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Cher Scholar's Pics from Vegas

Cher Scholar is Very Happy

...Mostly to have so much new fodder for CherScholaring.

Spoiler Alert: if you haven’t seen the new Las Vegas show and don’t want to hear about it, for God’s sake click away!

I’ve broken this post into two pages because it’s looong. And I’m even shaving out comments about show news, the program and the Cher store until later. (I’m skipping comments about the Oprah interview altogether - it was ultimately disappointing).

But the length of this page is unavoidable. The fact is this show is a crucial point in the career of Cher for many reasons.

1.       It’s going to be judged against other major headliners at Caesars-famed Colosseum (my spell-check hates that coliseum is being spelled that way).

2.       It’s a theatrical show in Vegas as opposed to a touring concert and it will be judged based on this.

3.       Cher is 62 and she’s been around so long, expectations are now simultaneously both higher and lower for everything she does…and it’ll probably be this way from now on.

 It is, in Celine Dion’s words, a new day. And much pop-scholarship should ensue.

So here we go. I’ve seen the show. I’ve read as many reviews as I could. I’ve read many fan posts. I understand what people don’t like and what they love and I’ll try to encapsulate it all here and sprinkle in what I think, followed by what I feel are the larger questions about a Cher show and her career right now. It’s juicy times. I like it!

First let’s review the show I saw and my immediate reactions:
Note: the set order might be askew below. I didn’t take any notes and am following the set list posted by fans after the show.

I went with my bf and my Ape Culture co-editor Julie. We sat dead-center all the way in the back of the first level, right back up against the sound/light booth. In fact we could turn around and see them working. Kinda neat if we weren’t so distracted by Cher all the time.  Projections of shooting stars covered a huge stage screen and images spilled a bit over to the sides of the theater. Not quite the full surround-immersion I was expecting from reports of Celine shows, but pretty freakin big for a stage. Cher was about 20 minutes late.

But her entrance was stunning per usual. First Cherwas projected as a hologram high on the stage (there was so much paraphernalia on the stage I don’t remember the exact setup anymore). Then the real Cher appears to the right above the audience and floats down to the stage on what I thought looked like a big fire bowl (cos my bf and I just bought one) but other writers have called it a wired-up chariot from the rafters or an open ski gondola with an Aztec neon starburst. Cher herself called it The Flying Wallenda Evel Knievel Death Mobile.

Now the Evel Knievel reference I know – tres 70s. But I had to look up the Wallenda reference. For those of you who don’t know your circus history (and that would be me),The Flying Wallendas were headliners as a high-wire act at Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey circus (http://www.wallenda.com/history.html )  and family members still perform today. 

I loved the idea of the hologram (more on that later). My only quibble with is was it was barely on stage. If you blinked, you might have missed it. The fire bowl was awesome, however. My friends were really impressed. Please note that my bf has never seen a Cher show. My friend Julie saw one of the Farewell shows in LA out at the amphitheater we call “Glenn Hell” and it was so windy that night, Chercouldn’t drop down in her chandelier. So my friends were both Cher-entrance virgins.

This entrance occurred as Cher was singing that U2 song that shall remain nameless here because if Cherhasn’t found it yet, I suggest changing therapists. Seriously, as Cher Scholar’s mom loves to say: maybe it’s you.

Find it or forget about it.

In the opening shows Cher sang “Song for the Lonely” but this must have been dropped by our night. Cherdid do an extended monologue about coming down on the fire bowl, teamsters grabbing their nuts and men spitting. And a bit about how she missed Sonny for his aid in developing quality show dialogs with her. I appreciated the racy aspect of her bit and everyone thought it was funny and charming.

She also had a very cool new gold Egyptian outfit that had a hilarious profile. Loved it.

