Cher at the 3Arena Friday 1st November 2019
“I just wanna know… what’s your granny doing tonight?”
This is what Cher asked the audience in the 3Arena, following a speech that touched on everything from her 40th birthday, to Graham Norton (she’s a fan), Studio 54 and Hollywood sexism. The point of the speech, and the career-spanning montage that played on screen, is that age shouldn’t matter. This icon, the ‘Goddess of Pop,’ has been going full throttle for more than 50 years with no sign of relenting.
Last night, the day after Halloween when people had packed up their costumes, Cher was on stage in full regalia, putting on a Vegas-style spectacle as big and as powerful as her smoky contralto voice. What is your granny doing? Probably not this.
With costume, wig and set changes every 10 minutes, Cher brought the audience around the world and through different timelines. Starting with an ancient Greek backdrop (complete with Spartan dancers) for the female-empowered anthem Woman’s World and moving through the Swinging Sixties, a Paris burlesque, a futuristic nightclub and downtown Memphis.
All the crowd-pleasers were present. Sonny appeared on-screen from beyond the grave for a duet of I’ve Got You Babe. The sparkly, club-infused ABBA covers (Waterloo, SOS, Fernando) were twirled out from her 2018 album ‘Dancing Queen’, arguably getting the loudest reactions of the night from the sold-out crowd. She even pulled out the same iconic leather jacket, curly wig and bodysuit for If I Could Turn Back Time. And, what appeared to be the same actual body from the 1989 hit. Turns out Cher doesn’t need to turn back time because it stands still for her.
As the set came to a close with Believe, the gay anthem where Cher pioneered the vocal distortion effects of Auto-Tune long before Kanye West did, there was no less sparkle in her performance or attitude. This is a woman who showed up and showed her work through a Grammy and Oscar-winning career that kicked off in the ‘60s and continues to evolve today.
What she brought to the 3Arena on Friday was a colourful riot of an icon whose brilliance never dimmers. And a reminder to us all, as Cher said, to “go balls to the wall,” no matter our age.