How I Grew to Love and Respect Cyndi Lauper and Cher More than Before

IMG_20140607_221620_138Cher at the Allstate Arena, June 7 2014

Over the past few years I’ve been lucky enough to attend some epic concerts, but if you would’ve told me I’d be seeing Cher or Cyndi Lauper live and have a good time I would’ve laughed. To be fair I don’t dislike either singer. My mom is a huge Cher fan, so I grew up with a lot of her music playing in the house. When “Believe” came out in 1999 I liked it so much I sat in front of a fan singing to get her autotune effect. And I couldn’t help but fall in love with Lauper’s outlandish style. Anyway, my mom got Cher tickets for Christmas and of course I was going with. I didn’t mind, but I didn’t expect it be an amazing show.

Due to the insane success of “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” many people write off Cyndi Lauper. Even my mom didn’t think she was that talented. I expected her to be good, but not phenomenal. She opened with the fun and scandalous “She Bop” before moving into “I’ll Kiss You” from her debut album. Things really got started when she performed “Witness” and “All Through the Night.” It was here where she stomped, spun, and danced around like it was 1985 again. Seeing her move around with such vibrancy and energy made you forget she is 60. She also looked gorgeous with flaming red hair.Since it is the 30th anniversary of her debut album, in between songs she would tell stories from the making of the record and the writing process for certain tracks. While she did perform her classics like “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” which got everyone out of their seat, and “Time After Time,” she also performed some of her newer material. She got steamy with “Sex is in the Heel,” which found her rolling and crawling across the floor. But the one thing that cemented Lauper as a talented singer for me was her rendition of “At Last.” She told a short story of when she first saw Etta James’ picture and heard the song. She then launched into a beautiful and faithful version of her own. The notes she held showed how strong and powerful her voice really is. If you don’t believe Lauper is an important icon, look for this cover and you’ll understand how great she is.

If you think people don’t give a shit about Cher, looking at the sold out arena will prove you wrong. While the crowd was excited when Lauper was on stage, they exploded when only photos of the diva splashed across the stage. Her set began with a retrospective of her career and her many different looks while her latest song “Woman’s World” played. I personally thought it was cool and showed the staying power of the singer and how she’s not afraid to reinvent herself. Of course, she knows how to make an entrance. She stood on top of a tall pillar with a massive show girls like headdress on while singing “Strong Enough” with her dancers surrounding her. She sounded amazing and looked even better. When the song ended, she entertained the crowd by joking about this being her final final tour (though she had her fingers crossed behind her back). From her crowd banter, it’s clear she doesn’t care what anyone has to say about her as she boast how she could still fit into her “Turn Back Time” outfit. She was funny, cynical, and sarcastic especially when it came to people in the box seats or as she called them “rich people seats” and said they didn’t know how to party.

The thing that made her show so amazing were the visuals and the costume. She had numerous costume changes, so it took her a while between songs to come back out, but she keep the crowd going with her dancers and videos that played on stage. Before she performed “Dressed to Kill” fans were treated to a video where vampires are preparing for the arrival of their leader, who is of course Cher. She opened her mouth to reveal her fangs and the stage was set to look like a gothic cathedral. A chandelier rose from the floor with her sitting in it. The stage tricks didn’t stop there. She created her own carnival for “Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves” and her own brothel for “Welcome to Burlesque.” Gladiators and a Trojan horse took over the stage for “Take it Like a Man” and for “Half Breed” Cher decked herself in a headdress that went to the floor. Every outfit was stunning and made you feel like you were watching a Vegas show.

There were some subdued moments during the concert as well. One of the sweetest was her performance of “I Got You Babe.” She sang the song with old footage of Sonny Bono proving to be a bittersweet moment. She slowed things down with “Just Like Jesse James,” “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me,” and “Walking in Memphis.” Here is where she showed she still has her powerful vocals. She sounded absolutely beautiful here. But she soon picked things back up with the fan favorite “If I Could Turn Back Time.” And yes, she was in an updated version of her scandalous outfit from the video.

For “Believe” she came out decked in a sparkling dress and was even bold enough to have her boobs exposed with only a heart-shaped pastie to cover up. Maybe you may not want to think about it, but she still looked pretty damn good. The dancers were also their best here in vibrant neon outfits, pulling off flips and spins that left you in awe. Her last song of the night, “I Hope You Find It,” had her sailing across the arena, dressed up like the Virgin Mary in glittering platform. It was breathtaking and so unexpected. She thanked the crowd, waved goodbye, and left everyone begging for one more song.

I may not be the biggest Cher fan, but seeing her put on a fantastic show makes me understand why she’s such an icon. She does what she wants and never back down. Though she’s been dogged in the media for years, she doesn’t care and is never afraid to poke fun at her age or her plastic surgery. Either way she’s still talented as hell. I’m glad I could see these icons live and gain a new found respect for them both.


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