Next was the filler video of Laverne singing to Sammy Davis Jr.’s “I Gotta Be Me.” I loved absolutely everything about this video. I loved that it was an old-school song and yet quintessentially Cher in its message.  I loved that Cher was doing physical comedy.  I loved that she brought Laverne into the next century. I loved how relaxed and happy she looked doing Laverne again. My bf commented that the gag with elderly people doing challenging stunts with cutaway stuntmen never gets old. And he’s right. And the Circque du Soilel spoof was even the show itself being self-deprecating. It was both retro and modern; and it had Cher acting a character (so refreshing!). It was brilliant and did, in fact, take the Cher show to a new meta-level. I can’t stop loving on it. In fact, I fantasize about a movie-length Laverne dealing with her life and age issues, maybe hooking up with Carol Burnett’s Eunice; and too bad Flip Wilson is gone for his Geraldine will be missed. I’d love to see television characters from 70s shows meeting up in some alternate universe for maybe a bank robbery or some other caper ensuing due to the fact that Medicare isn’t covering their prescription drugs.

Chershow-bighair After the video, I believe Cher came back with the big red wig outfit for “All or Nothing” and “I Found Someone.” I get this outfit and the horns-fit confused because the colors are so similar. And from the back of the room, the details disappear.

Some 80s dancing filler was presented before Cher comes back. The choreography is more of the same for these shows. Lots of competing, do-your-own thing going on. Lots of 80s moves. I just have to ignore it at this point.

Next I think was the horn-fit for Pat Benetar’s “Love is a Battlefield.” Cher did this song on an earlier tour…I believe it was Love  Hurts, which I didn’t see.  So it was great to hear Cher sing Chershow-loveisabf this song. I believe she can pull this one off. The dancers claw toward her and back. Yada yada yada. The only moments of dancing I like are the synchronized parts. Reminds me fondly of the Celebration of Caesars moves which were so larger-than-life and exciting.

Cherdid miss a few lyrics to the beginning of a verse. But I had already read the back of her program regarding her comments on Patty Darcy Jones being the savior during her flubs. This personal information just made these flubs somewhat lovable and human. In a strange way, they add something by showing failability.

Then, the Good Times video segment for “It’s the Little Things” played almost in full (was it in full? – I thought I saw a cut in there somewhere).  This was again a very cool choice to introduce 60s Cher. The fact we can watch the whole video was great - in fact, watching more rare Chervideos would be preferable to retro-80s dancing. What a thrill to see Sonny & Cher blown up so big like that. The San Francisco Examiner calls out this moment in the show too, saying “60s material like this plays surprisingly well.” This is a testament to Sonny’s under-appreciated song writing. “It’s the Little Things” is probably my favorite Sonny & Cher song because it swings so pleasantly and is strong architecturally. You believe sonny is writing from the heart, being very honest, actually thinking about Cher himself in the lines he gives her.  Imagine “She’s not the smartest woman that I’ve ever met and yet every word she’s ever said I won’t forget.” Amazing.

Chershow-beat Cher then came out in her red mini-dress to sing “The Beat Goes On.” This was my favorite set. A lot was going on but in a creative way that had some cohesion to it. The crazy blue movement of the set contrasted with Cher’s dress. What a thrill to hear her sing “The Beat Goes On” live and with Sonny (like Natalie Cole on “Unforgettable.”)

I have to take this opportunity to say the sound quality of this theater was unlike anything I’ve ever heard. One fan on the Cherlist felt the sound was poor the night they attended but I felt Cher sounded crisper, clearer and more beautiful than any other live show I’ve seen. Almost like a studio recording, if not better. And Sonny’s voice sounded clear and powerful, too. It was awesome and very moving just to hear them singing together. I found out later there was a clip of Sonny & Cher walking on the Seine and I missed it. Having just been there with the bf, I wanted to see how different it might have looked.

