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Cher dazzles at Winnipeg MTS Centre concert review

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Cher, Dressed to Kill Tour, Winnipeg, MB, MTS Centre, Jun 20, 2014

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Cher brought a taste of Las Vegas to Winnipeg on June 21, performing her AEG Live produced Dressed to Kill spectacular to a sold out crowd spanning three generations at the MTS Centre. The Grammy Award winning singer last performed in The Peg back on April 20, 2005 as part of her Living Proof: The Farewell Tour.

The charismatic 68-year-old entertainer referred to her latest trek as her "farewell, farewell" tour, saying, “There can’t be another one, because I’ll be dead!." In typical Cher fashion, the comment was accompanied by exaggerated winks and fingers crossed behind back.

The seemingly ageless diva has every reason to hedge her bets. Currently touring behind the highest-charting solo album of her career, 2013's Closer to the Truth, she's since enjoyed a hugely successful long-term residency at The Colosseum at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas and a resurgence of public interest following her appearance in 2010's campy "Burlesque."

The Queen of Pop continues to defy conventions, kicking off the show with her 2013 single "Woman's World," poised precariously atop top a 20-foot pillar, looking goddess-like, adorned in elaborate feathered headdress and gown. The eye-popping spectacle put the singer through her paces with a production which includes ten dancers, 11 costume and wig changes, a crack five-piece band, two backing singers, aerial stunts, numerous eye-popping props and scenery changes.

The 18-song setlist highlighted the length and breadth of the multi-award artist's storied career. The opening number was followed by her 1998 hit “Strong Enough," with Cher accompanied by gladiators and the tour's namesake song “Dressed To Kill” with had Cher rising out of the floor to twirl in a chandelier above the stage vamped out in fangs and a see through bodysuit.

Film footage from Cher's career along with extended instrumentals and dance routines accompanied the interludes between the many costumes changes. Those tempted to gripe about the star's long absences from stage during changes fail to realize that at a Cher concert the diva, spectacle and costumes are at least as equally as important as the songs.

Cher then time travelled back into the 60s, donning a mini-skirt and red go-go boots to perform two classic hits from her Sonny and Cher days. In one of the show's most touching moments, her late husband and former singer partner Sonny Bono appeared via LED screen to duet with Cher on their 1967 hit "The Beat Goes On" and their 1965 No. 1 smash "I Got You Babe." The huskiness in Cher's voice was more noticeable in her performances of the early hits, but the singer has retained her range, power and uncanny ability to emote feeling into song.

The dancers, dressed in turn of the century circus costumes, streamed out to perform on the arena floor as Cher segued into her early 70s career, performing a medley of "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves" and "Dark Lady." She then donned an orange floor-length feathered headdress to perform her 1973 hit "Half Breed."

A montage of clips from Cher's movie career proceeded the Oscar-winning actresses performances "Welcome to Burlesque" and "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me." Cher made another splashy entrance in giant gilded Trojan Horse clad a la Helen of Troy for her 2013 single "Take It Like a Man" and, in a more intimate moment, Cher took a chair while the dancers exited for her 1989 hit "Just Like Jesse James."

As the band pounded out a metal instrumental into to Sonny and Cher's hit "Bang Bang," the diva changed into her infamous nude black body stocking and leather jacket to perform "I Found Someone" and "If I Could Turn Back Time." The songs were hit singles from her 1989 studio album Heart of Stone.

To wrap up the night, Cher appeared in a neon pink costume and bobbed wig to perform her 1998 monster dance hit "Believe." In a stunt guaranteed to leave the audience more, Cher capped the evening with her latest single "I Hope You Find It," donning a platform suspended by cables, which then circled the arena amid sparkling lights.

Cyndi Lauper did a super job opening with an entertaining hour-long set. Touring behind the 30th anniversary of her breakout 1980 debut album "She's So Unusual," the two-time Grammy winner entered the arena surrounded by fans with a glittery boxing robe draped over herself, taking the stage while singing her ode to masturbation “She Bop.” The fiery red-head singer rocked the stage with classics like "Money Changes Everything, and mesmerized with ballads like “Time After Time.”

Lauper's set also included recent material such as “Sex in the Heel” from her 2005 Tony-winning musical “Kinky Boots" and "Into the Nightlife" from her 2008 studio album "Bring Ya to the Brink."

With her hilarious stage banter almost rivalling her high powered performances, Lauper's too short set ended with the one-two punch of her 1980 synth-pop smash "Girl's Just Wanna Have Fun" and a spine tingling cover of the Etta James blues standard "At Last."

The Dressed to Kill Tour will make its next stop on June 21 Saskatoon, SK - Credit Union Centre. For more information, check out Cher.com, CyndiLauper.com or AXS.com.

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