There was no shortage of Hollywood glamour for Cher’s return to Sunrise Florida tonight; and I’m not talking about just Cher. The audience for the most part was dressed to the nine’s as statuesque drag queens made their way around gladly taking pictures with many of those in attendance. After all, this is a Cher show and it is in South Florida. I would be remiss if I failed to mention there was also a spattering of men dressed as sailors (remember the “If I Could Turn Back Time” video) in all their regalia ready to party the night away with the Queen of the Divas.
Anyone who knows me will tell you within the first few minutes of an introduction I am a HUGE Cher fan and have been for over 40 years. Yes, we go back a long way her and I; which is one of the main reasons no matter how many times she comes back for her ‘Farewell Tour’ (I’ve lost count) you can bet your bottom dollar I will be there. Tonight was obviously no exception. Cyndi Lauper was once again Cher’s opening performer and had the audience eating out of the palm of her hand. Plowing effortlessly through her string of hits Lauper’s voice was as good as it’s ever been. If there’s one thing this woman can do it’s flawlessly belt out a tune like it’s no body’s business. Lauper delivered on all cylinders bring the 19,000 in attendance to their feet on more than one occasion. Her infamous walk through the audience was still a kick to watch and never gets old. Highlights from her set included a rousing version of “Money Changes Everything,” and “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” Ending her set with a heart stopping rendition of Etta James “At Last,” was the cherry on top a caramel sundae. But hold on to your hats, the evening was just beginning.
The screen wrapped around the stage began showing a montage of Cher clips and photos from over the years. It’s a great way to start the evening and a wonderful reminder of just how long she’s been around. At the ripe age of 67 (she turns 68 on May 20 2014) her appearance on stage was spectacular and in true Cher fashion. Opening with her dance number from the new CD (“Closer to the Truth,”) “Woman’s World,” got the already frenzied crowd hyped up to an 11. Her set list was a perfect representation of her 50 year career and certainly hit many of the highlights. I specifically loved the backdrop images for “Dressed to Kill,” which appeared more like a short film clip. Cher flanked by two women rises from a coffin in an ancient castle dungeon baring a vampire’s smile. Thank you Cher for combining two of my favorite things; you and vamps. The 1970’s segment always gets the biggest reaction especially when images of Sonny & Cher hit the backdrop. “The Beat Goes On,” seamlessly transitioned into Cher standing next to a large screen playing Sonny as they both sing “I Got You Babe,” to each other (aka Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole). The memories continued as “Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves,” “Dark Lady,” and “Half Breed,” (that was one heck of an Indian headdress) are next on the menu. Of course the staging was constantly moving and changing coinciding with the set list. Included were a gypsy caravan, Trojan horse, psychedelic 1960’s scene, and Burlesque stage. Highlights of her many films appeared in the screen as well as part of her Academy Award acceptance speech. This is always a crowd pleaser and a great reminder that she’s not merely a music icon. Of course it wouldn’t be a Cher show with numerous costume changes and wonderful dancers. I can’t tell you how many outfits, maybe a new one for every song or every other is about right. The dancers filled up the time well with Cirque du Soleil acrobatics both on and off the ground. Obviously none of these people are afraid of heights and apparently neither is Cher. Descending from the ceiling, rising on pedestals, and flying over the audience for the encore seems like just another day at the office for our heroine.
I can’t honestly say there was specific highlights to this evening’s performance. The whole show was fabulous and filled with ‘awe’ moments. If anything, the instrumental of “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” would have been made that much better had Cher come out and performed the song. Obviously filled with anticipation the moment 19,000 of us was waiting for had to be “I Found Someone,” and “If I Could Turn Back Time.” Yes, she wore the same Bob Mackie costume that set the world on its ear back in the 80’s. You remember, the little black number that didn’t have much fabric but did showcase her backside tattoos. I think they’re still there, I caught a quick glimpse. Cher still sounds good live and projects her voice with great tone and conviction. “Believe” sent the party over the top and her encore of “I Hope You Find It,” was simply magical and mesmerizing. The fact that she flew over my head on a platform didn’t hurt. Cher is a pro and there’s no disputing it. She’s got class, sass, and a boatload of chutzpa. Her shows are events, not merely a concert experience. Cher is timeless and a treat to see live on stage. But I’ll tell you I’m not fooled for a second. Billed as the “Farewell Farewell” tour I know she’ll be back for another round or maybe two. And like in the past I will be right alongside her. As someone once stated “After the nuclear holocaust there will be cockroaches and Cher.” If she keeps going the way she is that maybe not be far from the truth.