Cher then sang “All I Really Want to Do.” At the end she joked about her closet being as big as the Grand Canyonand out came the first cool prop: a closet that turned into a gypsy wagon that turned into a fortune-telling, gypsy wagon. I admired the prop’s Broadway-styled versatility. There were three amazing aspects of her oft-performed medley (this same medley of her big 70s hits first appeared on The Cher Show in 1975 and then again on the Believe and Farewell tours):

  1. Cher wore the "Half Breed" outfit herself. How way, way cool was that? It impressed my bf who’s favorite Cherimage is in the Half-Breed fit (I think that’s a hetero male favorite, actually).
  2. The outfits for "Gypsys Tramps and Thieves" were beautiful, a sea of color – like the “All or Nothing” India-fits on the Farewell tour. Color is so nice, it really is.
  3. The dancing for "Gypsys" was finally awesome.

Next came the disco party. YMCA was played while the dancers did usual filler. That Village People puppet was hi-larious. We all laughed a looong time over that. If they take that bit out of the show I’ll turn Catholic and start wailing over a rosary, I swear! They could make the song shorter but don’t take out that puppet.

Cher then appears on the big bridge to sing the disco gem “Don’t Leave Me This Way” madeChershow-takemehome famous by Thelma Houston. This is my favorite disco song and I’ve been fantasizing about Chersinging it for about ten years now and there’s a hologram in my fantasy no less! How weird, huh? But like the hologram in this show, her clip of this song is way too short. It was like a tease that left us ultimately frustrated. And I didn’t get a good look at the costume either. Instead, all too quickly, Cher came down off the bridge in her “Take Me Home” fit, this version not in gold (circa 1979) or red (circa turn-of-the-century) but blue. It is indeed dress rehash. And I’m fine with rehashing iconic Cherdresses. The hole-fit for “Turn Back Time” is iconic, although not accurate to the V-fit in the video, but can stay. But too many repeats are not necessary. This is her official “Take Me Home” fit but she doesn’t even sing a full version of “Take Me Home” so is it really important enough in the scheme of a show with too many costume changes already? If you have to cut some, this one could go. Or do a revamp of the Time Magazine cover fit instead.

Then we get more screen time with Chersinging “Sunny,” Sonny (and TV-show Sonnys) singing “Sunny” and then S&C doing the “S&C Stomp” song from the show, complete with footage showcasing signature S&C moves in action. We all loved that retrospective of the TV show.

Chershow-pearl Then Cher came back for “The Way of Love.” I am happy to see a ballad in the show again. Shows like this need a breath, a zen moment from time to time to recharge. Cherpops out of a big pearl in a dress more like her torch song dresses than any we’ve seen in her modern shows yet. The headpiece was right out of the Mackie-1974 playbook. Great choice, so much better than the long Cherwigs which just seem like a poor-mans version of the real dynamic mane she had. And again, her vocal on this song was the best I’ve heard her do. She just pulled back a bit and didn’t belt it all to the back of the arena. It was lovely. In fact, on the last note, the back-up singers buoyed her out and supported her so she wouldn’t have to yell it down. It sounded amazing, so clear, clean and quiet – which Cher can so totally do and it’s arresting.

Apparently Cher sang “Love Hurts” here during earlier shows but this too was dropped. Bummer because I haven’t heard her sing this song.  Question: was it the rocking 80s version or the lilting 70s version?

Chershow-afterall Cher movie clips played on their own without bleeding into “After All” which was nice, gave them their due. Then Chercame back out on a boat to sing the song in another Snow Queen outfit. The set for this was lovely and simple, described by Canadian Press as “an eye-popping misty lake with tendrils of light hanging down as Cher arrives solo on stage in a gondola looking like the Queen of Narnia.” The boat floated across the stage and when it hit the back wall, Cher stepped out to walk off stage and I got a real Truman Show flashback and could picture her flailing her arms against the wall and mourning her all-too public life and then stepping through a door in the wall after which we never see her again. In fact, that may have been an eerie way to end the show.

But Cher did come back in jeans and a white shirt, reminiscent again of the past tours. Well, her belt is more sparkly. I appreciated the amped up sparkle of the show. It reminded me of the TV show sequins which used to catch  the set lights and beam out stars to the TV screen. I loved those old 70s-sequined star-effects, I really did. Cher sang “Walking in Memphis” which was a treat and another welcome ballad. I don’t think I’ve heard her do this one live. But then we had to go through “The Shoop Shoop Song” which is not one of my favorites and I missed Patty to help me through it like a mother with a grumpy, sullen child which this song makes me feel like I am. I did appreciate the pom-pom outfits on the dancers.

