Friday, May 16, 2008

I Saw the Biggest Show in Vegas, Nee-Ner-Nee-Ner

A few days ago I mentioned that I had the chance to see a new show in Las Vegas—one that features a very iconic performer.

Those of you who follow entertainment no doubt knew that I was talking about the one, the only…Cher.

Now, before I tell you about the show itself, I have to mention the reactions I got when I told people I had tickets. To a number, they had this…reaction. Not just, “Oh, cool, have fun,” but something much more. They’d get this light in their eyes, and their lips would part as they repeated her name. Cher. As if the very idea of her seems a bit magic.

And, let me tell you, when I walked into the Caesars Palace Coliseum (which seats about 4,000), the magic hit me right away. It felt like Space Mountain in there, with a celestial field of stars speeding toward the audience from the screen in front of the huge stage and the low hum of a new age-y soundtrack playing over my nerve endings.

Naturally, the show didn’t start on time, and everyone was getting anxious, clapping and chanting Cher’s name. (But there wasn’t as much of that as you’d expect. Maybe it has something to do with having to pay so much money for a big, in-demand Vegas show rather than a regular concert—people were definitely better behaved.) Security people lined the stage and the aisles as the lights dimmed.



I was expecting major costumage, and when the woman herself first appears, she didn’t disappoint. Cher literally flies out of the stage wings thanks to an airborne device that allows her to stand, almost caged, while singing a Cherred-up version of U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” All you can do when you see her decked out in her golden sun-goddess outfit is laugh in utter joy, because you just knew she’d go there. And you knew she was going to look damn good while doing it.

And that’s the thing: Cher still works an outfit like you wouldn’t believe. If I weren’t close enough to the stage to see hints of aging, I would even call her a Hollywood Underground vampire. Also, the woman still has her charisma and willowy energy. Even though she changed costumes after almost every song (enough to rest her body and her voice, I suppose), she sang live. None of this lip synching garbage for Cher (as far as we could tell—and we were paying attention because we feared there’d be a bunch of lip synching.). She sounds better than ever. Really.

The show is definitely all Vegas—a bit of a concert dominated by massive set pieces, dancers, and “rope dancers” (those brave souls who spin in the air using ropes and sheets). Every aspect of Cher's career is covered, including her movie roles, her pop resurrection and, of course, the beginning of her career and her time with Sonny. My favorite part was “Cher’s closet,” which was almost a revolving door of costumes and what I think are Cher’s best songs. (How great is “Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves”? If I were on AMERICAN IDOL, I’d totally do a cover of that one.)

This show reminded me of what a fighter Cher’s always been and, hell yeah, this woman deserves a no-holds-barred Vegas production to celebrate that. She shows us all that age is just a number, and she’s not going to stop dressing her own way or doing her own thing just because time has marched on.

So keeping flipping back that ever-changing hair, Cher. Keep on keeping on.

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