Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Farewell tour a blast of Cher

By Chris Varias cvarias@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        If this is indeed Cher's last go-around, as she reiterated, she's going out with a techno-powered blast.

        The singer-actress played U.S. Bank Arena Sunday as part of what's billed as “Living Proof: The Farewell Tour.” The show was a fitting retrospective, going from the 1965 jangle-pop hit “All I Really Want To Do” on through such persona-defining '70s hits as “Dark Lady” and “Half Breed,” to her late '80s pop-rock comeback song “If I Could Turn Back Time.” But it was music from another comeback - the turn-of-the-millennium techno edition - that framed the 90-minute performance and energized the near-sellout crowd.

        For the opening song she turned to Bono, the Irish one, and covered U2's “Where the Streets Have No Name” in a version peppered with techno sundries.

        She followed it with two more techno tunes, “Song for the Lonely” and “All or Nothing.” Between those two songs Cher addressed the farewell issue. “I've been an evil frickin' diva for 40 frickin' years,” she said, noting it was time to pass the torch. “Britney, J.Lo . . . . ”

        The crowd booed wildly.

        “I wanted to do a fabulous show so I could say, "Follow this, you (ladies).' ”

        The crowd cheered.

        “That's when to get out, at your most fabulous.”

        Fabulous could describe the production. It was large. There were the several requisite costume changes, as well as eight dancers who doubled as acrobats. To begin the show, Cher was lowered from the rafters on a metal disk, only to outdo herself a few songs later when she popped out of a fake elephant, Trojan horse-style.

        The changeovers between songs gave the show a pace better suited for commercial television than a live concert. Downtime was filled with video-screen clips of Cher movies, interviews, TV shows and performances with the late Sonny Bono.

        The song-to-song pace was a little quicker at the end of the show, namely the techno-fied “Strong Enough,” “If I Could Turn Back Time,” and the centerpiece of her techno comeback, “Believe.”


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