More clips of Cher’s TV show and her phoenix-like outfit evolutions including a clip of the 1979 beginning of the Cher and Other FantasiesTV special. Cher sang “Aint No Body’s Business” which is yet another quintessential Cher song sung many times on her TV shows. Never gets old.

Cher comes back in the latest incarnation of her hole-fit to sing “Strong Enough” and “TurnBack Time.” During our show she commented that the hats wouldn’t fit atop her big 80s-hair wig. She tried to throw one hat back out into the crowd but accidentally threw down her microphone instead. We love stuff like that.

Apparently at other shows Cherrisquély quipped: “Do you know how hard it is to kneel down when you’re 62? …I guess it depends on what I’m kneeling down for. I’m old; I’m not dead.” I liked these old jokes. They play well and ironically never do indeed get old.

We stood up sometime during “Turn Back Time” per usual. Then she left; then we cheered;Chershow-believe2then she came back for “Believe.” It’s all pretty rote at this point. I loved her sparkly-feathery-fit for the final number. It’s my favorite Believe-fit so far. Didn’t like the space-fits all that much.

Ubiquitous confetti fell with what looked like Cher dollars. My friend Julie told me she’s so over the confetti-spewing concert endings but I still like them. I’ve never actually been in the confetti yet. During my closest Cher shows (3rd row at Jones Beach and first row to the side at Staples Center) we has, alas, no confetti or Cher dollars to grab at.

And that was the show. There’s a LOT going on for us to chew on. Here’s what critics had to say:

