Cher’s Musical Oeuvre

GtthApologies but I wrote this after finishing the dual-biography The Youth of Cezanne & Zola by Wayne Andersen (and seeing the movie Cezanne and Moi last week) so if I start to sound too academic, slap me and tell me to snapoutavit.

To be honest, I wasn’t overly excited about Cher’s Icon award from Billboard recently served. What did it even mean? Cher even admitted the word Icon was stupid last week. That said, I WAS exceedingly, super-duperly excited about the set of Billboard articles that came out last week in support of the award. They were scholarly and explored various facets of Cher’s “genius at the zeitgeist,” to borrow David Geffen’s idea. It all felt like a landmark-y change-in-the-tide week in terms of Cher criticism, at least a tide coming to pass outside of Cher zines and blogs.

These two pieces were impressive:

Why Cher Is More Musically Radical Than You Think by Joe Lynch

Cher's 'Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves': Why It's One of the 20th Century's Greatest Songs by Rob Tannenbaum

And it's significant there are young male writers...in that are we getting hipster men to admit there is value in Cher's music.

Gtth2But it feels a little weak that during the very week that mainstream male critics have turned a corner describing Cher’s oeuvres, (as they are multiple), and Cher gets her first serious accolades for something beyond movies, costumes or Twitter posts, (although Billboard historically has always been very kind to Cher's albums if not laudatory), Cher once again announces that she hates her music and even some tracks we previously assumed that she liked (the song "Believe" or the whole of It’s a Man’s World).

It’s quiet extraordinary and, as a pseudo-scholar, I never know quite what to make over Cher’s condescension about her own music.

She’s been in the business such an unbelievably long amount of time that it’s hard to keep hearing that she’s had little opportunity to produce the kind of music she likes, (beyond the Geffen material which was produced over a tiny five-year span of 1987 to 1991). She supposedly now has the means and hopefully the confidence to show us all more of what true Cher music should be, but she has kept capitulating to other plans.

You can always say No. And although Cher might not be as ballsy as she comes across, she was ballsy enough to last 50 years and ballsy enough to say no to even Sonny Bono and David Geffen eventually. It’s long past the time when Cher needs to be intimidated or misled by male producers, lovers and Svengalis.

Gthth4It also seems apparent that musical artists have more autonomy over projects than actors would, albeit still dependent on record companies (outside of DIY projects). After 5 decades of not saying No to material you don’t like, you’re simply left with the oeuvre you have. What is to be gained by distancing yourself from it, beyond recurring shame or wanting to be respected by various persons who also dismiss your genres and efforts.

And it should be said, this isn’t another case of an artist simply being dissatisfied with their efforts or a singer disliking the sound of her voice. That kind of self-criticism is always self-tempered: "I tried to do something and didn’t quite get there." It’s different to say “it’s all rubbish”.

Gtth3In Cher’s case it always feels like the dismissals are some sort of internalized, male-privileged shame-criticism of the kind you’d hear from a Gregg Allman fan or KISS fan. And I realize I’m psycho-analyzing here from a distance,  but the problem is that these personal dismissals exacerbate and perpetuate the existing, arguably-sexist and rock-snobbist dismissals about Cher's music that you'd get from older critics and the rock establishment of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Cher music = uncool.

It's very possible Cher herself is a rock snob.

As a Cher fan since the age of 5, I've heard a lot of rock snobbery. I had two older brothers who were teen fans of the Beatles, Styx and Montrose. I heard everything by the time I was seven and I've written a lot about the false idea of authenticity in an industry of institutionalized posing. Cher=uncool is the baseline of all of it.

And it that’s the praise you seek, praise from old white men, I can see why you would want to distance yourself from their judgements. But the reality is that many ground-breakers never fully reveal during their own time and there are many Cher scholars among us who challenge those white male judgements.

Which is what has always made being a Cher fan feel so rebelliously brave.

  


The Armenian Poets

CherarmeniaOn Big Bang Poetry, I’ve been doing blog posts about protest poetry ("Protest Poetry and Resistance Poetry are Flourishing") and one of the books I mention, Against Forgetting, 20th Century Poetry of Witness, edited by poet Carolyn Forche, starts with two Armenian poets.

