Cher at American Airlines Center, 03/26/14
As part of the most impressive parade of divas the Dallas area has seen in years (Diana Ross plays in April, Dolly Parton plays in May, Elton John played early March) Cher came to Dallas and proceeded to show them all how it should be done.
Upon entering American Airlines Center one was greeted by a Cher look-alike drag queen, who took it upon herself to act as host, gleefully taking pictures with those who asked. There were other drag queens attending of course, alongside little girls in makeup and men in leather, but most of the audience seemed to consist of 'Banger Sister' types whose wild years were behind them, accompanied by their middle-aged husbands.
Before the lights are dimmed and with the stage still closed, Cher's unmistakable voice can be heard drifting over the PA, casually asking " Can you hear me?" From backstage, she explained that she's been sitting in her costume waiting due to technical difficulties, and that the audience should not expect much. Clearly, everyone expects much from Cher. Still, the show surpassed anybody's expectations. It was original, yet vintage Cher, pleasing her old fans and her new ones with every trick under her feathered hairpiece.
A montage of Cher appeared on screen, from the '60s through every decade, hairstyle, and outrageous costume. When the curtain opened, we saw the amazing stage production: Moroccan lamps, dancers in glittery Egyptian costumes and Cher as regal as Cleopatra, both in appearance and demeanor, standing confidently atop a column, wearing the expected mighty headpiece of colorful feathers.
She opened with two strong dance numbers, "Woman's World" and " Strong Enough". Some of the male couples at the front were so enthusiastic that they appeared to exhibit early warning signs of a heart attack. She has, through her career, experimented with different musical styles, but dance/pop is clearly Cher's forte, and she has the audience under her spell immediately, like the hostess of a party that you never want to leave.
She was charming and natural, full of charisma, even as she talked about getting toilet paper stuck all over her freshly painted nails. She made fun of the fact that this tour comes after her Farewell Tour of 2002, which she promised then would be her last. She stated that this is her last tour, but as Cher would, winked as she said it.
The audience was treated to adorable footage of Sonny and Cher, and Cher lovingly recounted the story of Sonny, the 'weirdest person she ever met.' She sang "I Got You Babe" as a beyond-the-grave duet. She looked at Sonny adoringly, as she used to when they performed together, even though this caused her to turn her back at most of the audience, partly as an homage but perhaps for support. It was emotive and genuine.
Before the festive mood was completely extinguished, a marching band played briefly among the crowd. The stage had been converted into a circus of sorts, featuring a contortionist, a strong man, and ribbon dancer.
So many clips of Cher were shown throughout the night, it was like watching a really fun episode of 'Biography'. There was a video of Cher winning an Oscar for Moonstruck, where the crowd went absolutely wild, as if they were watching the ceremony live. This was possibly the most appreciative, involved audience that's ever come together -- equally euphoric whether she talked, sang, or appeared only onscreen, Cher could do no wrong. Frankly, she never did any wrong on this night. There was not a dull moment in the entire production and not one audience member with the usual A.D.D was present.
A highlight of the show was the song " Welcome to Burlesque", which in reality is a long Christina Aguilera music video interjected with bad dialogue. For this show, though, a burlesque number seemed ideal. Cher sang the high-note run at the end flawlessly and effortlessly, but her vocal ability really shone during " You haven't seen the last of me", which followed. It's pretty hard to believe that Cher is 67 years old.
For " If I could turn back time" Cher parodied herself by wearing a Cher Halloween costume: The outfit was almost identical as the one in the original video, scandalously minimal and see-through, paired with an enormous wig of permed curls. She was so engaging, her voice so infectious, that even the senior citizens stood for this one.
"Believe" turned the entire stadium into a club. This track was the first to ever use auto-tune, sadly paving the way for awful club songs by Eiffel 65 and Black-Eyed Peas, yet this seemed to be the favorite moment for many, maybe because the song is so familiar and danceable, possibly because the stage was full of color and the aerial dancers spun impressively above the air for the entire song.
For the grand finale, a beautiful constellation was projected and lit up the whole venue. Cher flew across the room serenely, seated on a simple contraption, to the surprise of the entire crowd, manically capturing the moment on their phones. Then, with the simple blowing of a kiss, she exited the stage without saying a word, leaving the audience both exhilarated and heartbroken to see her go.
For one night, Cher brought Vegas to Dallas and delivered the greatest spectacle of the year. She is a passionate performer and the show was full of emotion and humor. She bared her soul in a very creative way, by reminding us of all the joy she has brought past and present audiences, including her impressive film presence and incredible likability, then delivered all her talents with magic, nostalgia and drama, and proved why after 50 years, we still cannot take our eyes off her.