The Show Had Issues

  • Thestrippodcast had four suggestions for the show:
    1. “Fewer costumes” - didn’t like the constant changes where they felt “babysat for $250-a-seat by videos available on YouTube” [not blown up that big! - CS] and when Cher wasn’t even hanging around for longer than 1 or 2 songs.
    2. “Drop the knock-off Cirque de Soleil” – [I agree. It’s just not new anymore. - CS] –felt the aerialists are too derivative of Mystere and Zumanity: “already done and done better at neighboring hotels.” The Las Vegas Review Journal also mentioned a similarity to Ka.
    3. “Drop the YMCA” [Nooooo! I love the puppet! No, No, No, No, No! Besides, critics keep saying VillagePeople impersonators? Did they miss the brilliant puppet?]
    4. Act your venue – apparently there were confusing security issues. USA Today agreed saying, “the concert-like sensibility led to confused expectations when groups of fans raced to the front…only to be diverted back.” [You know who you are! - CS] The Las Vegas Review Journal also emphasized the show was a “cross between a rock concert and a permanent production.”
  • USA Today called the show “fan-pleasing but borrowed heavily from a variety of tours and acrobats doing sequences also seen in neighboring hotels” and continued “the production felt like a Cher-scored Bob Mackie fashion show.”
  • Richard Aborwitz in LA Times agreed there was a reliance on footage you can see on YouTube during costume changes and that it “makes for significant dips in energy.” He goes on to say “a lot of choreography is hopelessly stuck in the 80s with flinch-worthy results.” Overall, Aborwitz writes a smart and fair review but says “Few have mishandled a Bob Dylan cover as inanely as Cher’s half-hearted “All I Really Want to Do.” [Hmm…some music critics feel hers is one of the best Dylan covers . Aborwitz does have ultimately great things to say about the show (see below) but believes “the show runs longer than the energy and ideas deserve.”
  • Canadian Press (BrandonSun.com) discusses the costume change issue: “Slipping into a new snippet of costume requires constant time-filling and continuity suffers early on in the show. Crowd chatter during between-song videos did little to foster momentum, sometimes forcing Cher to start rolling the boulder up the mountain again one song at a time… As an entertainer, Cher continues to defy time. Her new show's timing needs a little work, however.”
  • BroadwayWorld asks “is bigger the best it could be?” and says that although die-hards will love it and neutrals will think it’s ‘good,’ there are “so many costumes, so many people running hither and yon, the fact that seems to get lost is Cher.” And here they have a good point: “She is very funny. She can act but we don’t get enough of her being her” [true but, like Dolly Parton, this is probably more an inflexible strategy than oversight. - CS] “…and before you say she is all those costumes, wigs and flashing lights, please consider that she is also this gifted woman.” [You’re singin to the choir, BroadwayWorld!] To this point Jeremy Railton, the production designer, said this without irony in another interview: “The hope is that people don’t come out singing the scenery. The scenery just supports what she does.”
  • Joe Brown of the Las VegasSun asks “Is it good?” and answers with “Does it matter? By the clock she’s not even on stage for a good 30 minutes of her 90 minute distractaganza…but no one really minded….For years now Cher has been essentially staging her own memorial service (one that she can’t resist but show up for to see just how much everybody still loves her)…Cher pioneered the multi-media circus in the 80s, even before her endless farewell tours…a barrage of self-celebrating video montages interrupted by songs which were themselves mere excuses for a costume exhibition. The much-ballyhooed Cher show is more of the same, writ large.” Brown laments that Cher doesn’t speak enough and wonders why she bothers with covers of “Love is a Battlefield” and “All I Really Want to Do” [Huh? Dope, do your homework! - CS] Brown agrees with other critics that there are “lots of dead spots during costume changes with the now over-familiar dancers and acrobats. Could someone please invent some time-filling business not so Cirque-ular?”
  • TheStripPodcast and USA Today mention some vertical tear in the screen. A fan on the Cher list mentioned the video rip too and the fact that he heard many dancers had miscues [How could you tell? - CS]. Another fan replied that Cherdid forget the words to “I Found Someone” but that it was endearing [I agree. - CS] and there was no rip, it was “merely a line” and continued lamenting why we all gotta be so negative all the time. [But honestly, talking about show glitches is so much less boring that the “She’s so awesome…isn’t she just so awesome” endless bit – I can’t help channeling Stewey’s voice when I do that. – CS]. LA Times even catches the first night flubs: “missed cues by the star herself…missed a couple of opening vocal lines and seemed to stumble on words to one song.”
  • Another longtime Cher Scholar, Travis Wisdom notes that Cher“moves with much more caution” than she did during Farewell and Believe shows. That she may need “more oomph.” Joe Brown disagrees on this point, however. To him Cher is “not racing around the way she used to…she stays put…with minimal dance movements that are maximally effective.”

Accolades for the Show

On Cher

  • The San Francisco Examiner calls her “a class act.”
  • Slots Today calls her the Queen of the Strip.
  • KTNV.com calls her the diva of all divas.
  • Canadian Press says “Cher has always been worth watching.”
  • Ann Powers of the LA Times said “the Colosseum environment is suited to extravagant immortals…and the ultimate Colo dweller arrived, Cher.” She called Cher “the icon of pop reinvention…beloved by freaks and squares, gay liberationists and straight soccer moms, NetFlix-renting couch potatoes (that would be me) and rump-shaking disco denizens” and says Cher’s incarnations are “sexy unpretentiousness straight out of the Mae West handbook.”
  • After all of his critical remarks, Richard Abowitz in the LA Times still calls Cher “the new Queen of Vegas.” He says Cher is now “critic proof” and that “like Mick Jagger or Frank Sinatra, Cher, 62, presents to her audience an ideal fantasy of aging.”
  • Joe Brown, likewise in the Las Vegas Sun, was blunt about the flaws but agrees that “unlike almost any other artist, Cher is immune to reviews...and face it, whatever anyone says, you’re going anyway and all your friends are going and are begging you to score them tickets...Whatever she had, Cher’s still got it.” He continues that “She’s curvier and it looks good on her. Just try to look away from that face like a Modigliani sphinx. You may not even notice the platoon of dancers and projection screens.”