For Armenians there are the best of times and the worst of times. The most famous Armenian superstar in the world is now winning icon awards and yet barely 100 years ago her ancestors were being slaughtered in the first modern genocide.

“Any 20th century history of human rights and genocide must begin with the massacre of Armenians, then the largest Christian minority population of Turkey…Between 1909 and 1918…1.5 million Armenians were massacred by order of the Ottoman Turkish government...Historians have called [it] the first “modern” genocide…the first instance of political mass murder made possible by advanced technology and modern communications."

Siamanto

SiamantoThe first poet, named simply Siamanto, was himself executed on April 24, 1915.

This passage from his poem “Grief” sounds eerily familiar in reference to Trump and those who have and those who have not, although admittedly on a much smaller scale than genocide.

“And this evening before sunset
all of you will go back to your houses,
whether they are mud or marble,
and calmly close the treacherous
shutters of your windows.
Shut them from the wicked Capital,

shut them to the face of humanity,
and to the face of your god…
even the lamp on your table
will be extinguished
by your soul’s clear whispers.”

Siamanto’s poem “The Dance” is absolutely horrific, a poem about a group of Armenian women made to dance naked in public until they were exhausted, then lit of fire with kerosene. The poem ends with Siamanto saying “How can I dig out my eyes.”

His poems were translated by Peter Balakian and Nevart Yaghlian.

More about Siamanto

His bust was dedicated in Yerevan.

Remembering the Armenian Genocide thru Siamanto’s Poetry

Vahan Tekeyan

3799The second Armenian poet in the anthology is Vahan Tekeyan. He escaped execution due to being in Jerusalem on business and lived in exile until his death. I loved all his poems in the book.

"Forgetting"

"Prayer for the Threshold of Tomorrow

Does this remind you of anything?

“Let the fortress of egos,
that huge barricade,
crumble.”

The poem “Dream” is about the dead coming back from heaven and “a wolf slinking off, surprised to see his victims again.”

And "The Country of Dust," is a great poem about being small and scattered and dispersed like dust:

“But hope
rises like the sun. Accumulate. Dust consolidates into stone.”

His poems translated by Diana Der Hovanessian and Marzbed Margossian.

More about Vahan Tekeyan

A bootleg book of his poems which must be out of print.

Sixty-five Years after His Demise, His Vision is Alive and Growing

 

You can also read the Anthology of Armenia Poetry.

Famous culture critic Theodor Adorno once said there can be no poetry after the holocaust. This was often taken to mean there can be no beauty after such atrocities. But academics believe he really meant that there could be no poetry because the state would co-opt it for their own purposes. Carolyn Forche begins her anthology quoting German poet Bertolt Brecht, almost in response, who said:

“In the dark times, will there also be singing?
Yes, there will be singing.
About the dark times.”


Cher History: Marriages, Music, Hair, Movies and TV

ChergreggGossip

Cher's marriage to Gregg Allman was revisited by Inquisitir: “inside their whirlwind marriage.”

 

 

Music

And on the site AV Club, death-fuled songs from the 70s place "Dark Lady" in the same league with Barry Manilow's "Copacabana" and “I Don’t Like Monday’s” by The Boomtown Rats.

Death-songs

Speaking of their "Copacabana" video, watch some bad, unenthusiastic lip-synching and awkward dancing from a dapper and youthful Barry Manilow in that video. He even does a Cher-like costume change!

I love that guy. “Don’t fall in love. Don’t fall in love.”

They also list "Indian Reservation" by Paul Revere and the Raiders (see the stats article).

CherhairFashion

Is Cher hair still a trend? The article references Kim Kardashian but she just cut her hair.

Thanks to Cher scholar Tyler for this article on the Five decades of Cher outfits from CBS News.

 

 

 

 

 

R.I.P.

Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour producer Chris Bearde has died. Mr. Cher Scholar always snickers these days when the credits roll and his name appears as chrisbearde.

Cher-chris

Cher’s late-1970s manager, (before 80s-era Bill Sammeth), Sandy Gallin, (whom for years I thought was a woman) has also died.  (Thanks Cher scholar Michael for that link.) Another story from the gruesomely named Deadline.com.

