They were going bananas for Cher last night at the Corel Centre, a near-sellout crowd of 12,000 that seemed outrageously happy before she even took the stage. Luckily a videocamera broadcast hilarious images of hyped-up dancers on two big screens flanking the stage — my favourite was the guy who whipped off his belt and started spanking his partner with it — in the minutes leading up to the show.
When Cher finally arrived, just a few minutes behind schedule, it was in a chandelier lowered from the ceiling, and she was clad in a fabulous fur-trimmed cape and crown, glittering from head to toe.
She cruised around the stage as she sang her opening number, a cover of U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, waving to fans and mouthing to one “I like your top.”
“Ladies and gentlemen,” she said when the song was over, “and flamboyant gentlemen …”
The men and women in the crowd, some of them wearing wigs and costumes as a tribute to their beloved icon, went wild.
It was, she proclaimed, her 314th show, on a three-year “farewell” tour she promises really will end later this month in Hollywood.
If she pulls what other stars have in the past, said the 58-year-old pop icon, she’d have to come out on a bejeweled scooter.
“My boobs would be down to my knees, I’d have no teeth,” she said, “and I’d be gumming the words to I Got You Babe.”
Joking about today’s pop singers such as Jessica Simpson and Britney Spears, Cher says she’s just pretending when she calls them “hos.” “All I’ve got to say to these young girls coming up ‘follow this, bitches.’ ”
And with that, Cher turned on her heels and put on the rest of her spectacle of a show. With more than 10 full costume changes, there was plenty of waiting around.
Dancers and Buddhist chanting set to techno music filled the gap before she emerged again, this time atop a mechanical elephant.
Of course, with either Cirque de Soleil-esque moves from her dancers, montages of Cher’s film career, Sonny and Cher Show highlights, her appearances on Late Night with David Letterman and Will & Grace, no one seemed to mind.
Whole lotta techno
Plus there were all those Cher anthems to look forward to, mostly uplifting songs set to a strong techno beat such as I Found Someone, All or Nothing, If I Could Turn Back Time and her huge late-’90s hit Believe. Cher melded most of her earlier hits into a medley sung in ’60s-style bell-bottoms and a long, straight black wig.
Then, 90 minutes after she took the stage, she left.
The Village People proved to be the perfect opening act for Cher, their vintage brand of disco slowly whipping the crowd into shape.
It took them a full 40 minutes to do it, but once the crowd was on their feet last night, it was something to see. All 12,000 of them, floor-to-rafters, doing the movements to the People’s anthem YMCA.
By ANN MARIE MCQUEEN — Ottawa Sun