On the show

  • Longtime fan Eddie1420 posts on the fan lists: “I saw Cher every decade since S&C in 1971and this is without a doubt my favorite.”
  • Ann Powers of the LA Times called it a “Signature performance based upon her larger than life story” and that she has “crossed surprising musical boundaries” and manages to link classic pop forms to hippie rock, pop rock and disco. She calls the show “lavish, nonstop fun…full of her trademark glitter,” and that the monologue was endearing, she liked the sentimental emphasis on Sonny and the onscreen collage effects.
  • After Richard Abowitz catalogs the flaws in the show, he admitts “none of that matters. Cher has created a monstrously entertaining experience and (more than “A New Day”) captures a sort of ultimate state-of-the-art Vegas production…with eye-catching set changes…and better use of the Colosseum’s massive stage than any previous tenants. [Yeah, but what the heck does Jerry Seinfeld do? - CS]

    Abowitz calls it “Perfect Vegas spectacle…if there is a place in your heart for this style of entertainment, Cher offers a version that is light years in front of the competition…offering a more on-game diva than Midler is presenting. You will get the complete old-school Vegas experience updated to the best of 2008 taste and technology.”
  • Joe Brown says the show “provides everything you would want from a Cher show” and he contends that Cheroffers no pretense and is “working smart.” He loves the “gorgeous and hilarious getups” and thinks of the miscues that “maybe Cher should keep the flubs…she shrugs them off.” [I agree…it’s like a life-lesson she performs for us. - CS]

On her sound and voice:

  • USA Today notes her low rumble of a belting voice.
  • The San Francisco Examiner states “as for her singing, she sounds good, her vocals are strong.”
  • Ann Powers said her “band behaved like rockers” and that Cher is “underrated as a vocalist perhaps because her dusky contralto is so different from the songbird voice most female pop stars cultivate. Cher has always deviated attention away from her singing skills.”
  • Richard Abowitz states “Time has lowered her singing [not really all that much. - CS] to a darker-hued sound that within her range is as powerful as a punch…her power is what makes the show so intense at its best points. She certainly does not hide behind her background singers.”
  • Joe Brown of the Las Vegas Sun says “her voice is notably deep, dark and strong.”

Okay. So now we’ve slogged through all that...

Stay with me. Seriously, hang in there. There’s some real Cher scholarship at the end of the tunnel here.

This issue of “rehashing” still needs to be reckoned with. Cher said, according to Robin Leach, “the show takes my favorite elements from the touring shows and kicks them up a notch.” She almost admits it’s the same show.

Joe Brown ultimately comments that “no one expects interpretive shadings” from her show… “A Cherperformance is sui generis [smarty-pants for “unique”], an excuse for fans to bask in her fabulousness.”

But is that all there is? A plastic decoder ring who’s puzzle just says “drink more Ovaltine”?

Some writers now claim Cher has entered a state of immunity from criticism. That may well be but my first question then is why? Why do we think this has happened? She’s certainly hit a career milestone. She’s being compared to fucking Sinatra now. Maybe before critics responded to her with stunned disbelief and now they’ve simply graduated to awe and respect. But what put her over to this next level? Was it Vegas? Was it earned from the accomplishments of the farewell tour?

And assuming she is immune proof now, why wouldn’t she take bigger creative risks now and do a more contemplative/interpretive show instead of the circus v 3.0?

One writer thinks Cher is simply too smart. She’s following the dollar. And despite what critics and fans (who are ultimately critics themselves) say, she knows what makes the most money.

But if this were truly the case, would she have never left Vegas in the first place back in 1980-something for pittance of a salary on Broadway? Maybe that was then, this is now. Maybe now she’s more about the Benjamins than her own artistic growth.

And let’s keep focus on this review-proof concept. Is there something built into her that is essentially review proof. Because she’s not suddenly review proof, is she? Has she always been review proof and that explains her perseverance? Maybe now critics are just getting a clue.