Cher-sandy

This TV site mistakenly attributes Cher’s tweet about Bearde to be about Gallin.

But on the brighter side, Cher says her mom is doing better.

Cher80sMovies

I've been finding a lot of interviews on YouTube that were obscure since the 1980s. I will try to blog about them as I can. This is one of the best, a great German interview for Witches of Eastwick and Cher's Geffen Records era debut.  In it, Cher says she and Sonny were the first hippies in the world.

 

GlencTelevision

Cher scholar Tyler found this amazing bit of scholarship on YouTube, a fascinating medley between Sonny, Cher and Glen Campbell, a medley proving that when art is concerned, conservatives and liberals can get along.

 
You can also watch the full 1976 episode of Sonny & Cher on Donny & Marie

Dandm


Cher News: Billboard Awards, Classic Cher, Armenians, Birthdays, Right Wing Media

Cher-billboardBillboard Awards

The big news is that Cher will be on the Billboard Awards May 21, (a day after her 71st birthday), at 5 pm Pacific, (check your local times and stations), to receive the Icon award and to sing "Believe." News announcing the award:

- http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Cher-to-sing-Believe-at-Billboard-Music-Awards-11120512.php

- http://www.eonline.com/news/848448/cher-to-perform-live-at-an-award-show-for-the-first-time-in-15-years-you-better-believe-it

I heard this and wondered, doesn’t Cher already have a Billboard award from the 2000s. I checked Wikipedia's Cherwards page and found she's won the Artist Achievement award in 2002 (see pic to the left with her son Elijah, who considerately matched his hair color to her dress).

What’s the difference between these awards you may want to know. Cursive research shows nothing. This is the Billboard list of award categories and who has won the big categories like Artist Achievement and ICON. The Icon Award gets a dedicated Wikpedia page for some reason but with no explanation worth the effort: " to recognize music singers and contribution."

Here is Steven Tyler announcing Cher's Achievement award in 2002. It seems like a "lifetime achievement" from how Tyler frames it - the definition of longevity - and Tyler gives no mention of what the award recognizes or represents officially. These awards seem willfully vague and I'm starting to dub them Empty Hat Awards. Not that it's every boring to watch Cher win awards. Or satisfying for Cher scholarship.

Cher-vegas-coverClassic Cher Show

More press for the Classic Cher show from a Cher cover story in Vegas Magazine.

https://lasvegasmagazine.com/entertainment/2017/apr/28/cher-las-vegas-park-theater-monte-carlo/

https://vegasmagazine.com/cher-on-sonny-bono-oscars-and-vegas-residency

This led me to find other covers of Cher’s millennial Vegas shows:
 

Vegas2000s Dfb6d5c3ee1f9256ca4cc377948ba425

 

 

 

  

Promise2The Armenians

PromiseCher recently attended the premiere of the Armenian Genocide movie The Promise and has been promoting it. From Armenian Radio.

You can also see who else is promoting the movie. And see a story about what Cher wore to the premiere. More from Extra TV.

Cher was photographed on red carpet with Armenians Kourtney and Kim Kardashian. Story on Daily Mail saying they could be sisters.

Paparazzi also caused a scene chasing Cher while she was going out to eat.

After news of the Met Gala this year, Cher said she might attend next year. Time Magazine covered this story.

Politics

Last week was yet another example of seeing the lowdown right wing media lies in action. Various conservative news sources, led by Breitbart News and FOX News, gleefully ridiculed Cher's dismayed tweets about the health care bill passing in the U.S. House. Slate correctly reported that Cher's comments had been misconstrued. (No shit?)

For years they've tried to label her a has-been, (she's winning a Billboard ICON award this month), and yet right-wing media never stops trying to ridicule her tweets. The effort never quite goes mainstream for them. In the infamous words of Trump: So sad.

Birthday!

Cher celebrates her 71st birthday this month. See other famous 1946 birthdays.


Nerdy Cher Stuff: Poetry & Statistics

Javier-collectionPoetry

It’s very exciting for me when my poetry and Cher blogs overlap. That’s the kind of nerd I am. And they have been overlapping lately.

I finished another year of the NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month) challenge, which involves writing a poem a day for the month of April. No easy feat, especially when you commit to following the prompts, which I did this year.

