It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Cher!
The unkillable star swooped into Barclays Center on Friday with all the oddity and wonder of a superhero, if not a UFO.
After more than half a century of media exposure, it’s still hard to prepare for the sight of a 68-year-old woman teetering on a sky-high platform, while crowned with a multitiered headdress of feathers, looking like nothing so much as the Queen of the Peacock People.
Appropriately, Cher has called her latest show the “Dressed to Kill” tour, though it also finds her “Tressed” to at least maim.
You could spend a lot of time figuring out how many human heads it took to create that lofty collection of follicles she sports in “Take It Like A Man.”
This particular number found Cher adorned with bales of blonde curls, cascading down a golden outfit swiped from the days when gladiators ruled. She looked like ancient Rome’s answer to Big Bird, with enough muscular, warrior/dancers surrounding her prove it.
Later, Cher appeared in an amped-up version of that warren of black hair made iconic by the “If I Could Turn Back Time” video of the ’80s. “I can still get into my outfit — at almost 100,” she crowed, in one of many jokes about her age.
“And what is your granny doing tonight?” she asked later.
The show flipped through several gleefully garish chapters of Cher’s past. It featured a sizable Sonny & Cher segment, including “I Got You Babe” staged as a “duet” with a looming video image of the late Sonny. It’s a potentially squirm-inducing sight that Cher made moving by her clear affection both for him and her own history.
She also recreated ’70s hits that functioned as much as comedy skits as songs — like the undyingly kitschy “Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves,” or “Half Breed,” in which Cher did her old Pocahontas outfit one better. She donned a head-piece of colors psychedelic enough to carry their own contact high.
Needless to say, Cher gets the joke in all this better than anyone. But sometimes it seems like she gets it too well. The star can claim a seriously catchy, and impressively varied, trove of thrilling hits — from “The Beat Goes On” right through the new “Woman’s World.” And her vibrato-heavy, pansexual vocals have a timbre, and a style, like no other singer.
Cher proved it in an anthem tailor-made for her role as the ultimate survivor: “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me Yet,” from the bomb movie “Burlesque.” Here, she earned diva status as much through her undervalued power to belt as her will to gall.
Of course, much of the show’s joy, and even its poignancy, came from its mission to defy common notions of taste, age and even self-parody. The lazy would call it camp. But it’s beyond that. Ultimately, it can only be described as just so incredibly Cher.
“Dressed to Kill”
“The Beat Goes On”
“I Got You Babe”
“Gypsies, 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”
“Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)”
“I Found Someone”
“If I Could Turn Back Time”
“I Hope You Find It”
Source – New York Daily News