Move over, Lady Gaga daddies. It's time for the gays to parade back into Philips Arena for Cher's “farewell, farewell tour.” Here's what you can expect from the diva's stop in Atlanta.
Sure, she said farewell to Atlanta during her oft-extended Living Proof: The Farewell Tour on April 25, 2003, but you didn’t really buy that, did you? Eleven years later, the colorful diva is back on Monday for her 2014 Dressed to Kill (D2K) tour, or as she’s calling it (complete with winks and nods), her “farewell, farewell tour.”
Having caught Cher on the first leg of the tour in Nashville in March with openers Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo, Atlanta audiences will be served a double dose of diva realness when Cyndi Lauper, who recently celebrated the 30th anniversary of her debut “She’s So Unusual,” opens the show.
So what can you expect?
Supporting her 25th studio album “Closer to the Truth,” D2K serves more as a career retrospective than an album tour. Of the show’s 20 songs, only four from the latest album (“Woman’s World,” “Dressed to Kill,” ”Take It Like a Man” and show-closer/Miley Cyrus cover “I Hope You Find It”) make an appearance in the set list. And they're not even the best four. Sadly the P!nk-penned Cajun twang pop romp “I Walk Alone” and the soaring “Red” are nowhere to be found.
What should’ve been dubbed the greatest-hits tour, Cher manages to squeeze in hits from her near five-decade career including “Gypsys, Tramps and Thieves,” “Half Breed,” “Dark Lady” and the massive 1998 comeback hit “Believe” complete with its dub-step interlude.
A highlight from the night’s set includes the Sonny and Cher “duet” which finds Cher singing along to a video montage of the duo’s past performance of the song. Creatively edited, it’s truly a spectacle for those who remember that era of her career fondly.
From the good to the bad (yes, there are songs from “Burlesque”), Cher is in command of every song and story in between. But it’s a simple three-song set – sans backup dancers and elaborate staging – that the diva’s voice truly shines. Kicking off with the Mark Cohn cover “Walking in Memphis,” Cher follows it up with a song she claims to have never liked (“Just Like Jesse James”) and finishes with “Heart of Stone.” (See the full set-list below.)
What is a Cher show without the costume changes? Having announced that, for the first time since 1972, Bob Mackie would not be designing her costumes, new costume designer Hugh Durant had some large shoes to fill. And despite some reported costume fitting issues (one of which I experienced during “Believe” at the Nashville show), he largely succeeds by not reinventing the wheel.
Many of Durant’s designs find inspiration from Mackie’s previous work. For each era of Cher’s career, the outfits visually look similar to what she was wearing during that time. Lack of inspiration and playing it safe? That’ll be for you to decide. Cher could probably wear a potato sack and be stunning.
Durant’s real work, of course, is in costuming for the new tracks. The Helen of Troy inspired costume (and set) during “Take It Like a Man” (top image, video below) was a little heavy-handed. It’s the one point where age and costume collide. Despite her looks never changing, Cher is pushing 70 and it takes chunk of time to get in and out of these costumes. For the restless, the lengthy memory montages between costume changes can be tiresome.
Save the best for last? Cher’s best outfits come toward the end of the show. In one costume, Cher wears this slinky, sheer, jeweled outfit. Sound familiar? Reminiscent of Britney’s outfit from the “Toxic” video, the outfit wouldn’t be complete without the heart pasty over her left nipple. And for the final number of the night, Cher –channeling the Virgin Mary – soars over the crowd blessing everyone in the arena.
The Set List
Overall Cher shows that she can still command an audience. But if you’ve seen Cher before, the set list hasn’t changed much and the show could’ve benefitted from more performances of the newer material. But hey, it’s Cher so she knows if she builds it, you’re gonna come.
“Dressed to Kill”
“The Beat Goes On”
“I Got You Babe”
“Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves”
“Welcome to Burlesque”
“You Haven't Seen the Last of Me”
“Take It Like a Man”
“Walking in Memphis”
“Just Like Jesse James”
“Heart of Stone”
“The Shoop Shoop Song (It's in His Kiss)”
“Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” (back up interlude in Nashville)
“I Found Someone”
“If I Could Turn Back Time”
“I Hope You Find It”