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17 Dec

Cher brings Vegas vibe to Newcastle on opening night of Aussie tourReview, Photos

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Cher proves she’s still a class act Cher at Newcastle Entertainment Centre, September 26. Picture: Darren Pateman
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Cher at Newcastle Entertainment Centre, September 26. Picture: Simone De Peak

Cher at Newcastle Entertainment Centre, September 26. Picture: Simone De Peak

Cher at Newcastle Entertainment Centre, September 26. Picture: Simone De Peak

Cher at Newcastle Entertainment Centre, September 26. Picture: Simone De Peak

Cher at Newcastle Entertainment Centre, September 26. Picture: Simone De Peak

Cher at Newcastle Entertainment Centre, September 26. Picture: Darren Pateman

Cher at Newcastle Entertainment Centre, September 26. Picture: Darren Pateman

Cher at Newcastle Entertainment Centre, September 26. Picture: Darren Pateman

Cher at Newcastle Entertainment Centre, September 26. Picture: Darren Pateman

Cher at Newcastle Entertainment Centre, September 26. Picture: Darren Pateman

Cher at Newcastle Entertainment Centre, September 26. Picture: Darren Pateman

Cher at Newcastle Entertainment Centre, September 26. Picture: Darren Pateman

Cher at Newcastle Entertainment Centre, September 26. Picture: Darren Pateman

Cher at Newcastle Entertainment Centre, September 26. Picture: Darren Pateman

Cher at Newcastle Entertainment Centre, September 26. Picture: Darren Pateman

Cher at Newcastle Entertainment Centre, September 26. Picture: Darren Pateman

Cher at Newcastle Entertainment Centre, September 26. Picture: Darren Pateman

Cher at Newcastle Entertainment Centre, September 26. Picture: Darren Pateman

Cher at Newcastle Entertainment Centre, September 26. Picture: Darren Pateman

Cher at Newcastle Entertainment Centre, September 26. Picture: Darren Pateman

Cher at Newcastle Entertainment Centre, September 26. Picture: Darren Pateman

Cher at Newcastle Entertainment Centre, September 26. Picture: Darren Pateman

Cher at Newcastle Entertainment Centre, September 26. Picture: Darren Pateman

TweetFacebookWoman’s World, providing asnapshot of her career. Then the woman herself started singing along, an elaborate Roman gladiator set was revealed and dancers rushed onstage.

But where was Cher? Suspended above the stage, wearing a huge orange wig, head piece and a shimmering Greek goddess-inspired dress.

It was the first of many, many costume and set changes.This was a Las Vegas spectaclenot often seen in little ol’ Broadmeadow.

STUNNING: Just one of the elaborate stage set-ups. Picture: Darren Pateman

Strong Enough was next, then wegot to know a little more about the talented and sensitive woman behind Cher the brand:Cherilyn Sarkisian.

“Hold on, my wig and I are thirsty,” the Oscar and Grammy award winnersaid before launching into a series of amusing and self-deprecating anecdotes. There were no airs and graces here.

“In 1965 Sonny and I were very famous but our careersnosedived and we owed the government $275,000. Sonny said we had to do something different, like dinner theatres. I was thinking Paris but our shows were crap and we performed seven nights a week, sometimes more.

“People were like ‘Oh my god, they suck’and kept eating. One night I got pissed off and turned around to the band and made them laugh. We weren’t interested in the four people watching. And that’s how the Sonny and Cher show came about.”

Her next story was about “the two nights it took me to turn 40”.One of the nights she was out with her best friend Polly, about tostarin a movie with 21-year-old Nicholas Cage, and generally feeling fabulous. That same nightshe met “the cutest guy I’d ever seen” –Robert Cammiletti. They hit it off andwere an item for three years.

Her second “turning 40” story involved directorGeorge Miller.“He called me up and said ‘I don’t want you in my movie. Jack (Nicholson) and I think you’re not sexy and you’re too old. Idon’t like your face or the way you talk or walk’. Now I had done a little film called Silkwoodand another called Mask, but I was in tears. My kids walked in and asked me why I was crying on my birthday and I said ‘When you’re a woman and you’re older and you’re very, very happy, you cry’.”

The movie was The Witches of Eastwick. And Cher got the role. Another anecdote stemmed from owing a friend $27,000 and being asked to go on The David Letterman Show. Cher said yes –if they’d pay her $28,000.

“I went on the show dressed like a bag lady for some reason, and when he asked why I hadn’t been on the show before I replied: ‘Because I thought you were an arsehole’. But we became friends. I’m not 40 any more but I did just do a five-minute plank. Anyway, what is your granny doing tonight?”

All or Nothing was up next, with Cher riding a bejeweled elephant. Footage from the Sonny & Cher Comedy Hourfollowed, and Cher sang two duets with Sonny (who was singing on the screen). It sounds cheesy but it was actually quite touching and extremely well executed. The songs were I Got You Babe (you might have heard of it) and The Beat Goes On.

“I wondered if I should do that first song than I was like ‘Bitch you’re 500 years old, just do it. It’s your farewell tour’,” she said.

Then there was Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves,Believe, anAztec-themedYou Haven’t Seen TheLast of Me andWelcome To Burlesque with some cheeky choreography.A few ABBA hits prompted a crowd singalong –Fernando was particularly memorable. Scenes from movies Cher has starred in were played, endingwith footage of her accepting an Oscar while saying she never truly fit in with the singers or the actors –but that maybe she was “on her way”. We all cheered.

Cher also paid homage to Elvis Presley with a rendition of Walking In Memphis by Marc Cohn, and telling a story about how her mother took her to see The King as a young girl. Their voices are, actually, remarkably similar. The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s In His Kiss) from Mermaids was next, and then the grand finale –I’ve Found Someone and If I Could Turn Back Time. Whitesnake guitarist Joel Hoekstra, who had been sedately strumming with the band, was finally given his moment of glory –and rock out he did.

Yes, Cher wore that famous fishnet body stocking but with a more modest use of material this time around. Not that she needed it. Cher is not only in good voice, but in great shape.

This was a grand spectacle of colour and dance with seamless set and costume changes: a visual feast that captivated from start to finish. It was also personal –a rags to riches story of a woman who had to reinvent herself to survive in a cut-throat industry. And she did it all with poise and wit.

Cher is a class act and, at 72, a performer without peer.

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