Or…is it the power of the circus antics (the wigs, costumes, sets, dramatic backstory) what has made her review proof so late in her game? An insecure Cher might say the later…but is that really true?

Looking back over 40 years: Sonny’s vision of Chersinging torch songs under a big orange light bulb wasn’t much of a circus, although it was larger than life. Silkwood was no circus, Mask was no circus, Moonstruck was no circus. Back then she was taking critical risks and scoring big. And I would argue that skits like Laverne have that same that smart brave quirkiness that is solidly quintessential to Cher.

My feelings on the show:

We’re fans and maybe we’ve seen too much. But then again, almost everyone has seen The Farewell Tour - it went on so long as a must-see show.

  1. The set list repetitive. For years I yearned for Cher to stop singing covers in concert and start singing her popular hits. She did it and now I’m longing for a few more covers.
  2. To my count, four costumes were derivative of earlier outfits. Not all of them. Just four.  So everybody calm down! However, since the costume changes are such a big ordeal (From the set department, Winky Fairoth was heard saying “Changing Cher is like an Indy 500 pit stop.” Luxe Life estimates it takes 3-5 minutes to get in an out of costumes), it’s a big issue. We miss Cher for too long during the breaks and no one seems to be raving about the filler-bats anymore. Some outfits should go. They define an aspect of Cherbut they shouldn’t consume her show. I find it interesting that Cher is more willing to cut songs than costume changes in a show that, only by Vegas-standards, is too long. And if some fits should go, it should be one of the repeat fits. And Turn Back Time trumps the Take Me Home and After All-fits. 
  3. More big props. Old shows had the 20-ft stiletto, the mechanical bull, the elephant, even Sonny & Cher Show had those big King Kong fingers. This show has the spider climber and the big Viking boat but there’s nothing insane. Critic Joe Brown pined for a big naval cannon.  Even more can come up from the floor and be projected out into the audience. There’s room to grow there.
  4. Which brings us to the fact that we love Cher and want more Cher herself. If singing and changing warrior outfits must be done, we would even sit fine with more new skits, which would hearken back to her variety show life. Live skits would be preferable but even films like Laverne’s would suffice.  I can’t stop commenting on how Cher really, really shined in that skit.
  5. My bf proposed the idea that Turn Back Time was the show's theme but I think that’s a wishful stretch. We wanted to think there was a theme but here wasn’t. I know a theme is heady and un-circus-like, but torch and lounge are also a part of Cher’s timeline. And the show needs some cohesion…even as a circus. And smart can be fun.

    A touring concert may not need a theme but anything that hints of a Cirque-De-Something theatrical feels like it does. And Cherhas built-in themes to chose from. Her “I Just Gotta Be Me/Aint No Body’s Business” is a theme just waiting to be formed. Cher even explored this already in her 1978 TV Special where she spoke to her mother about not feeling special enough.

    Pump the theatricals back up a bit. Cher has a lifetime of venting most likely itching to come out. She could comment on tabloids, Los Angeles, or veterans – none of those overly politically charged topics. Sound too risky? Well, if Cher seems to be getting a free pass these days, why not take a stab at letting us know how she really feels. Again, the Big Rock Show (BRS) elements are ingrained in the show. We all know she can rock. Fan Jimmy Dean expressed a desire for some avant-guarde/torch/lounge/pop theater. And I agree – that would be sweet, really sweet. But not very likely. If we could get some pop theater similar to U2, that's compromise.
  6. Maybe an exit to match that entrance.

And that’s my take on it. Yes, the set list, 4 costumes, dancing and acrobats were repetitive. But yes it was a notch better anyway with new sets, videos and somenew infusions. Yes, her audience may be high rollers now and not fans (and possibly not even her legacy); but hasn’t everybody in the Universe already seen the last tour?

There are these conflicts but I would definitely go back to see it again… and soon. And I didn’t feel that way about the Farewell shows. But then driving there and the arena parking was such a hassle.

