.]
[Lauper sang] "All Through The Night," which she dedicated to Cher. “She’s got an EGO, but I ain’t no slouch either,” Lauper said, pointing out she has claimed Grammys and Tonys of her own. [On Cher's entrance] “It’s nothing, OK! I love to start my shows standing atop of a pillar wearing nothing but dental floss for an outfit — at 68,” Cher said, the crowd loving every moment. Cher gave herself a tribute worthy of her iconic career. No one else could have done it the way she did.
[Two or three reviews this round have also mentioned Cher's proximity to EGOT: winning and Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony]
The razzle dazzle nearly overshadowed her still-strong voice, but she reminded the crowd what a powerhouse she can be.
It was ridiculous and overstuffed, the kind of concert that would pivot from a dance number with a Trojan horse and CGI flames engulfing an ancient city to documentary footage about her childhood love of Elvis without pausing for breath—not that anyone was complaining...To Cher is human: her self-deprecation and sense of humor is the missing link in the ironclad images of the likes of Beyonce and Katy Perry, though maybe in 40 years, they’ll catch up with her....Somewhere, your granny is cheering.
Before there was Madonna, Britney, Xtina and even Beyonce, there was Cher...The concert/Las Vegas-style over-the-top display of flashing neon lights, pulsating beats, multiple scene changes and superb dancers and acrobats could have overshadowed a lesser talent....If there was a theme here it was clear — Cher’s a strong woman and a survivor in an industry known for chewing up artists and spitting them out...Cher was all show (I mean that as a sincere compliment) back then and the old girl still has it. Beyonce may be one of the reigning divas at the moment, but let’s see if her career lasts 40-plus years.
Cher was greeted with a roar from the audience. “Please, no,” she said. “Make me work for it.”
Cher has been a would-be has-been for so long that it’s hard to remember a time when she wasn’t proving she’s still got it...Whether it was her low voice, her unconventional beauty or a sense of candor uncommon in glad-handing Hollywood, Cher has always been battling some perceived liability -- a superstar presenting herself as a marginalized figure....That viewpoint has resounded with younger singers such as Lady Gaga, whose entire artistic mission is about channeling the energy of the outcast....But where Gaga turns that alienation into a kind of cartoonish triumphalism, Cher doesn’t get too terribly excited about it. For all the glitter and high-tech pageantry -- the enormous feathered headdress, the aerialists balled up inside two miniature planets, the moving platform she rode above the audience toward the back of the venue -- her concert felt reassuringly human, even low-key at points. It gave you a sense of the woman beneath the bedazzled loincloth.
It was a visual and aural spectacle that only Cher could deliver — and deliver well...She acknowledged she’s lived a colorful life, marked by many ups but also many downs. And she’ll be the first one to tell you, by the way, that she’s not going to take herself too seriously during the course of the evening, setting the tone for what turned out to be a night of nostalgia with a healthy dose of irreverence — irreverence aimed mostly at herself...It was all pure spectacle, pure Cher, but at the same time, it wasn’t the Cher of old. She seemed humbler, gentler....And sure, there were echoes of Chers past: the outrageous costumes, the colorful wigs, the sexy dancers, the glittery makeup. But this was, somehow, a more subdued woman, perhaps tempered by age or a renewed sense of who she is and her place in pop culture. She doesn’t have to prove herself anymore, and in the comfort of that realization comes a relaxed disposition that made the show more authentic, more human....She forgot the words to “Dark Lady,” but it was a blip that could have easily been forgotten or gone unnoticed, what with all the visual happenings on stage. But later on in the show, she wasn’t about to hide that fact. “I had an old lady moment,” she admitted. “Oh well.”...Her last song was “I Hope You Find It” from her 25th album, 2013’s “Closer to the Truth.” Originally recorded by Miley Cyrus, the song has become Cher’s biggest hit in the United Kingdom in the 21st century.
[Is this true?]
My mom also sent me a review from the Cleveland show on May 2 from The Plain Dealer. Nothing special in that review but the title that “Fab Cher wows with spectacle and song.”
In other concert news:
“A friend said to me that a woman is sexy while she can still put on her stockings," she told UK newspaper The Sun recently, musing, “I thought, 'I can do better than that, I can still put on my body stocking'. They'll probably even dress me in it when I'm dead."
The tour has earned $55 million so far according to Billboard: http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop-shop/6157664/cher-tour-grosses-55-million-so-far