The prompt of April 26 was to write a poem about how an archaeologist in the future would make sense of our culture. In my poem, archaeologists uncover my garage full of Cher memorabilia. To the left is a picture of Cher scholar Javier Ozuna's very fine Cher collection. Mine is not nearly this extensive but imagine archeologists coming upon this scene and trying to write up a thesis on it.

It’s rare that I do a Cher poem. I don't know why. I think I’ve only done two really crappy ones and those were over 20 years ago. I called this poem “The Relics of Very Tiny Religions.” 

I'm back to enjoying the Cher/Sonny & Cher shows on GetTV. There have also been quite a few skits that are new to me. Either previous TVLand of VH1 episodes skipped them or on was a fully new episodes for me.  This segment floored me. It's a bad recording from a bad recording but it’s Cher reciting the poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling.  Cher references the cartoonist Sergio Aragonés, who you might recognize from 1970s MAD magazines and books. Cher, like everybody else, can’t help but recite in “the poem voice,” a kind of plodding tone everybody uses when reading poems for some reason. There are some prophetic moments of the cartoon and poem, including...

Narcissm If

 

 

 

 


...the bits about narcissism and political corruption.

There’s more Cher/poetry commentary to come because I’m really into protest poetry right now  and reading the mother anthology of protest poetry, “Against Forgetting, 20th Century Poetry of Witness,” the first section of which is poets of the Armenian genocide.

ReadersguideStatistics

At work I often do usage research on Google Analytics and keyword research on Google Trends. When I start to learn any new research tool, I always test it out by plugging 'Cher' into the system to see how it works. I've done this my whole life, since learning how to use the green periodical lookup books at the school library when I was a tween.They were very boring books but led to all the articles of Cher in People Magazine and Ladies Home Journal that I could check out in the library which was a great incentive to plunging into the nerd universe.

Anyway, plugging Cher into Google Trends led me to discover two great new-to-me Cher sites:

Paul_Revere_And_The_Raiders_-_Indian_Reservation And I've had Google Analytics on my blogs for over a year now. The most popular page result is a blog post I did in 2008 about the fact that Cher did not ever release a recording or perform live the song people search for as “Cherokee People” or “Cherokee Nation.” The song is actually a Paul Revere & the Raiders song called "Indian Nation." I tallied up the results from an entire year and 649 people made that search and visited my blog to be disabused of that erroneous belief. A huge amount of people associate Cher with that song.

Last month my search queries also showed a very funny result for “cher all i wanna do is make love to you lyrics” confusing bombastic Heart with bombastic Cher. Due to this I looked up that song. On Wikipedia it says:

Heart-80sAnn Wilson commented on the band's dislike for the song, stating, "Actually we had sworn off it because it kind of stood for everything we wanted to get away from. It was a song by "Mutt" Lange, who we liked, and it was originally written for Don Henley, but there was a lot of pressure on us to do the song at the time." Ann Wilson has made a number of comments on her dislike for the song, calling the song's message "hideous" in an interview with Dan Rather. In that same interview, Ann mentions that she's surprised at how many of their fans, especially in Australia and New Zealand, want to hear the song to this day when Heart plays live (Heart does not perform it live anymore despite the requests).”

Watch the video.


On the Periphery of Cher

CherworldcovercloserAnd there was a slew of Cher crew news recently as well...

The TCM auction was held Monday March 27, 2017.

The show Making History made a Cher reference (Thanks Cher scholar Tyler).

Cher-rock-crewTwo related celebrity deaths occurred: and who would have imagined Chuck Berry and Chuck Barris would die in the same week? (Thanks to Cher scholar Janet for this pic of Chuck Berry on The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour.) It's my theory that Chuck Barris, besides connecting to S&C show alum Murry Langston, a.k.a The Unknown Comic, is the voice of the M.C. on Sonny & Cher Live.

Bob Mackie celebrated a birthday.

Diane Warren won a major award.

Fans were busy meeting Cher:

What It's Really Like to Design a Home for Cher (Architectural Digest)

And finally, there was a lawsuit over Cher's Closer to the Truth album logo design. Two stories:

I asked two local designers in my office to weigh in:

One said: “Clearly similar but hard to prove imo... that elaborately calligraphic style, and bodoni-like typefaces have been having a moment. That R though is exactly the same."

