From The Belfast Telegraph May 7, 2004 10:20:24 GMT -5
Post by Susanelizabeth28 on May 7, 2004 10:20:24 GMT -5
Live music: Cher exits in style
By Damien Murray
07 May 2004
She's been at the forefront of entertainment for five decades across a range of disciplines. Can Cher really be hanging up her hats? Damien Murray looks back at a sensational career
Pop queen Cher has more hats than an average day at Ascot. Not only has her five-decade career produced many chart-topping pop and rock hits, she's also had a successful career as an Oscar-winning actress, a film director, a gay and charity campaigner, and a Broadway star.
So this weekend should be one to Cher-ish (groan) for local fans as the age-defying diva tilts her musical hat in this direction for the last time by bringing her record-breaking Farewell Tour to Belfast's Odyssey on Sunday.
The Belfast date, and one tomorrow in Dublin, will kick off the two-month European leg of Cher's ever-expanding world tour.
The North American leg featured an incredible 202 shows, including six massive sold-out nights at New York's Madison Square Gardens.
Cher played to a remarkable 2.2m fans in what became the biggest US tour ever by a female artist. The show ultimately took on cult status with many fans returning more than 20 times.
Born Cherilyn La Piere on May 20, 1946, in California, the surprisingly shy youngster was the daughter of an actress mother, and a father who left home when she was three years old. After landing in LA at the age of 16, a chance meeting with music producer, Sonny Bono, changed her life when they teamed up to record the hippie theme song and monster hit, I Got You, Babe.
Known as much for their groovy attire and their extra-curricular romance as for their hits, including Baby Don't Go, What Now My Love, Little Man and The Beat Goes On - plus Cher's solo successes, All I Really Want To Do and Bang Bang - their stardom was short-lived and they soon disappeared into 60s mythology when prog-rock took over.
After being demoted to a Las Vegas lounge act, a television variety show, The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, saved the day by bringing the duo back to popularity in the 70s.
The show appealed to feminists who loved Cher's strong, independent persona, and she was soon back in the charts with Gypsys, Tramps And Thieves, before marital problems brought her personal and professional relationship with Sonny to a close.
Cher's career as a respected actress then took off. She landed a role opposite Hollywood A-list actress Meryl Streep in Silkwood, and received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
Mask, The Witches of Eastwick, Suspect, and Moonstruck followed with Cher winning a Best Actress Oscar.
After hit singles in the late 80s and early 90s, such as I Found Someone, If I Could Turn Back Time, Just Like Jesse James and Heart of Stone, and a role in the film, Mermaids, Cher seemed to have reached exhaustion point.
But 1998 hit album Believe once again managed the seemingly impossible. A huge hit in dance clubs and among her gay following, it became her best-selling album in 40 years.
My abiding memory of the multi-talented performer was seeing her Believe Tour when it played in Dublin five years ago. Not only did it revive all of her musical past, but entertained the capacity audience with an electrifying evening of the highest quality showmanship.
Reports suggest that this weekend's show, like its predecessor, is not so much a concert as a Vegas-style spectacular of the kind Belfast has rarely experienced.
And apparently she finishes each night by challenging newcomers - J-Lo, Britney and Christina - with the words: "Top this, you b**ches!"
Cher's Farewell Tour plays Belfast's Odyssey on Sunday. Tickets £60, & 9073 9074.