For the Vegas show, the pieces are all there. They just need to be connected together better and Cher needs to ride out the music longer. But at the end of the day I’m a Cher fan because of that amazing voice. And I can’t over-emphasize how well she sang and how amazing the sound quality of the venue is. I’ve heard no one mention that yet and it kills me because it was remarkable. I could close my eyes and just listen to it. And all the costumes and all the big props disappear and that voice is still there; and without it I don’t believe we’d care about anything else.

And I think Sonny would back me up here.

The two most interesting reviews can be found here:
Richard Abowitz in the LA Times

Joe Brown in the Las Vegas Sun  (his last line is great!)

Also of note:

The Ann Powers in the LA Times

Dave Surratt of Las Vegas City Life posted a review that’s fascinating with its insult/accolade combos. He’s a critic who would normally post something scathing about a Cher show but now is making begrudging theories on why it’s now okay to like Cher.

Again, I apologize for the length of this. How do you think I felt typing it all out with long fingernails? Now I need to get back to some wedding planning. Set a date before the fabulous California gay community books up all the wedding florists!

   

Comments

youngbees

Loved your review and I enjoyed reading ALL of it! More please!!!!

Glad you had a great time Mary, can't wait for August.

jimmydeanpartee

thanks mary.... i think my favorite pics were the parking garage statues.....

ANYWAY, even thought i would enjoy this concert and love to have it on DVD.... LET's BE HONEST....
after Cher talking about forever
how this THEATRE was like no concert hall ever before offered and that a
performer would be able to do the most amazing things here; WELL----

once again, CHER has recycled the same ole routines and songs, including some of the same costumes.... To me, that is a big disappointment...

This is VEGAS!!!! not a concert tour based on her recent album and videos and movie... SHE SHOULD have drop all that commerical stuff(ie, we can hear and see her hit songs/videos from the privacy of our homes), we don't need to keep paying for the same old things....

SHE should have come up with different songs, including covers of stuff we've all wished for, a different entrance and surprises..... It, also, sounds to me like, she depended way to much on VIDEO.(once again, I have all those in my home to view.)

AS Mary, said, CHER no longer has to prove herself. Cher could have done over-the-top things that have nothing to do with her own hit songs, videos and movies....
Stuff that would have been
memorable and refreshing...

I feel it could have been more along the lines of the OLD variety shows... since that is what VEGAS is about...
Cher should have been more personable, and live perhaps??????(think Babs and Bette, here... They offer their fans "themselves" in concert. NOT their latest hit song and video... and then, ok, thanks! Bye! Goodnight!)

jimmy

OL' WELLLLLLLLL...

Robrt Pela

Mary:
What does it say about me that I looked forward all week to your musings on Mlle. LaPierre's new show?

Thank you for posting them. I wasn't looking forward all that much to the Caesar's show, but now that you've told us about it, I am. Clips of second-string Sixties hits ("It's The Little Things"; "Sunny")? I'm there!

Thanks again.

R.

Rosa61148

Great review Mary
I enjoyed your comments on The Way of Love."I am happy to see a ballad in the show again. Shows like this need a breath, a zen moment from time to time"
My only disappointment was loosing "Love Hurts"

jimmydeanpartee

the way of love has always been in the cher concerts....
she needs to do more ballads and variety show stuff...

Cher Scholar

Actually, she dropped even "The Way of Love" somewhere during the Farewell Tour. Three of the last four shows I saw in LA and Las Vegas didn't include it.

jimmydeanpartee

3 of the last 4 shows?
OMG, how many Cher Concerts have you seen?
Were you at the Hollywood Bowl?

Cher Scholar

Yup...of the Farewell shows, I was at the very last Hollywood Bowl show. I also saw two shows at Staples Center in downtown LA, two at the MGM in Las Vegas, one in Anaheim and one out at Glen Helen pavilion where i was robbed of all my Cher-bootie. The fan behind me grabbed my bag from under my seat. Outrageous!

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