It’s no longer possible to believe her when she says she’s finished with touring, but Cher definitely knows how to pretend to retire in style.The 73-year-old singer, actress, fashion icon, and Wu-Tang collaborator is the very dictionary definition of fabulous, and the Here We Go Again tour that had Rogers Place crammed to the rafters was proof that she hasn’t lost a step.The vibe on Saturday night was Vegas, or possibly mutated ’70s variety show, so strong that if Charo and Flip Wilson showed up for a mid-concert comedy sketch they wouldn’t have seemed out of place. Dancers spilled across the stage, changing into at least as many costumes as the star, while a tight band moved imperturbably between ’60s kitsch (The Beat Goes On; I Got You Babe), muscular dance jams (Woman’s World), bump-and-grind stripper jazz (Welcome to Burlesque), ABBA covers (Waterloo; SOS; Fernando.) The music was almost beside the point; if there was a conceptual centre to the show it was Cher and her undeniable impact on the broader popular culture.
Cher performs in concert at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Saturday, May 25.
Larry Wong /
Also, the whole thing was bonkers. Bonkers in the best way possible, of course. Aside from skimming through a discography that includes at least one huge hit in every decade for the past six, Cher sang to a video screen representation of her former husband Sonny; wore elaborate headdresses; humble bragged about her career in a rambling, 10-minute monologue; rode an animatronic elephant. That’s right, she rode an animatronic elephant, and if you don’t understand why that alone was worth the price of admission then you simply can’t be helped.Whether she shows up at our hockey arena ever again or not, the fans that made it out definitely couldn’t complain. If this wasn’t peak Cher it was as close as we’ll get in the 21st century, at least until they find a way to transplant her brain into an immortal Cher android, which is inevitable.In any other situation it would be ridiculous to classify Nile Rodgers & Chic as openers, but that’s where the disco-funk legends sat on Saturday night. It was actually an apt pairing. Like Cher, Rodgers has kept current through the decades, and his band’s set list represented this. Not only the expected ’70s dance hits Le Freak and Dance, Dance, Dance, but also covers of David Bowie’s Let’s Dance, which Rodgers produced and played on, and Daft Punk’s Get Lucky, which Rodgers co-wrote.
Nile Rodgers and Chic performed in concert at Rogers Place on Saturday May 25, opening for Cher’s Here We Go Again tour.
Larry Wong /
Rodgers is the only member of the ever-shifting original band left, but his current players are nothing to sneeze at. They kept the energy level up with undeniable bangers like Everybody Dance, Diana Ross’s I’m Coming Out, Sister Sledge’s We Are Family, ending with a melding of their signature hit Good Times to Rapper’s Delight, the early hip-hop classic that rode on Chic bassist Bernard Edward’s iconic bassline. CherWith: Nile Rodgers & ChicWhen: Saturday, May 25Where: Rogers Place