Published on theMusic.com.au, Oct 2018
Pic by Ted Dana
The abundance of sailor hats scattered around Perth Arena was fitting, not only given the headline act but the waves of excitement she brought with her.
DJ Andrew McClelland went above and beyond in his duties as a warm-up act, dishing up a smorgasbord of classic hits that rendered the space the hottest place in the country, both figuratively and literally.
“Ladies and gentlemen, Cher is ready,” he declared, and shortly after, Woman’s World played soundtrack to a dizzying, nostalgia-fuelled slideshow through her career, before the curtain dropped, revealing the pop icon to a standing ovation.
From thundering sampled drums to a soft piano line, Strong Enough signalled a slight change of pace, with Cher’s booming vocals taking centre stage over a tight disco jam.
An army of backing dancers dressed like Roman warriors offered up an intense energy and amplified a stage that resembled something from a classy Broadway production.
“I have to get a drink, then I’m going to tell you a fabulous story,” Cher said, taking punters back to the ’60s and conception of The Sonny & Cher Show, turning 40, calling David Letterman an arsehole to his face and more.
She stood solo on stage telling stories under a spotlight for 20 minutes, with most of the venue hanging off every word.
“Before I tell you my age, I just want you to know not so long ago I did a five-minute plank,” the 72 year old said. “What’s your granny doing tonight?”
She disappeared for the first of many costume changes and the stage transformed into an immersive Indian landscape to the tune of Gayatri Mantra, before Cher re-emerged riding a prop elephant.
The auto-tune was in fine form for All Or Nothing, before another costume change and nostalgic montage saw a return to the ’60s and another quirky yet classy callback with The Beat Goes On, fittingly carried by a tight snare drum and rolling toms.
“Don’t laugh, I’m on a Farewell tour,” Cher said as she dove into an anecdote of seminal hit of I Got You Babe, featuring Sonny on the big screen and delivered with such emotion it sent chills down the spine.
The team was cycling through elaborate sets just as quickly as songs, from a “Magical Mystery Circus & Carnival” for Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves to a Burlesque extravaganza, each designed in such a way to amplify their respective song’s meaning or tone.
The logistics in changing props and dressings meant backing dances were left to entertain the crowd for a third of the show, something they nailed through eclectic and captivating choreographed moves. While many of those interludes proved surprising set highlights, nothing could match an electric medley of ABBA hits that included Waterloo, SOS and Fernando, the latter of which had the crowd soaring in time to the song’s dramatic and haunting sustains.
By the set’s end, the general consensus among many was that Cher is only getting better with age, something you’d be hard pressed to argue during the execution of set closers If I Could Turn Back Time and Believe.
With a mixed bag of classic Cher hits and covers alongside anecdotes and TV/film clips on the big screen, the Here We Go Again Tour summed up her legacy perfectly in only a couple of hours.