Another one said: “Yea, that’s a tricky fight when it’s a font. Mosaic Nadav's Paris is very specific beyond the average font and Cher’s design looks like they just let the font basically be the design but with slight changes. This being a mass distributed album that’s pretty lazy design… and yet designers do that all the time so I’m glad the Cher designer got called out on it.”

Called out but not successfully sued as it turns out: "Cher wins dismissal of lawsuit over album cover font" (Reuters)


And We’re Still Talking About Believe

Believe boxAnd there were a few articles recently commemorating Cher's 1998 song "Believe":

20 Biggest Singles By Female Artists (Metro UK)

Revisiting Believe (thank you to Christopher)

Also, The Voice auditioner Taylor Alexander surprised the show's judges with a countrified cover of "Believe" that I actually liked. I tend to like the country versions better for some reason.  I’m not a huge fan of "Believe," truth be told, but I will defend it if pressed. How often does that happen, you might wonder. Well, last week actually.

I’m taking an Central New Mexico Community College class online on pop culture and during two weeks ago we read this essay: “Seduced by ‘Perfect’ Pitch: How Auto-Tune Conquered Pop Music” by Lessley Anderson. The author states, "The Auto-Tune or not Auto-Tune debate always seems to turn into a moralistic one, like somehow you have more integrity if you don’t use it, or only use it occasionally." Our discussion question was, how could a music debate turn into a moralistic one?

This was my (ahem) very lengthy response:

Discussions about Auto-Tune turn into moralistic debates because they can’t turn into craft debates. They are similar to debates about other film and sound engineering technologies going back to soft-focus filters on Bette Davis.

It is immoral to come across as more talented than you are? This seems to be the issue with Auto-Tune’s vocal pitch fixing. Many critics believe singing is either a honed craft or a punk rebellion against craft. As a dance track, “Believe” isn’t punk enough a rebellion. Also, Auto-Tune is a tool used for chasing perfection.

America is obsessed with perfection: models are airbrushed in magazines, viewers protest when someone sings out of tune on live show, we are even fearful of singing in public ourselves due to our less than professional imperfections (Drew, 270-286).

Yet Americans also have an obsession with authenticity. It’s hard to find a music genre devoid of affectation around authenticity. And because judgements about music resist objectivity, (e.g. what matters most: reviews, awards, record sales, concert sales, legions of fans, breaking records, longevity? *), we resort to moral judgements around who is more ‘real.’

However, it was more than Auto-Tune compromising the song “Believe.” Ever since disco, dance music has been criticized for political and social reasons (Myers). Cher herself has always struggled for respect. Sonny & Cher were not seen as authentic folk artists and Cher was not perceived as an authentic rock artist in the 1970s or 80s. In the mid-80s Cher earned respect for acting performances. Now, ironically, her success as a celebrity on Twitter has been attributed to her level of authenticity (Wortham).

If we truly believed in authentic moments, we would be attending only un-mic’d live performances and not purchasing any recorded media. Cher and the producers of “Believe” used Auto-Tune in a novel way and whether you like the sound or not, this amounts basically to learned preferences and biases, not objective aesthetics.

 

*Cher has hit all these metrics and yet is still not respected as a musical artist.

Works Cited

Drew, Robert. “Anyone Can Do It: Forging a Participatory Culture in Karaoke Bars.” Hop on Pop: The Politics and Pleasures of Popular Culture, edited by Henry Jenkins, et al., 2002, 270-286.

Myers, Ben. “Why 'Disco sucks!' sucked,” The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2009/jun/18/disco-sucks, Accessed 8 March 2017.

Wortham, Jenna,  “There’s Only Love and Fear: On Cher’s Twitter,” The New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/29/magazine/theres-only-love-and-fear-on-chers-twitter.html?_r=0, Accessed 8 Mar 2017.

