One of my best friends lives in Orlando and I try to visit her every year. When she lived near me we went to a few concerts together, including Peter Frampton, Elton John, and Tom Jones, as her husband really isn’t a fan of the music we like, and it gave my husband an excuse not to go with me. Now that my friend is in Orlando the only concert she’s been to with her husband is opera great Andrea Bocelli. Since I’m a huge concert fan we’ve decided to time my visit based on a concert we’d both love to attend. Two years ago it was Billy Joel. This year it was Cher. Billy was once again performing at the Amway Center in early January, and he always puts on a great show. But people, this is CHER! Not just a singer or actress, but an all-around entertainer. This was a show we did not want to miss.
If you know anything about Cher you're aware of her wild costumes, big hair, and stunning sets. At the Amway Center she did not disappoint. The show started with a video montage of Cher, from the 1960s to the present day, including clips with Sonny Bono, her former singing partner and husband, and her children. This was followed by Cher’s dramatic entrance, complete with orange hair and golden headpiece, singing one of her more recent hits, “Woman’s World.”
She took some time during the show to tell a few stories as only Cher can. She told the crowd about her “two night” 40th birthday, which was when she met one of her longtime boyfriends, Rob Camiletti. Her 15-minute story had the crowd laughing and applauding, especially after she announced that at 72 years old she wasn’t as good as she once was but was happy just to be there. Hey, if I look like that when I’m 72 I’ll find a stage somewhere and strut my stuff!
During the numerous costume changes, video montages and voice overs played on small tv screens on the set: Cher dressed as Elvis Presley and singing “Heartbreak Hotel;” Sonny and Cher performing “Little Man/All I Ever Need Is You.” The most poignant was Sonny singing his part while Cher sang live on “The Beat Goes On” and “I Got You Babe.”
Remember the “Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour” from the early 1970s? For me, it was must-watch TV. Sonny and Cher not only sang, but performed in silly skits. Cheesy by today’s standards, yet a fun memory.
The fans were truly loving Cher’s covers of ABBA hits: “Waterloo,” “SOS,” and “Fernando.” Cher was feeding off the crowd’s energy and they responded by singing and dancing along.
For the ending songs, “If I Could Turn Back Time” and “Believe” Cher was rocking an outfit very similar to the risqué body stocking she wore for the video of “Time” in 1989, though this time much more modest.
Fans were expecting a party at the Cher concert and they were not disappointed. While her voice isn't quite as strong as it once was Cher still knows how to work a crowd. She may be 72 years old but she still has a bright future ahead of her.
The opening act for Cher on this tour is Nile Rodgers and Chic. I have to confess the first time I saw Chic was…ahem…40 years ago when they played at my college. Yes, that’s how long I’ve been going to concerts, with a gap when my kids were young. Chic performed for close to an hour, which really wasn’t long enough. They started with the hits, “Everybody Dance,” “Dance, Dance, Dance,” and “I Want Your Love.” Nile Rodgers talked a lot about his history in the music business, as most people either know him from his work with Chic, or his work as a producer of many well-known artists: Duran Duran, David Bowie, Diana Ross, Sister Sledge, and Daft Punk, just to name a few. Rodgers, a cancer survivor who acknowledged music is what kept him going during his recovery, really got down and funky with Chic singing and dancing to their huge dance hits, “Le Freak” and “Good Times.” It felt like we were back in the late 1970s/early 1980s disco era, and I loved it. What a way to end the show!
Seeing Chic brought back some sweet college memories. Cher was just a lot of fun. And of course spending time with my BFF – priceless.