Cher performs in concert at Rexall Place in Edmonton on Monday June 23, 2014.
Photograph by: Larry Wong , EDMONTON JOURNAL
With: Cyndi Lauper
Where: Rexall Place
EDMONTON – Do you believe Cher is calling it quits after this tour?
She said she was retiring after her 2004 trek — but lo and behold, 10 years later, the 68-year-old pop diva is still dazzling fans with her smoky pipes, long legs and campy outfits.
“This is a woman’s world,” she belted, standing on top of a 20-foot pillar, wearing a crazy feather headdress, at the start of Monday’s sold-out show at Rexall Place.
How the heck can you top that? And why would we want her to stop? “I’m not kidding, this is my farewell tour,” she promised after an opening monologue of jokes about her age, clothes and Dr. Pepper. “I swear to God. I’m never coming back and that’s it.”
If this really was Cher’s last time in Edmonton, she sure went out with a bang. Dancers dressed in Vegas-warrior garb! Chandeliers decked in rhinestones! Vintage footage from the Sonny & Cher show!
Her phenomenal voice, especially on Strong Enough and the touching duet, I Got You Babe, featuring Sonny’s recorded vocals and a collage of black-and-white images from their life together. (Sniff.) You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me was another tearjerker — and, as she sang it unencumbered by any dancers or props, you felt like she was trying to make a heart-to-heart connection with the crowd.
Thankfully, her self-deprecating humour stopped the 90-minute show from getting maudlin. “And what’s your granny doing tonight?” she asked at the start. “I can still get into my Turn Back Time outfit!”
Pacing, as always, isn’t Cher’s strong suit … because she’s always changing ’em. Suits or outfits, that is. She’d sing one or two songs, then head backstage to switch outfits, letting her dancers, movie and TV clips, or animated visuals distract the crowd.
Her casino Cleopatra. Her ’60s-style red mini-dress, complete with red boots? Her glittery brothel madam. Her pink, blue and orange headdress, which tickled the floor behind her legs as she sang Half-Breed, an ode to her Cherokee ancestry. And yes, a leotard, thigh-high boots, and leather jacket in the style of her notorious If I Could Turn Back Time video. STRUT IT, GIRL!
Cool props (or flops?):
Her aerialists. Her Trojan horse, wheeled in for the dance-pop anthem, Take It Like a Man. Her two staircases, enveloping her seven musicians. Her flying contraption, which she used to float above the arena during her last number, I Hope You Find It.
Openers (or groaners?):
Her longtime pal, Cyndi Lauper, came bounding on stage wearing a fancy black robe (lined with leopard print) best suited for a witch about to hit the boxing ring.
The unusual redhead pummelled the crowd with some of her ’80s pop hits — She Bop, All Through the Night, Money Changes Everything, Time After Time, Girls Just Want To Have Fun — and Sex is in the Heel, from her recent Tony-winning musical, Kinky Boots.
As cartoonishly cute as her boopy voice was, Lauper proved she’s not to be taken lightly — often holding some of her high notes for seconds on end.
Vancouver singer Michael Buble kissed the Wayne Gretzky statue before his Sunday show at Rexall Place. Lauper, another avid hockey fan, talked about her appreciation for the Oilers. “We got a lot in common,” said the New York native. “Cuz this is the city that raised up Mark Messier.”
She also invoked the Oilers’ name when the crowd wasn’t singing along to her expectations during Girls Just Want To Have Fun. “Come on, take a deep breath, you’re killing me,” she said. “You’re supposed to be tough!”
Lauper celebrated her 61st year on earth at a local pub, Kelly’s, on Sunday night, singing karaoke with her crew. “I was pissed off, and then I realized (I could make one of two choices): death or older,” she cracked. “Sixty-one is a good number.”
In the crowd:
Girls of all ages, many sporting sequins, leopard spots, high heels, and a man or two. Several drag queens were also working the crowd, including one dressed in a provocative Turn Back Time leotard, who earned a standing ovation from fans and attracted an instant circle of iPhonerazzi.
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