Cher’s ‘Dressed To Kill’ tour in Nashville

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I saw Cher in concert for the 9th time Monday evening. Her “Dressed To Kill” tour stopped in Nashville, TN, and I was lucky enough to score three front row seats during a presale in October.

Honey, Amanda, and I headed down Monday afternoon, checked into our hotel, grabbed some Chipotle, and got dressed. We arrived at the arena and got to our front row seats about five minutes before the opening act, Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo, began their set. What followed was an hour of amazing classic hits, such as “Love Is A Battlefield” and “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.” So good!

Around 9:15, we heard Cher’s voice over the speakers telling us we were in for a treat. She also mentioned that she would be telling a story about almost being arrested in Nashville several years earlier. The house lights dimmed and the screams began. A fast-paced video was projected on the curtain that hung in front of the stage, which showed various Cher photos and clips set to remixes of her biggest hits. It was a fantastic way to build anticipation, which was evident in the delight of the crowd when the curtain dropped and Cher appeared in all her fabulousness (is that a word?) high atop a gold column.

The set was beautiful and constantly changed as Cher sung her way through a long list of greatest hits and four songs from her latest album “Closer To The Truth.”  Although Cher’s longtime costume designer, Bob Mackie, was unable to create the clothing for this tour, her outfits were fantastic. Everything was colorful and over-the-top, just like one would expect from a diva of her magnitude. The troupe of dancers accompanying her were top-notch, including two male dancers who performed a lovely, yet death-defying, interlude while hanging high above the stage from nothing but strips of fabric.

Being a big fan of “Game Of Thrones,” Amanda squealed with delight when a huge Trojan horse was wheeled out on stage and opened to reveal Cher in a gladiator-inspired getup. I was astounded at her Native American-inspired headdress while she performed “Half-Breed.” She was beyond beautiful, hilarious while telling stories about Dr. Pepper and joking about her age, and her voice was in great shape (she was definitely singing live).

After about an hour-and-a-half of hits and costume/wig changes, she finished the show by floating over the audience like an angel as she sang “I Hope You Find It.” It was gorgeous.

While I still prefer The Farewell Tour (better intro, better costumes, better setlist) over this one, it was absolutely one of the best concerts I have attended. It was theatrical, colorful, and thoroughly entertaining on every level.

Cher is my favorite living performer, so I would watch her even if she was just sitting on a stool singing or talking. Thankfully, she gave us so much more than that.

Setlist

  1. Woman’s World
  2. Strong Enough
  3. Dressed to Kill
  4. The Beat Goes On
  5. I Got You Babe
  6. Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves
  7. Dark Lady
  8. Half-Breed
  9. Welcome to Burlesque
  10. You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me
  11. Take It Like a Man
  12. Walking in Memphis
  13. Just Like Jesse James
  14. Heart of Stone
  15. Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)
  16. I Found Someone
  17. If I Could Turn Back Time
  18. Believe
  19. I Hope You Find It

Impersonating Michael Jackson

me_mjMost of you know that I love me some Michael Jackson, so when the opportunity arose a few years back to dress up for Halloween, I decided to do my best to create a mirror image of the pop star.

The event was Cher’s “final” concert of the Living Proof Tour. After performing for around two years, she announced that she was going to wrap things up in Toronto with a Halloween extravaganza. She invited her fans to dress up for the occasion, promising a party-like atmosphere. I knew this was my chance to go all out, so I started working on my costume weeks in advance.

I already had the black fedora and had been growing my hair to the point that it nearly reached my shoulders. After finding and purchasing a satin “Thriller”-inspired jacket, I created and handstitched a silk surgical mask and beaded glove. I completed my look with black pants, white socks, black loafers, and a shiny metal belt.

Size wasn’t much of a problem, since I was a few pounds lighter back then. I was also almost the exact same height as MJ, so the illusion seemed to have worked out pretty well all around.

