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Cher provides an incredible concert experience in Atlanta

Cher performs at Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia. May 12 2014.
Cher performs at Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia. May 12 2014.
Photography by Andrew Snook

Part concert, part Broadway musical and part Las Vegas extravaganza, the CherDressed to Kill” or “D2K” tour event came into Atlanta on Monday night and played to a packed Philips Arena of faithful fans. Of course because it was Cher the whole was way greater than the sum of the parts. It was a spectacle unmatched by any other show that's come into Atlanta this year

From the opening number where Cher, dressed as an Amazon queen with a headdress of peacock feathers, emerged from under the stage on a plinth that raised her up more than 20 feet above its surface to the closing number where Cher was transported across the full extent of the arena on a floating platform, it was one extraordinary jaw-dropping moment after another. A Trojan horse, a Burlesque theatre and other backdrops, ten dancers, aerial theatrics caused the crowd to look at the stage in wonder.

Characteristic of a Cher concert, set and costume changes accompanied almost every different song. There were probably at least seven set changes and Cher had more costume changes than that. The sets were elaborate and loosely illustrated the song being sung. An old time circus set accompanied “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves” while the most impressive was Cher emerging from a Trojan Horse to sing “Take It Like A Man” while the video screen behind her portrayed Rome burning. Other sets incorporated aerial gymnastics and dance.

With each set and costume change there was a very short interlude that Cher chose to fill with a narrative of a particular part of her career. At various points she spoke about her movie career, her musical influences, and her relationship with Sonny Bono.

While the concert was pure spectacle from a visual perspective it should be noted that Cher’s voice has lost none of its power and range. Given the elaborate sets and stage shows you can almost be distracted from Cher’s voice. But it was her voice that gave her her break and it is still her voice that is the driving force behind these shows. Some of her most powerful songs were sung on a stripped down stage to ensure people focused on her singing. “You Haven’t Seen The Last Of Me” was particularly good.

Cher was also excellent when she came on stage wearing a sixties mini dress with red sequins and a long-haired dark straight wig. Recounting the overwhelming influence that Sonny Bono had on her personal life and professional career she then proceeded to duet with Sonny on video.

A little later in the show a three-song sequence showed the variety of musical genres among Cher’s tour de force. Starting with Cher’s cover of Mark Cohn’s “Walking in Memphis”, the soft-rock anthem was a hit for her in the mid-90’s and was another opportunity to show her great vocal range. She followed that with “Just Like Jesse James” a country song and finished the sequence off with “Bang Bang (My baby Shot Me Down)” a hard rocking number.

She finished the set off with another costume change into a mostly see-through black sequined body suit (that left little to the imagination), thigh length leather boots, a leather jacket and long black hair. Singing of her two biggest hits “I Found Someone” and “If I Could Turn Back Time” was the perfect high-energy finish to the set before she returned for an encore that consisted of “Believe” and “I Hope You Find It”, the latter song sung as Cher floated over the Philips Arena crowd on a platform suspended and moved by four cables.

It’s hard to find the superlatives to describe Cher’s “D2K” because the audio-visual experience is so extravagant, so incredibly over the top, that nothing can adequately describe the immersion that audience members feel in being part of this show. The whole is so much more than the sum of the parts. Perhaps the best way to describe is to use Cher as an adjective...”It’s brilliant, it’s just so Cher!”

Set list
Woman's World 

Strong Enough 

Dressed to Kill 

The Beat Goes On 
(Sonny & Cher song)
I Got You Babe 
(Sonny & Cher song)
Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves 

Dark Lady 

Half-Breed 

Welcome to Burlesque 

You Haven't Seen the Last of Me 

Take It Like a Man 

Walking in Memphis 
(Marc Cohn cover)
Just Like Jesse James 

Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) 

I Found Someone 
(Laura Branigan cover)
If I Could Turn Back Time

Encore:

Believe 

I Hope You Find It