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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 4 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 27
Cher turns back time at Key Arena - Cyndi Lauper celebrates Pride
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Cher turns back time at Key Arena - Cyndi Lauper celebrates Pride

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

CHER WITH CYNDI LAUPER
KEY ARENA
June 28


She's Cher. She says, does and wears what she wants because she's Cher. And at the age of 68, when most people are settling into sunny retirement homes, the mega entertainer is parading on stage in skimpish outfits, self-promoting herself as an icon (which she is, by the way), singing to thousands of fans, surrounding herself with muscular backup dancers, and still kicking, literally, in high-heeled boots. She might be older, but that's not holding her back one bit.

For her sold-out appearance that landed right in the middle of Pride weekend, the global star opened her Key Arena concert with 'Woman's World,' standing atop a pillar in a shimmy bejeweled get-up with nude tone peekaboo cut-outs and a peacock feather headdress. She removed the headdress for the second number, 'Strong Enough,' one of her hits from 1998's Believe album.

'And what's your granny doing tonight?' said Cher, after revealing her age to the audience and telling them that she had just stood on a 20-foot platform in nothing more than dental floss. She spoke to the crowd for about 10 minutes, reminding them about her first farewell tour 11 years ago, which swept through Seattle twice and Everett once, and joked about looking like a transvestite piƱata.

In great physical shape, Cher also told everyone that she can still fit into the revealing outfit worn in the 'If I Could Turn Back Time' music video. 'Take that, Katy Perry!' she exclaimed with a broad smile.

The 2 hour-plus performance featured music from throughout Cher's career, from 1967's 'The Beat Goes On,' in which she strutted around in a glittery cherry-red short dress and black-white puffy shawl, to her current smash and title of her tour, 'Dressed to Kill,' starting the song inside a chandelier in a sexy black one-piece with matching headdress and fishnet stockings, then ending it by biting into a dancer's neck with vampire fangs. 'Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves' and 'Dark Lady' were performed amidst a vintage circus theme, complete with show announcer and man on stilts. She dueted with the late Sonny Bono, shown in black and white footage, on 'I Got You Babe.'

She donned a pastel-colored Indian costume for 'Half Breed,' as Cherokee drums beat in the background and Native American patterns in turquoise and orange lit up the stage. Two numbers from the musical film Burlesque were squeezed into the program, a dazzling rendition of 'Welcome to Burlesque' and a knockout performance of 'You Haven't Seen the Last of Me,' sung wonderfully by Cher, who like many fellow divas (Madonna, Britney Spears, Kylie Minogue), has never quite been recognized as a vocalist.

In a show that saw nearly a dozen wardrobe changes, every other song was introduced by either a video montage of Cher's cinematic work, or by aerial dancers who swung 30 to 40 feet in the air gracefully. At times it seemed too long a break before Cher returned to the stage, though each segment flowed nicely into the next without any major hiccups.

For 'Take It Like a Man,' Cher was garbed in a gold-plated outfit with platinum blonde wig as a large Trojan horse and gladiator-armoured dancers moved around behind her. She took a seat for 'Just Like Jesse James,' a hit single she claims to have never fully embraced, yet performs it because her fans enjoy it.

Wearing a butt cheek-exposed rocker ensemble, Cher got Key Arena to its feet with 'I Found Someone' and 'If I Could Turn Back Time,' and then closed out the main set with 'Believe,' a Grammy-winning tune that returned her to the pop charts in 1998. For a one-song encore, she floated above the heads of concertgoers while singing 'I Hope You Find It' while standing on a platform that maneuvered throughout the arena. I actually prefer Cher's cover of that song, compared to the original by Miley Cyrus.

As expected, the overall production was a spectacle. It combined razzle dazzle with shtick, a touch of class with naughtiness (did I mention she wore pasties on her breasts during 'Believe'?), and it highlighted the work of a woman who has clearly survived generations of music, culture, technology and even fans - some are no longer with us. Cher swore this was her actual farewell tour and vowed never to return, but haven't we been here before?

CYNDI LAUPER
Supporting act and lifelong friend Cyndi Lauper opened for Cher, beginning her hour-long set at the opposite end of the stage and gradually making her way to the front, performing 'She Bop.' Reflecting the momentous occasion of Pride weekend, the Grammy and Tony Award winner draped herself with a large Pride flag - rumor has it, she called Seattle Gay News to track one down.

The native New Yorker stuck mostly to material from her classic release She's So Unusual, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2013. Surprisingly, she added a number from the Broadway musical Kinky Boots and apologized for wearing combat boots instead. Lauper delivered a fantastic version of 'All Through the Night,' which happens to be Cher's favorite, holding a white laser light to her face. She belted out 'Money Changes Everything' beautifully, and jumped around excitedly during 'Bring Ya to the Brink.'

Lauper played a gentle rendition of 'True Colors' as she cradled and strummed a dulcimer at the foot of the stage, and then led the crowd in a huge sing-along of 'Girls Just Want to Have Fun,' going out to the first rows of the lower level seats to greet fans up close. She even stopped the tune once, saying 'What the fuck?!' and asked everyone to sing it louder. She performed 'At Last' to thunderous applause, calling it 'the ultimate wedding song.' The strong LGBT ally told everybody in exiting to 'Have a great Pride' and 'Take care of yourselves'.

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