The evening started with a search for lipstick, since I decided that the color I had brought on the trip with me just wasn’t going to cut it. I walked around downtown Toronto until I found a drugstore, where I went in and picked out just the perfect shade of red, feeling very “Michael” the whole time. I figured this was just like something he might have done, even if I didn’t have legions of bodyguards, press, and fans in tow.

The real fun started at the concert’s venue. Everyone was in great spirits and many were in costume. People almost immediately began approaching me with their mouths agape, saying things like, “Oh, my God!” and asking to pose for pictures. One security guard asked me to pull up my pant leg so he could make sure I had on the trademark white socks.

I had a great seat on the floor near the front of the stage and thoroughly enjoyed my fifteen minutes of fame as I strolled through the arena and saw the hundreds of people pointing and staring in my direction. I did my best to imitate Michael’s walk, hoping to fool the crowd into believing that Mr. Jackson had actually come to see Cher’s final performance.

Cher arrived on the scene in an unbelievable witch costume that had been designed by Bob Mackie, and the next two hours went by in a flash of dancing, music, lights, and screaming.

The whole night was so wonderful and enjoyable, save for one incident when a drunken young man started yelling at me about being a pedophile and liking “little boys.” It only gave me more sympathy for the musician, knowing that there must surely be a person like that in every crowd – one bold enough to say what so many are thinking.

I walked several blocks from the venue back to my hotel, basking in the adoration of those along the way. People would drive by and hang out their car windows screaming “Michael” and I felt like a true pop star, even if a little melancholy knowing that the fantasy would end when the costume came off.

Just a few weeks after returning home from the concert, I learned that Cher had added a couple of more dates in Vegas. Then she added another whole leg of the tour, finally ending it in May of 2005, almost two years after her “final” performance in Toronto.

I had no regrets, though. It was a night I will always remember.

Music meme

I stole this idea from Alyson.

What is the first music album you remember owning?

Hanging Tough by New Kids On The Block. A friend at school bought the cassette for me, but I hang my head in shame anyway.

If not the same, what is the first music album you purchased for yourself?

Look Sharp by Roxette, also on a cassette. I still love this album, although I’ve upgraded to CD.

What artist currently occupies the most space either in terms of shelf space or megabytes on your hard drive?

Michael Jackson on the shelf and Cher on the hard drive.

How many different types of music media (vinyl, cassette, CD, etc) have you owned in your lifetime?

8- track, vinyl, cassette, CD, mp3s, video-CDs, and several music video DVDs.

Who or what has had the biggest effect on your music taste?

Friends have definitely impacted my musical tastes, often alerting me to artists that I’m unfamiliar with. Amazon is also to blame for a plethora of impulse purchases.

How do you currently prefer to listen to music?

Usually when I’m working/playing on the computer, but I almost always listen to music in the car – loudly and over the objections of my significant other.

In terms of music memorabilia, what is your most prized possession?

I actually have two items that I cherish. An autographed photo from Michael Jackson, where he actually wrote my first name (faints and dies), and an incredibly rare figurine of him made by Spitting Image (see photo).

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Have you ever “swapped headsets” with a complete stranger (meaning have you ever unplugged the earphones from your listening device and plugged them into someone else’s player and had them do the same)?

I don’t like sharing germs with complete strangers.

Have you ever been completely obsessed with a particular artist? Who and to what level did your fandom go?

I’ve been a fan-atic over Michael Jackson since the early 90’s. The “Black or White” video is what initially captured my interest. I became so infatuated with him that I morphed into a Jackson clone – makeup, curls, armbands, white socks, medical tape on the ends of my fingers, etc. I did keep my original nose, though.

What is the farthest you’ve ever traveled for a concert?

I drove 16 hours to see the Michael Jackson 30th Anniversary Concert in New York City. I also drove over 13 hours to Toronto to see Cher’s Farewell Concert.

Who have you seen in concert the most?

Cher… 8 times. And I’d go again in a heartbeat. I absolutely love worship that woman.