WOW! CHER could not have picked a better opening act then NILE RODGERS AND CHIC to end her fall Here We Go Again Tour in Dallas on December 19 at American Airlines Center. Nile Rodgers accompanied by Kimberly Davis and Folami of CHIC tore out one hit after another. Rodgers shared a touching story about having been diagnosed with not one, but two types of cancer. After his doctor told him to contemplate the rest of his life, he “decided to write more songs than he had ever written in his entire life, play more shows than he had ever played in his entire life, and do more collaborations than he had ever done in his entire life.”
He described to us how after making that decision he got a phone call from DAFT PUNK and “Get Lucky” was born. Medleys of CHIC hits like “Upside Down”, “Greatest Dancer”, and “Wonder Why” had us all dancing. Of course we were all singing when it came to the number one hit “Freak Out”!
When it was time for CHER to hit the stage our energy was completely primed. She opened her set with “Woman’s World”, “Strong Enough” and a lovely version of “The Gayatri Mantra” which completely took me by surprise. I recognized it right away because I had memorized it when I was asked to sing Sanskrit words on a new age album by Jonathan Still that eventually won an award for Best Independent New Age Album released that year. The Gayatri Mantra translates into something like “May we recognize the divine creator and be enlightened in our mind.”
CHER, looking like a goddess with blue hair, got intimate with the audience and told us stories of her youth and 40th birthday. During this time I learned that she had grown up in a musical family. She made friends with the only neighbor that had a TV and saw ELVIS on the Ed Sullivan show when she was 11 years old. She begged her mother to take her to see him live and her whole feeling of music changed from that moment on. She had made music with her family, but she never felt it the way she did after the ELVIS concert.
She is an iconic performer that has succeeded at everything she has done but she admitted that she never felt like she fit into any one group. She told us that the singers never thought of her as a real singer, the actors never thought of her as a real actor, although she’s had success at both while winning a Grammy, an Oscar, an Emmy Award, three Golden Globes. Not to mention her billboard awards.
Here We Go Again was a grand spectacle of montages featuring her eye-propping fashions from over the decades, memorable film clips, even an homage to Sonny, intermingled with award winning songs. The video wall stage set changed from images of a burlesque show with aerial performers amazing the audience with romantic acrobatics, to an Indian palace where she graced the stage entering on top of a very realistic ornate elephant.
Flanked by what seemed like a dozen back up dancers at any given time and just as many costume and wig changes, CHER gave us the show of a lifetime. The audience was delighted to hear classics like “The Beat Goes On” and “I Got You Babe” as well as more current hits like “I Found Someone” and “Believe.” ABBA covers “Waterloo” and “Fernando” were paired with “Walking In Memphis” and “It’s In his Kiss”.
I was warned ahead of time that I might encounter a number of people with “alternative lifestyles” and maybe even a lot of drag queens. I did see a handful of CHER impersonators but the only alternative lifestyle I saw were sweet spirited human beings that felt liberated and completely free to sparkle! There were husband and wife couples that looked like they were 90 years old wearing sequins. I’ve never seen so many people in one place that felt so very comfortable dressing as wild as they wanted to be and shining like stars.
CHER is a woman who has lived her life out loud and instilled in all of us the freedom to sing, dance and let our inner sparkle come right on out. She’s a consummate performer, classy, and still a very sexy entertainer at the age of 72. She continues her tour next year and also performs in Vegas so if you get the chance to see her you won’t regret it!
LIVE IMAGES: JOE GUZMAN/GUZPIX
LIVE WORDS: DEBBIE IRENE IDE