The Influence of “Believe”

  1. “Believe” covers and mashups span pop, electronica, rock, heavy metal, country and hip hop. Believe was even covered as a sensation on The Voice this week.
  2. Believe – Cher
  3. Believe – MNEK
  4. Believe – Robbie Fulks
  5. Believe in You (Cher & Ariana Grande)
  6. Believe in Sexual Eruption (Cher & Snoop Dogg)
  7. Believe (Cher and Portishead)
  8. Believe (We Found Love) (Cher and Rihanna)
  9. Believe (Cher and Lady Gaga)
  10. Believe (Cher and ACDC)
  11. How Will I Believe (Cher and Whitney Houston)
  12. Believe it Right (Cher and Nelly Furtao)
  13. Do You Believe in Intuition (Cher and Shakira) 
  14. Hot N Believe (Katy Perry and Cher)
  15. Believe in my Religion (R.E.M. and Cher)
  16. Get Up Believe (Skrillex and Cher)
  17. Bulletproof Belief (Cher and La Roux)
  18. Believing On My Own (Cher and Robyn) 
  19. Believe in Sweet Dreams (Cher and Beyonce)

Cher’s Culture Influence & Songs We’re Still Talking About

SonnycheralbumdudsI’m reading 2016 issues of The New Yorker and came across a disparaging joke about Sonny in a satire piece about zen mantras. Which was very irksome; but then I saw some Rock Legends episodes and the one on Roxy Music reminded me of the always-impressive longevity of Sonny’s “The Beat Goes On” as it appears in the Roxy Music song  from 1975 “Love is the Drug.”

Last month I posted a link to the article The 7 Faces of Cher  which does a wee bit of Cher scholarship in trying to categorize facets of Cher’s career. This article does a similar thing: “Cher – the ultimate pop icon” from Getintothis, Beats, drones and rock & roll.

Some other good stuff:

Madonna, Guns N Rose and Cher Had the Best Songs of 1989 (Inquisitr)

5 Times Cher, Nicki Minaj & Others Pulled Off Lil' Kim's Pasties Look (Billboard)

PaulAnd when I last talked about the song “Bang Bang,” I forgot the whole reason I had brought the song up, which was coming across this album online, an album my parents had in their collection (of a few Paul Mauriat albums), 1967's masterpiece of covers, "Blooming Hits" which I was fascinated by because the woman is naked, painted and gasp not airbrushed! It also has a cover of the song "Mama" which is very proud of itself. According to the liner notes:

“[Mama] emerges as a musical distillation of the composition….the harpsichord is pleasantly evident, but there is also an incredible horn solo complete with scat riffs…Hardly as Mr. Bono imagined, but nonetheless extremely successful.”

Which lead me to this album, More Mauriat, from 1966 which has a cover of "Bang Bang."

Elevator music you can play in your own home!


Movie and Concert News

ConcertThere's been so much Cher news over the last month and a half, I feel like I can’t keep up sometimes. So I have great sympathy for Daniel of Cher News when he announced recently that he is going to stop posting again. Such a good news source, especially for overseas stories.

There was plenty of Flint water crisis movie news this week, (all the way to Belfast!), especially when last week news broke that Cher was dropping out due to a family crisis, which allegedly involves her ailing mother, Georgia. Our thoughts and prayers to Georgia and her many loved ones.

Here are the news stories about it:

- ET Online
- TV Line
- PageSix
- Ace Showbiz  

The documentary Cries from Syria also came out on HBO along with versions of Cher's new song "Prayers for the World." I’ve recorded the movie but I've been afraid to watch it. The violence and suffering warning has scared me from it. I need to grow some stones and do it already. Here's a review of the movie, Cher's song with film footage, Cher's song without film footage.

Cher also tweeted about an Armenian genocide movie she found moving called The Promise. Thank you to Cher scholar Tyler for that link and for also locating this news footage about Cher’s visit to Armenia.

Classic Cher is now in Washington D.C. for a spell and apparently has a new “Lie to Me” interlude.

Some local reviews of the show:

Other interviews & promotion for the tour:

The Washington Post did an interview with Cher that's annoyingly showing up verbatim everywhere else: "Cher on EGOT-ing, politicking and touring once more (Watertown Daily Times) and "Cher still rocking in new shows" (Journal Gazette) are two examples.

