Cher | Here We Go Again
American Airlines Center – Dallas, Texas – December 19, 2019 | Words and Photos by Cassie Preston
I might not have been introduced to great music growing up, but my mother definitely gave me enough foundation to figure it out, and Cher would be the measuring stick I’d use to judge other Pop Princesses trying to pave their way to the top of the charts. I’m breathing heavy by the time I arrive at Media Check-In; I’ve run with my equipment from the Green Line stop at Victory Park to the box office back to the West side of the American Airlines Center. As a photographer, I’m required to stay in a designated area with my equipment bag on my person before shows. I usually do my people watching then so I can gather some details to use as I’m writing. As far as the eye can see there are crowds of mothers and daughters, the LGBTQ and drag queens (Oh My!) waiting for their Goddess of Pop, Cher.
But that’s when I hear from one of the male photographers, “I saw this video on YouTube (#lies it was probably a porn site or reddit), of these girls sucking each others [censor]. And someone came in and chopped their heads off. That’s what they do in the Middle East. And that’s what we should be doing here.” This photographer then gestures to a group of laughing drag queens, each dressed in an era of Cher’s career, letting people take photos with them. My typically quick wit is stunned and my mouth drops open because of the equally casual and inflammatory declaration just spoken aloud into our universe. This photographer continues his loud rant for all to hear and I am embarrassed to be in close proximity to him. But most importantly, I’m trapped because of my equipment. Is this guy fucking lost? Does he know he’s at a Cher concert? By the way, this dude makes his money by taking school and daycare portraits. So, who’s the real fucking weirdo now?
The Here We Go Again! Tour could not have started sooner. But also, about 20 minutes late. The lights go down and a silent montage of the last sixty years of Cher’s career with snippets of everything from The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour to Turn Back Time to The Witches of Eastwick flashing across three different screens. A remixed opening of Woman’s World plays as the montage finishes, the curtains drop & our Patron Saint appears suspended above the stage. She’s clothed in a shimmering purple toga with an electric blue wig. Her backup dancers are clothed as Roman warriors complete with headpieces and shields. Because when you’re Cher, nothing has to make sense. I begin to notice that she doesn’t actually dance, just sort of travels from one side of the stage to another around her dancers. After my walk out from the soundboard, I can hear Cher now talking to the arena, “You know when I was a little girl, I lived in Burleson.”. The crowd cheers because everyone in Texas loves their famous hometowners. I also hear something about Dr. Pepper AKA Texas’ Sweet Nectar.
Another montage begins, this time showcasing her & Sonny Bono in what I assume is both public and private recordings. Cher joins her crowd again, this time in a sparkling, hot pink, 70’s jumpsuit with a wig reminiscing her once long, iconic hair. “When I was planning this tour I was not sure how I would feel about performing this song but I know he loved it. And I don’t know if I’m going to have a next final tour because I’m like 500.” Then the beginning of I Got You Babe plays, and Cher begins her duet with the late Bono who is projected on the screen behind her. Cher exits the stage for what I will assume is another costume change.
American Airlines Center is actually spending a lot less time with Cher and a lot more time with her backup dancers or with the various montages projected on the arena sized screens. We wait for another costume change and try to be transfixed from clips of her movies. Do you remember that Bob Hoskins’ movie, Mermaids? I LOVED that movie. We see Cher’s coy wave goodbye to both her on-screen daughters, Winona Ryder and Christina Ricci. And as she drives away, the tail on her mermaid costume is stuck in the door of the car. Cher is now in a shimmering, velvet purple jumpsuit and performs three ABBA songs: Waterloo, SOS and Fernando. Most recently this 73 year old icon appeared as the estranged Grandmother in Mama Mia! Here We Go Again (See what she did there?). Months after the movie gained popularity, Cher released her homage to the band with a tribute album of Dancing Queen. Guess what happens next? She disappears for another costume change! We know it’s Cher and inevitably with that comes a theatrical combination of vibrant wigs and extravagant costume changes. However, I feel like it’s become excessive; there are still three more to come that I’m going to breeze over so as to not bore you.
I heard the opening piano to her next song, threw my head back in happiness and proclaimed, “YASSS!”. My absolute favorite song Cher does is Walking In Memphis … which isn’t even her song. The night is finished off strong with Cher transitioning into a version of her iconic Turn Back Time glittering, see-through bodysuit, tousled black curly hair complete with thigh high boots. An eruption comes from American Airlines Center; how is it that someone – who is old enough to be my grandmother – has such a phenomenal body? She performs her cover of Michael Bolton’s I Found Someone. Next is the song we’ve been waiting for, Turn Back Time complete with a battleship projected on the screen behind her. Another costume change and then, Believe.
With any large-scale performance, especially with a female artist, I expect costume changes to set the tone for a certain parts of the show. However, the Here We Go Again! Tour might have been impacted negatively instead of adding value with each transition. At one point in the show during a montage, I distinctly remember hearing Cher say plainly, “I’ve never really been accepted by singers as a singer, and actors don’t think of me as an actor,”. As a fan even I’ve forgotten that this multi-faceted artist has been the recipient of an Oscar, a Golden Globe, an Emmy, a Grammy along with countless other awards. Cher is just a Tony award away from achieving an EGOT, considered the grand-slam of American show-business. She belongs everywhere but at the same time, belongs nowhere. Maybe Cher has simply transcended all of us.
- Woman’s World
- Strong Enough
- All Or Nothing
- Beat Goes On (Sonny & Cher song)
- I Got You Babe (Sonny & Cher song)
- Welcome to Burlesque
- Waterloo (ABBA cover)
- SOS (ABBA cover)
- Fernando (ABBA cover)
- After All
- Walking in Memphis (Marc Cohn song)
- The Shoop Shoop Song (Betty Everett song)
- I Found Someone (Michael Bolton cover)
- If I Could Turn Back Time
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