She's a legend, an icon, and a pioneer. She's so incredible she just needs one name: CHER! I have always been a Cher fan and can still remember a former STC teacher (who shall remain nameless) playing her Strong Enough album during class while students tried to focus on the task at hand.
When my good friend Jessica informed me back in January that the Goddess of Pop herself would be visiting our fair hamlet, I jumped at the chance.
Cher opened the concert in this elaborate costume and sang Woman’s World on Monday June 9 at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa.
News Herald Photo/Allison Graham
Fast-forward to June 9 and I can enthusiastically report that Cher and company did not disappoint in the least.
The night started with another pop icon from the 1980s, Cyndi Lauper. She kicked off the proceedings with a big personality and an even bigger voice to go along. Holy Toledo, does that woman have pipes! At one point she came out into the audience to sing and shake hands with fans. After an energizing opening set it was clear that Cyndi was indeed a girl who wants to have fun (whoa-oo-whoa, just wanna have fun).
As for Cher, I really had no idea what to expect since this was my first live Cher experience. I knew her show would be larger than life and she delivered just that. Cher has always been one to bend the rules and it has worked for her. She has had success not only in the music world but also in movies with memorable (and often quotable) lines such as "Snap out of it" or "It's time for my favorite game. Who's the worst mother in the world...MEEEE?!?" My personal favorites are the films Mask and Mermaids.
I think it could go without saying that Cher has a flair for the dramatic, so I was very curious to see what type of crowd she would draw. I thought to myself, would they be gypsys, or tramps, or maybe a few thieves? (Are we having fun yet?!) It turns out that Cher draws an eclectic audience of men and women from all backgrounds.
As the lights went down and the crowd cheered, images of Cher throughout the years appeared on a giant curtain. At this point it really hit me that I was about to share a room (along with around 13,000 other fans) with the one and only Cher. It was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. The weight of this realization and the thought that this time around may be her actual final farewell was so much that I got light headed for just a moment. As the music picked up the images began to flash faster, I suddenly snapped back into the present and then the big moment. The curtain dropped and Cher was perched, majestically, atop a lift in a bright dress with an ornate peacock headpiece.
Cher opened her set with "Woman's World" which I found very fitting as I felt like I was stepping inside Cher's world.
I realized instantly that this was not just any old concert. This was a production brought to life with numerous set and costume changes that included a burlesque theme, an old-fashioned carnival, and a giant Trojan horse that she emerged from for the song "Take it Like a Man". Did I mention the countless dancers and acrobats that literally flew through the air? It was an astounding spectacle.
Cher sang several of her hits including "Half-Breed", "Gypsys, Tramps and Thieves", "Strong Enough", and "If I Could Turn Back Time" (among several others) which got all of the crowd on their feet. My own personal favorite, which I was surprised to discover was not one of Cher's favorites, was the song "Just Like Jesse James" from her *Heart of Stone* album. I think I might have been the most excited person in Wells Fargo Arena during that particular song. There was also a very touching section in which video of Sonny was projected on a big screen and Cher sang along with him to some of their hits including "I Got You Babe." That was a beautiful moment to witness.
Not a single thing about this concert disappointed me, even the fact that she did not do an encore (because she is Cher and if Cher doesn't want to do an encore then Cher doesn't need to do an encore). What she did do throughout this nearly two-hour performance was incredible. Cher, at 68 years old, got herself on to an illuminated, bedazzled device that flew up and out across the audience like an angel as she delivered a beautiful song titled "I Hope You Find It". I attempted to record this but as she got closer to section 110 row K, I was in such awe that I just stared at her and waved. She literally flew right over my head and looked fabulous doing it.
This will go down as one of my favorite concert experiences and I have to say there is a big part of me that hopes to see her again. She did just announce that she would be extending the Dressed to Kill Tour so who knows what the future has in store. For now I will hold on to this fantastic memory and when I reflect back on my night with Cher will just wish that I "could turn back time" (guys, I'm here all week).