ViewCher was also on The Talk for a full hour. It was fun to see the hosts dressed up as Cher, (Sharon Osbourne is tiny!), and you can really see the influence of Graham Norton and Andy Cohen on talk shows now which are mostly a sequence of Cher games. How else do you come up with original questions to ask someone who has been interviewed over and over again for over 50 years? It was nice to see Bob Mackie brought into the interview mix for some variety.

Reviews of the show:

Cher also did new Entertainment Tonight appearances. Some clips:


Classic Cher Review (Spoilers)

After the disastrous attempt to see the Classic Cher show live, I came home and watched the show from clips online. Photos below area culled from screenshots.

SPOILERS - SPOILERS - SPOILERS - SPOILERS - SPOILERS

DescentIt’s true the songs in this show are recycled from other hit shows. It’s true most of the outfits are also recycled. But tweaks can be found all throughout and the show is very beautiful nonetheless. I loved the gilded iron lace theme of the small stage.  Although I didn’t see them all, (this is far from a view of a show I was fully immersed in), there seem to be some new and creative interludes. Vegas theater sound is so much better than arena sound but then that’s an aspect compromised by the dryness of the air that stunts the voices of the singers.

The big intro: I’ve only seen small pieces of the video introduction. Is that new stuff I see in there? Cher descents in a similar apparatus she used to fly over the crowd in D2K, repainted. Recycling is good. 

Woman’s World:  Cher dons a large and beautiful afro wig, an amazing new blue dress and fabulous earrings. Her eye makeup looks great. Is this wig a nod or a snicker at her neighbor at The Venetian, Diana Ross. It's interesting that Cher’s last Vegas show at Caesars overlapped with Bette Midler's and that these two are her bffs-turned-sour after Cher's 80s Caesars show with its before-its-time male impersonations of Ross and Midler?

The dancers look very similar to the shield-wearing warriors of D2Ks Take it Like a Man.

Warriersbetter D2k

 

 

 

 

 

Classic Warriors /  D2K Warriors

MonologueCher’s monologue: I enjoyed this much more than previous monologues. Cher talked about wives wanting to see Cher in Vegas because we don’t know how much longer she’s going to be here…she’s 70 after all. She referenced composer John Philip Sousa when talking about her breasts. She called Dr. Pepper the white trash white wine spritzer. She did a Q&A, prefaced with the rules she doesn’t do selfies, hugs or politics. Later she added marriage proposals and diner proposals. Her responses seemed very genuine. She said, “From bottom of my heart I’m so happy you showed up! You never know” and laments that they worked until 3 am and then again in the afternoon so her voice was shot but “my heart is good.”

She gave a sassy, abbreviated version of “Let’s start the show.”

In an alternate version on another night, Cher tells the story of meeting Sonny in this monologue spot. She catalogues her childhood attempts to run away and her jobs with Robinsons May department store docking time cards, a job her step-father secured for her, and the job at See’s Candy Store. In the middle of it, she said, “I have to come down. I get so nervous.” Cher described everything Sonny was wearing when she met him and “his beautiful hands,” how he loved her friend Melissa “but she couldn’t dance.” She described the big girls apartment where she lived and where Sonny moved next door. Cher wasn’t paying rent and was kicked out. She tells the cooking and cleaning story and where Sonny says, “I don’t find you attractive" and comments "Just what you want to hear when you’re 16.” Cher said girls came all hours at a night. She abruptly ends on how Sonny liked girls who had big boobs.

Strong Enough: Similar warrior shield dancing as we saw D2K. You know me: I like synchronized dancing.  Cher loses the body scarf on the blue dress and it reveals one butt cheek. The end is great.

Cher changes into her Sari costume and returns on the big old Farewell elephant singing the Gayatri Mantra. The sari is pink now instead of blue.

All-classic All-farewell 

 

 

 

 

 

 Classic Sari / Farewell Sari (click to enlarge)

The elephant looks glad to be out of storage. This is one of my favorite numbers due to the beautiful colors. Watching one of these bootlegs was the first time I ever saw Cher crawl back into the chair of the elephant.

All or Nothing: Cher exits the elephant’s butt. Great lights behind the iron lace stage and the flowing fabric of Cher, who sparkles. Another fun ending. A similar hip-dance for this song.

