Saturday, May 10, 2014

LIVE FROM NEW YORK: Cher is 'Dressed To Kill' with Cyndi Lauper & More!

Serving 'Black Swan' realness at almost 70. Your faves could never.
Ya'll, I'm seeing more artists in one week that I have all year, so it's definitely a good time to be Mel.

Tonight, I'll be seeing the ladies of HAIM at Terminal 5 but last night, I was invited to the Barclays Center in my current home of Brooklyn to see two female legends strut around and do their thing via the 'Dressed To Kill' tour -- Cyndi Lauper and the one and only Cher.

(I've now officially seen Madonna, Janet, Pat Benatar, Blondie, Britney, ChristinaCyndi Lauper and Cher. Pretty sure all I need now is Celine and I can officially get my Kathy Griffin card.)

The Barclays Center is a huge venue -- if it's not comparable to Madison Square Garden, it has to come very close. We were quite close to the stage which added to the excitement. 

Cyndi Lauper as an opening act is just plain insanity and she and Cher are close pals and tour partners for years now. She was celebrating the 30th anniversary of She's So Unusual as well as the success of Kinky Boots on Broadway and ran through rather quickly all of her big hits including "She Bop", "All Through The Night", "Witness" and "Time After Time" (complete with crowd sing along) in a bright red mermaid wig in between bits of chatter in her trademark New Yawk sarcasm ("sorry about it!"). She also pulled out a bit of "I'm Not My Father's Son" a capella from Kinky Boots before launching into her version of "Sex Is In The Heel" (while wearing combat boots -- "sorry about it!").

Cyndi even ran out into the audience on several occasions and danced with fans while rocking out. Her voice sounds exactly the same. It's unreal.

For the grand finale, she brought up a surprise special guest in Rosie O'Donnell, who confirmed that Cyndi's mother was in the audience as was Liza Minnelli, who they pulled on stage. Cyndi launched into "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" while Rosie (with tambourine) and Liza sang back up (well...sort of). It was the stuff of legend, I say. And it really happened.

After Cyndi's set, we only had a few minutes to wait before Cher began her head-turning set. Real Talk -- I've never seen Cher live but I'm so glad I took the chance to see her. Not totally unlike Madonna and Janet, an icon of her caliber is a must to see as a fan of pop music, at least once in your life. Almost every song came with a serious costume change and she sang live the whole time, belting out in her infamous alto loud and clear with a big, bright smile on her face.

Her set opened with my theme song for life, "Woman's World". While I'm pleased with her latest album, Closer To The Truth, I was glad the main focus of the show was celebrating her decades long career. She also pulled out "Take It Like A Man" (dressed as Helen of Troy complete with a Trojan Horse), "Dressed To Kill" (as a vampire, complete with fangs -- she gets the joke that she lives forever, guys) and her Miley cover "I Hope You Find It" was her final bow as she soared over the audience. No "I Walk Alone" though. :(

While her performances were campy and over the top in the best way possible, it was her charisma that permeated the entire theater. There is a reason this woman has been so famous for so many years and her beauty and hilarity was sparkling all night long. Yes, honey -- she gets all the jokes, she's heard them all a million times and can still bring the house down. She repeatedly quipped some jokes at Dr. Pepper and even managed a quick shade toward Katy Perry and Lady Gaga when stating she was 68 (68!) and still rocking full costumes and heels on a live vocal tour ("What is your granny doing tonight? Not this!").

There were references to Sonny Bono a plenty, including a mod-tastic performance of "The Beat Goes On" and a sweet nod in "I Got You", sung in tandem with Sonny via a large project screen. 

A lot of credit is due to her incredible troupe of dancers, in particular two aerialist artists who were both gorgeous and talented (pandering to the gays? No way, honey.) -- in one particular vignette, she mimicked a nineteenth century circus before walking out in full gypsy garb for "Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves" before disappearing momentarily and the circus became a full Native American drum circle just in time for "Half Breed" (in head to toe feather headdress and sequins). The costumes, darling -- I was living for it!

There was a nod to Burlesque (which gets far too much hate, to be honest) including "Welcome To Burlesque" and "You Haven't Seen The Last of Me". During set and costume changes there were a lot of video montages, many of which featuring Cher's plethora of film roles. She pulled out an acoustic-ish session in tribute to Elvis with her cover of Marc Cohen's "Walking In Memphis" as well as "Just Like Jesse James" (which she stated she "kind of liked". Haha.).

My favorite moment was the pinnacle bit toward the end when she walked out in her iconic black sequins & sheer bodysuit, belting out the double whammy of "I Found Someone" and "If I Could Turn Back Time". The entire night was worth it just for those moments. Dear Goddess Janet Jackson, help me to be that sassy at almost 70. It literally blows my mind.

She closed her show technically with a dub-step-addled dance remix of "Believe", complete in a hot pink wig and silver sequined body suit with pink pasties (nope, not joking).

Overall, her set flew by despite quite a few downtime interludes while the icon that is Cher literally reinvented her image again and again and again right before our eyes. The entire evening was joyous and too fun for words. Basically, if you've never see her live -- go. You'll have a blast. 

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