2 February 2005

World Arena, Colorado Springs, CO


Just what exactly is a Farewell Tour? Nowadays a Farewell Tour is basically a joke, a mockery of all previous Farewell Tours that turned out to be, "We'll Be Back Later Tour"s.

I think Elton John once retired in 1976. My brother saw him in 1984. I'm going to see him in a couple weeks.

The Who's 1982 Farewell Tour preceded their heavily-orchestrated 1989 reunion, a 2000 tour during which I saw the band in Dallas, one potentially this Summer, and several others I'm missing.

At the forefront of this mockery are the Eagles (Farewell Tour #1), and Cher's sequential Farewell Tours. This latest is "Farewell Tour 2005", the most current leg of a Farewell tour that began in mid-2002.

I'd been to several Colorado Auto Dealers car shows at the World Arena over the years, but this concert is my first in this relatively new structure that resembles an un-dyed aluminum can, both in its color and shape.

I ran into no less than six familiar concertgoers (acquantances, co-workers, former co-workers, and a disc jockey who also is a neighbor). But, given that this is the largest-attendance concert I've attended in my home city of residence, these encounters were perhaps not unexpected.

I saw the opening act, The Village People, 2 1/2 years earlier as part of an oldies show. Besides a decent cover of Grand Funk's "We're An American Band", and their hits "In The Navy", "Macho Man", and an obligatory encore of "YMCA", the show was a basically a city backdrop, and six vocalists dancing to what I'd call 1990s Disco. The audience response was very favorable for an opening act, though.

After a 45 minute break, curtains arose, and a chandelier gently lowered the queen of all pop divas onto the most elaborate stage I've ever seen, as she sang a discofied cover of U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For".

Cher loves to talk. After the first number, she divulged how the chanelier act had experienced a couple non-injurious mishaps during the tour. She also made reference to recent comparisons between her and "Britney and her sister, and Jessica Simpson and her sister." Cher expressed her feeling of superiority by chanting, "Follow this you bitches!" as she walked to her second number with a thunder of cheering.

The setlist included all of her major hits, including "I Found Someone", "Just Like Jesse James", "All Or Nothing", "Strong Enough" and "Heart of Stone". "Love Hurts" proved an interesting addition.

In between songs large monitors projected a collage of video clips from throughout her career, for tracks such as "The Beat Goes On" "Baby Don't Go" and "I Got You Babe". She sang along to the clips of "All I Really Want To Do", "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)", "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves", "Half Breed", and "Dark Lady". A video projection of one of her many interviews showed her defending her prerogative to undertake plastic surgery, saying, "If I want to put tits on my back, that's nobody's business but my own."

Cher and band recreated her 1989 duet with Peter Cetera, "After All" with precision.

Her microphone malfunctioned for about 3-4 seconds during "The Shoop Shoop Song", though the the song's performance was, in whole, excellent.

"If I Could Turn Back Time", synchronized to her 1991 aircraft carrier video, ended the set. "Believe" filled the encore square.

Cher seemed to be in top health, looking more like Cher and less like her dangerously skinny image of the 1980s, dancing and/or prancing to all of tonight's tunes, and donning countless courses of wigs and Bob Mackie wardrobe items.

When you stop and think about it, Cher is really very multitalented, in part because of her willingness to try just about anything, to include singing backup vocals on Phil Spector-produced hits of the 1960s, duetting with Sonny Bono, hosting her own Carol Burnettesque variety show, dancing with Tina Turner, performing on broadway, marrying Gregg Allman (for a few days at least), staging a couple of enormous comeback tours, and even acting in several films (and winning awards),

Definitely the most impressive stage show I've ever seen--slightly more sophisticated than the settings in Madonna's Like A Prayer and Vogue tours. But, in reality, it's hard to find any vocal pop artists that match the decades of talent, showcased in tonight's 75 minute set. Cher still rules.

[*****] - Steven T.

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