Although no one is able to actually “turn back time,” Cher’s performance at Nationwide Arena on Sunday night proved she is able to slow time to a crawl, in which she does not age and her voice sounds as good as it did when she began her career in the 1960s.
The best word that comes to mind when describing the spectacle that was Cher’s third farewell tour (which is iconic in and of itself) is “extravagant.”
Cher’s set opened with an epic video montage of highlights of her career set to the song “Woman’s World,” and the crowd was at a frenzy when she finally emerged in a bright orange curly wig, donned in a black and gold sparkly dress with a matching Viking-esque headdress.
Honestly, I would love to pop into the brain of whomever is tasked with designing Cher’s outfits.
She and her dancers changed costumes for nearly every song, but the common theme was sequins, sheer lace, and bright colors — sans the iconic all-black lace getup she donned to sing “If I Could Turn Back Time.”
I need to take a minute to talk about the physique and stamina of this woman. At 72 years old, she was dancing around on stage flanked by a squad of dancers at least 40 years her junior. However, with her flamboyant wigs, signature dramatic eye makeup, and cheekbones that could cut glass, Cher was always the focal point of the show.
After “Woman’s World,” she rolled through “Strong Enough” and “All or Nothing” and rode a rather creepy animatronic elephant onstage for “Gayatra Mantra.”
There were also some really touching moments as well; she sang two songs from her days performing with her late ex-husband Sonny Bono. His face was projected on an onstage screen and they performed their duet “I Got You Babe” together.
There was a rather fascinating song and dance rendition of her song “Burlesque,” followed by her ABBA covers of Waterloo, SOS and Fernando. I was disappointed that she did not cover “Mamma Mia,” “Gimme Gimme Gimme” or “Dancing Queen,” but that’s what I get for being basic.
Cher is truly a woman who just does not give a damn what anyone else thinks of her. She knows she is fabulous, and she has the musical library and the acting resume to prove it. There was a movie montage of clips of some of her most famous scenes from the movies she had been in — and, as she reminded the audience, she has an Oscars award to show for it.
She also took time to chat with the crowd, in her own eccentric manner — the way she name-dropped her celebrity friends might have sounded pretentious coming from anyone else, but coming from her felt organic due to the nature of her star-studded career and because of how candidly she spoke of these interactions.
For example, the audience heard about the time Jack Nicholson told her she was “too old” and “not sexy enough” to star in “The Witches of Eastwick” (which she did anyway), or the time that she didn’t want to go on David Letterman’s show because she thinks “he’s an asshole.”
I think everyone in the crowd was willing to hang on to all the words coming from a bonafide queen wearing a rhinestone string bikini, thigh-high boots and red sequin pasties, who has also been eligible to collect social security benefits for the last decade.
Cher’s set was preceded by the inimitable Nile Rodgers & Chic, which was so fun to watch.
Rodgers spoke of their days performing at Studio 54 in Brooklyn, so it was really cool to see those songs performed live and imagine myself coming of age in a different life where I was able to enjoy hits like “Le Freak” and “Good Times” while partying in Studio 54 instead of my actual reality, where the neighborhood night club is Bullwinkles.
All in all, the concert was a strong testament to strong women — no matter how old you are, no matter what people say about you or expect of you — at the end of the day, you are the one who decides if you are a fabulous queen. Cher made that decision a long time ago and has been reaping the rewards throughout the course of her illustrious career, topping it off with this final tour that is sending her out in perfect style.