Cher at Target Center, 6/11/14
Photo by Steve Cohen
With Cyndi Lauper
Target Center, Minneapolis
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
There's a certain air of speechlessness when you witness a Cher concert. So many songs. So many costumes and characters. There's so much joyful reflection in the stunning life she's led from the audience's point of view. Cher stands in small group of performers whose persona transcends their age and themselves as just an individual.
Cher, who turned 68 only a few weeks ago, brought her life and music in all its compartmentalized glory to a sold-out Target Center last night. The spectacular evening of old and new songs, vintage and modern fashion, and dance all provided an inspiring sendoff for the pop icon. She overwhelmingly promised this was her last performance in the Twin Cities on what she insists is her true Farewell Farewell Tour.
With fair warning a voice from above came over the sound system as everyone found their seats, "Hey! Is anybody out there? Hold on to your socks. I'll be right there?"
As the room went dark, a film montage exploded on stage. Rapid shots of Cher from every video, movie, magazine, TV show, and record cover in her career flickered on large silk curtains. Once they dropped, Cher was revealed standing on top of a 15-foot pillar. Starting off the evening of many costumes in a Cleopatra-style motif, Cher was surrounded by her dancers as she was lowered closer to the stage and toward her erupting fans.
Photos by Steve Cohen
The booming bass and house sound of "Woman's World" started the first of new songs Cher performed from her 25th studio album, Closer to the Truth, throughout the night. Immediately indicating this wasn't only going to be a greatest hits show, this was Cher raising a fist for herself. Not only is she an icon, but someone who even late in her career can still deliver the pop perfection.
Despite the high level of well-earned boasting about her career and status as a top-tier diva, Cher didn't take herself too seriously, often poking fun at her age. "I love standing atop that pillar. Always at risk for plunging to my death. It's about your happiness. I do it for you. At 68, I ask you, 'What's your Granny doing tonight?'" she asked to wild applause.
As a full-on show, Cher spared no expense changing characters and personas. Like musical theater, each song followed a theme and provided a glimpse into the different eras and characters Cher is known for. The first of many costume changes through the evening also gave time for her amazing dancers to give transition for each piece.
A pair of cages on chains dangled from the ceiling as her gothed-out dance team swirled about, giving room for a coffin to rise up and Cher to reappear as a vampiress for another newer track, "Dressed to Kill."
Back to the '60s for a warm montage of Sonny and Cher clips, and she returned in big earrings and vintage fashion. For the pair of duets with Sonny, who was onscreen delivering his own verses for "The Beat Goes On" and "I Got You Babe," the audience of beaming smiles rose up again for an anticipated sing-along. It was a precious moment as Cher remarked about Sonny, "He was such a ham. I know he is loving this!"
More transitions through her music had Cher decked out Egyptian-style for "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves," where she looked like all three wrapped into one. A meditative drum and dancer passage allowed for Cher to change into a Native headdress for "Half Breed" that had the audience again cheering her on. Finally an elongated series of famous lines in her many starring roles ended with her triumphant Oscar speech in '88 for Moonstruck. The stage was set in dressing room mirrors with her dancers in striptease regalia from a more recent film hit, Burlesque, with "Welcome to Burlesque."
Despite all the glamorous staging and over-the-top costumes, perhaps the most rewarding segment of the night was when the stage was just Cher alone. Sitting on a stool she chilled out and delivered a wonderful "Haven't Seen the Last of Me" that really showed her voice.
It was inevitable when Cher changed later on to her late-'80s sexified persona, somehow pulling off the same '80s semi-see-through outfit she wore in the famous videos "I Found Someone" and "If I Could Turn Back Time." Mimicking the famous naval ship video that was shown on the screen, the song carried the audience to greater heights. Another change and things got futuristic with a dubstep intro as she returned and got the crowd on their feet, singing along for a joyful "Believe."
Photo by Steve Cohen
To finish the night, Cher returned as a religious icon. Floating above the audience by wire she reached each corner of the arena while singing the final song of the night, her own version of "I Hope You Find It." Mid-flight, it seemed the energy she projected was so large, the P.A. blew out in the arena. After about half a minute, without missing a beat, Cher's voice returned to the speakers to ravenous applause to finish up the song.
As she landed back on stage and gave a proud bow and "namaste" to each corner, Cher exited toward backstage leaving everyone feeling blessed, exhausted, and with satisfied smiles all the while giving one another hugs.
Critic's Bias: Scored big points for taking my mom. From the moment I entered the arena with the herd of celebrators all ready to get down and feel the love, I realized Cher's fabulous power. Each song reminded me the canon of musical revelation she brings is really a precious thing. I began to understand the gift made from the spirit of an icon like Cher. I really relished it. After the lights came back up, I sat speechless, knowing it would last forever.
The Crowd: The longest line to the ladies' room I've ever seen.
Overheard in the Crowd:"Oy, not another costume change!? What time is it anyway?"
Photo by Steve Cohen
The Opener: It was awesome to see Cyndi Lauper again after seeing her club gig in town last October. As the opener, Cyndi entered the stage from the back of the arena in a boxer's robe. Limited to an abbreviated set, she gave a quick run-through of her hits accented by her trademark, often meandering between-song banter. It was cool to see her on a large stage again for "Money Changes Everything," "Witness," "All Through the Night," and "The Goonies 'R' Good Enough", and she knocked it out of the park with a sparse and unique arrangement of her musical hero Etta James's "At Last."
I'll Kiss You
All Through the Night
Into the Nightlife
Sex Is in the Heel
Time After Time
Money Changes Everything
Girls Just Want to Have Fun
The Goonies 'R' Good Enough
Dressed to Kill
The Beat Goes On
I Got You Babe
Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves
Welcome to Burlesque
You Haven't Seen the Last of Me
Take It Like a Man
Walking in Memphis
Just Like Jesse James
I Found Someone
If I Could Turn Back Time
I Hope You Find It
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