Cher changes into a Farewell version of the 60s Outfit with rainbow pants versus original mostly purple outfit and the red mini dress of the last Vegas show. I like this one the best.

BeatgoesbetterThe Beat Goes On/ All I Really Want to Do:  She lets Sonny sing his parts while the record-store-promo video plays. It’s cool way she still sings la di da di da very emphatically.

View from farther back:

Beatgoessonny

Another monologue: In the opening show she tells her Sonny story here and how when she met him she was “scattered as a person. Everybody in show biz looked like Doris Day, she said, except Annette Funicello. Sonny saw raw talent and “started to do the clay thing.” She said, “Now is the time I can do this song [IBUB]. I can do it now.”

I Got You Babe: She sings with sonny with a face of love and serenity. Early 1970s film footage, (Sonny with mustache and short bangs), matches Sonny’s singing but the song ends with another singer doing Sonny’s part. This is the same routine as in D2K.  

Cher changes into the gypsy outfit which is similar to the D2K show, a thick bilateral skirt of many layered colors. The headdress is more extravagant with elaborate hair braids and she wears prettiest bra you ever did see.

Gypsies-classic D2k-gypsies

 

 

 

 

 

 

Classic Gypsys / D2K Gypsys

Gypsys, Tramps and Thieves: There’s still the stilts guy and the muscle man with a mustache guy. I miss the Caesar’s show gypsy wagon. Looks like a new leopard girl whom Cher pets. As always, the medleys are very short. 

Dark Lady: Cher sings sitting on a circus podium. You very rarely see Cher sing and sit. It’s nice.

HbCher changes into the Half Breed costume. You can just about only pace the stage in that thing. 

Half-Breed: Video footage above the stage shows a wheel of big feathers wheel twirling.

Cher changes into the burlesque costume.

Welcome to Burlesque: Much like movie and D2K version with the movie's outfit and marquee. Good lighting sequences.

Cher changes into a blue version of Take Me Home outfit.

Take Me Home: The video montage over the stage shows album covers whirling in a wheel. Lots of audience phones record this. I feel like the disco dancing has gotten better but maybe this is the same disco dancing from the other shows.

The movie/tv montage:  I saw part of a movie montage, as expected, before "After All" and if there was a TV montage, it's missing from online snippets of the show.

Cher changes into what I’m calling the angel fit, a variation of the outfit she wore for the encore of D2K where she sang “I Hope You Find It” with the angelic crown and the blonde hair. Same idea anyway with more bling and less braids.

Afterallclassic  D2kangel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Classic Cher After All Fit / D2K Angel Overhead Fit

After All: This scene is similar the Cher-on-gondola cruise over a misty river we saw from the Caesar’s show minus the hanging lights.

Caesars-afterAfter all at Casears

MemphisCher changes into her latest casual-fit, a pink top and jeans. 

Walking in Memphis: A great Memphis street set. I only glimpsed some of the wording on the street signs: “BB King’s Company Store.” This is the step-stool moment and she sounds good.

The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s In His Kiss): New gals plus 60s-style dancing.

Cher changes into her hole-fit with big 80s wig. Doll

I Found Someone: Similar to other shows with the guitarist moves on stage.

If I Could Turn Back Time: She throws off jacket. She seems peppier. She’s enjoying this show. Skips off stage.

The photo at the right cracked me up: one fan holding up a Cher doll for Cher to see.

For a while there are three Chers:  one on stage, on on the big screen, and the little one in the phones.

Phones

Cher changes into her Believe-fit which seems like a mash up of previous Believe-fits.

Believe: Cher either singing above the stage or a hologram. Can’t tell. There’s a crazy-fun interlude of lasers and sounds. Cher enters the stage in a red wig.

GermsAt this moment, Cher starts slapping the hands of front-row fans. Their germs make her sick.  

Promotion before the show:

Access Hollywood (talks about Sonny and asks, when will I cut my hair?)
Entertainment Tonight (Says she's not dying.)

 More Cher concert news:

Cher and Las Vegas have got each other again, babe (Reuters)

Review Journal Review 2

Did Beyoncé Mop Her Grammys Look From Cher?

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Fashion From Cher & Elton John’s Las Vegas Concerts (Footwear News)