–By Tammy Pitt
–Photos by Sean Derrick
Pop icon Cher treated audience members nearest the right and left sides of the stage to a personal sneak peek as she greeted them Friday night at the Enterprise Center in Saint Louis from behind the center stage curtain. The friendly, enthusiastic gesture reassured everyone that she was in the house and the show would begin in just a few minutes.
A music video of “Woman’s World” opened up the show as five women and five men dressed in Roman attire danced their way down a two-sided staircase that encompassed the entire stage. Donning an orange wig and golden headdress, Cher’s entrance came from above when she was lowered on a suspended platform. When she finished the second song, “Strong Enough”, she asked everyone to sit down as she got a drink and began to tell a story of how she and Sonny came to make monologues a part of their performance tradition.
She reminisced upon times when they were broke, had no jobs, and played at dinner theaters. She then gifted the audience with her own monologue, “The two nights it took me to turn forty”. Fun, forthright, and fabulous, she talked of script and how handwriting isn’t being used much anymore, but to the younger generations she teased that it isn’t necessary any way. She closed the personal connection by disclosing that she’s 73 years old and asking “What’s your grandmother doing?”
This third farewell tour, “Here We Go Again” gets its title from her role in the sequel of “Mamma Mia!” The yearlong tour is ambitious and one Cher herself is surprised to be partaking, as she shared with her fans that she really had thought her first and then her second farewell tours would have been her last, but here she is. Looking fantastic, sounding flawless and dancing with fineness.
When blonde guitarist, Joel Hoekstra, took the stage to showcase his solo during a costume change, some fans almost mistook him for Cher’s son, Elijah Blue Allman. No wonder, the night had encircled all with every aspect of Cher’s life, from videos of family photos to film clips and monologue recordings of her feeling as though she has never been accepted by any group as a singer or an actress. It would not have been inconceivable for her son to have joined her on the stage during this farewell tour.
A night of intrigue, emotion and energy. Fans were delighted by a couple among the dancers who performed as aerialists. They were brought to tears by a duet that Cher performed with a video representation of Sonny when she sang their song, “I Got You Babe”. And wowed, by the risqué, fast paced features of the “Welcome to Burlesque” show.
What they may have missed though, was Cher’s classic, world-renown appearance of long, straight black hair. She wore many different wigs on Friday night, but never presented the look that made her famous. Nor were any of her costumes really over-the-top. Many were scant, form-fitting, fun and flattering. So much so that they all, including her bellbottoms and platform boots, fit on a small portable clothes rack with lots of room to spare.
An iconic treasure to so many, the love of Cher was not only evident by the packed house, but also by the enthusiasm, spirit, pride and joy of the musicians, singers and dancers on stage. Each hoping this is not farewell.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Nile Rodgers opened the show with a fun filled selection of hits, most of which he wrote and produced for someone else. Of course he included some selections from his band, Chic, like “Le Freak”. But it was mostly his songs from Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family”, Diana ross’s “I’m Coming Out”, David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance”, and the more recent Daft Punk cover of “Get Lucky” that had fans young and old connecting to the his long list of accomplishments. It was a perfect choice for an opener.
All or Nothing
Sonny & Cher: Little Man/All I Ever Need Is You
The Beat Goes On (Sonny & Cher song)
I Got You Babe (Sonny & Cher song)
Welcome to Burlesque
Lie to Me
Waterloo (ABBA cover)
SOS (ABBA cover)
Fernando (ABBA cover)
Chelvis intro / Heartbreak Hotel (Elvis Presley song)
Walking in Memphis (Marc Cohn cover)
The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s in His Kiss) (Betty Everett cover)
Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)
I Found Someone (Michael Bolton cover)
If I Could Turn Back Time