The name ‘Cher’ evokes many different thoughts and feelings for a wide variety of people, across many decades and generations. Myself, I think of ‘multi-talented’, ‘goddess’, ‘spunk’ and ‘personality’. She is a woman who has brought unlimited entertainment to millions of people but always in her own way. A music, television, movie and fashion icon, among other feathers in her bow, Cher is in a sphere of her own and deserves every accolade that has come her way across her illustrious career.
Treating fans to an extended version of her fabulous Mardi Gras appearance earlier this year, tonight’s show was nothing short of spectacular. The streets surrounding the venue were heaving before our main event even began. Many ‘Cher’ copies were spotted shimmering and glistening amongst the traffic congestion. A very vocal and rowdy sold-out crowd was dancing away inside WIN Entertainment Centre to support DJ, Andrew McClelland. Flaunting their sparkly concert threads and kissing on screen, the Wollongong throng was very impressive. The ‘gong’ really came out to play and it was an eye opener as I never knew the area had such exhibitionists! But, this is a Cher gig, so the coolest kids in town were, without a doubt, going to be here tonight.
After following her amazing 50 + year career since my own childhood, I had always wished to see this fabulous woman live and knew this would be a very special show. However, it is something entirely different when you actually do, finally, get to see Cher in concert! As soon as she appears for our first song of ‘Woman’s World’, it’s on. The glamour, the glitz, and just her mere presence, is intoxicating. The arena erupts and how can you not be in awe? This was the first of my many ‘Lord Have Mercy’ remarks after realising Cher looks better than most of the people on the entire planet! We find out later, from Cher herself, that she can do a 5 minute plank. Is anyone else watching their calorie count since the show? I know I have been. Yes, Caramello Koala, I’m looking at you.
Our next track ‘Strong Enough’ continues the dance vibes and I realise I’ve simply written in my notepad ‘sounding wicked’… ‘fox’.…..enough said. We were then regaled with some great Hollywood, David Letterman and life stories. She goes into detail about the time when she won her Oscar, and didn’t feel like she belonged to the movie world, after feeling like she never belonged to the music world. But we now know that she has surpassed and eclipsed most of the careers of her peers in either field and belongs in her own personal category of ‘life force’. What a remarkable legacy.
I loved ‘Gayatri Mantra’ as Cher rides a costume elephant on stage, the vibrant colours lighting up the venue. Then some ‘All Or Nothing’ until we are shown a Sonny and Cher montage which weaved into ‘The Beat Goes On’. I just adore her shimmering, rainbow sequin pants. Stunning! I also loved her duet with Sonny, on one of the first songs I ever heard as a child, ‘I Got You Babe’. Then onto another change of set and costume for ‘Gypsys, Tramps and Thieves’. My notes say ‘outfit hot’ as I’m shamelessly gushing within myself as the night progresses. I’m so blown away by every performance, of every song, and the phenomenal dancers just add so much to this show. Being taken away on this aural and visual adventure was an absolute delight.
‘Half-Breed’ again, just wonderful, and then onto some Burlesque with ‘You Haven’t Seen The Last Of Me Yet’, ‘Welcome To Burlesque’ and ‘Lie To Me’. Another smashing outfit and cracking vocals, with a lavish, starry sky twinkling above the stage set, you could just drift off and pretend to be on planet Cher. As the tour name of ‘Here We Go Again!’ from her latest hit movie ‘Mamma Mia 2’ gets a nod, we then groove to a trio of Abba songs ‘Waterloo’, ‘SOS’ and ‘Fernando’ from her latest studio album ‘Dancing Queen’. Who knew that Cher could pull an Abba as well as Abba themselves? Is there anything this woman cannot do?
The cheering, whistling and shouts of ‘I love you‘ barely stopped throughout the show, or the jaw dropping looks of wonder from the crowd. A beautiful rendition of ‘After All’ was next and then an Elvis tribute of ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ and ‘Walking In Memphis’, as Cher recalls her own youthful obsession with all things Elvis. A great story of inspiration and musical influence, this gives us another glimpse into some of the things that make up how Cher ticks.
We all love ‘The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s In His Kiss)’ but I was extremely satisfied when Cher returned to the stage for ‘I Found Someone’ and ‘If I Could Turn Back Time’ in that unforgettable black outfit. With such dominant and moving vocals, hearing these songs live gives them an extra depth and energy. As she sashayed across the stage in that outfit, looking like the timeless and flawless creature that she is, I wish I could explain the looks on everyone’s faces. Wow! Talk about risque and titillating, the crowd just went berserk. Some tour programs, no doubt, were in good use fanning away the heat and steam from many a male and female fan.
Our finale of ‘Believe’ brought about the last gleaming costume change, with a multitude of colours sparkling across each venue wall. More dancing, more singing, everyone was buzzing as we lapped up the last bars and gave Cher a standing ovation. After years of always admiring her, I can happily state that I am now a bona fide ‘Cher groupie’.
What else is there to say about this show? With an opulent stage production, the brilliant dancers and back up band, not to mention the many exquisite and flamboyant costume and wig changes, this is an exceptionally well put together show; a theatrical artwork come to life. And, of course, Cher is really something else, goddess is an understatement. I felt like a million bucks after watching this show, Cher sounded and looked like a billion! This is top tier entertainment and a must see. Sydney, you have the last three chances to indulge on this current Australian tour. Bon Appetit!
© MARINA KNEZEVIC 2018. All rights reserved
Photography by Anna Bartle at rockchique.net
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