Cross this one off the bucket list. I’ve seen Cher live. And I’m here to tell you, she delivers like Dominoes. It’s hard to tell kids today what a groundbreaker Cher was through decade after decade. Anything any female singer did, she did it first. Before Lady GaGa was born this way, Cher broke the mold of what a female pop singer could be — not cute and blonde and soprano, but dark, exotic and contralto. Before Katy Perry and her ilk were bringing multimedia extravaganzas to their concerts, Cher was doing it and bringing it to Vegas. And Madonna’s much heralded gift of reinvention? Nothing compared to the many lives of Cher. Even more impressive, Cher scaled the heights of fame and achievement from the absolute depths of poverty and deprivation. In fact, with the possible exception of Louis Armstrong, I can’t think of another performer who came from less and achieved more. Abandoned by a boozing drug-taking father, shuffled through a series of homes every time her mother took up with another man (even landing in an orphanage briefly), Cher knew she wanted a way out. She says she couldn’t imagine that she could sing or act, so she just decided she would be famous. That became her goal and she did it in spades. In every field. She won Golden Globes and an Academy Award for acting, won acclaim on Broadway, topped charts for decades in several different genres of music, launched fashion trends, was one of the first women to take control of the financial aspects of her career, stepped forward as a humanitarian. She even made a success of infomercials for her own designs. If I didn’t love her music, I’d pretend to, just to honor her.
Although I did worry a bit about the show. I have a bad habit of seeing great singers when it’s almost too late. I saw Frank Sinatra when he was so senile he couldn’t remember the words to his songs. I saw the Eagles when Glenn Frey was becoming so weak he had to do the entire show sitting down. How would 71 year old Cher handle a grueling Vegas show?
Like she’s still the top of her game. Which, in her way, she is.
Sure, she can’t dance constantly like Britney Spears. But she doesn’t need to. She’s Cher, bitches! She wisely had a troop of high-energy dancers and Cirque du Soleil style acrobats providing the spectacle. So she could just be Cher.
Here’s how else Cher conserved her Cher-ness to provide a full two hours of Cher Fabulousness:
She also interspersed the big production numbers with some very touching personal moments. Music that influenced her and why her 40th birthday was horrible. (The producer of The Witches of Eastwick called her to say that he didn’t want her cast, Jack Nicolson didn’t want her cast because she was “not pretty enough, not a good enough actress and too old”.) And while the big screen played clips of the two of them together, she told stories about life with Sonny Bono. A segment that included her singing a “duet” with him again.
And speaking of costumes, she pulled out all the favorites.
To give you a taste, here’s a video I found on YouTube that seems to show the same dancers, sets and production of Believe as in her current show. (Check out the Cirque du Soleil acrobatics.)
Yes, Cher asks: “Do You Believe…?” And I have to say, I believe in Cher.