Cher/ Chic featuring Nile Rodgers
United Center, Chicago
Friday, February 8, 2019
Farewell season is in full swing, but like the majority of her career, Cher was well ahead of that curve when she waved goodbye 325 times from 2002 through 2005. Though she briefly encored while being “Dressed To Kill” in 2014, she’s back yet again five years later with a wink on the ever so appropriately named “Here We Go Again” outing, which also borrows a line from the ABBA song turned movie series featuring her superstar cameo.
Notching yet another United Center sell out, the grand diva joked about not being able to make up her mind, and as a result, upped even the Cher-iest expectations imaginable and making anyone who paid whatever the price thankful for the opportunity. The headliner may now be 72-years-old, but she was absolutely bulletproof throughout 90 Las Vegas-level minutes, performing certified smashes from not only the 1960s, ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s, but the 2000s through now.
In fact, it was “Woman’s World” from her most recent original album Closer To The Truth that found a sparkling Cher descending from the ceiling on a bedazzled archway, oozing empowerment and drenched in club beats that could’ve easily been popularized by an artist a quarter of her age. She stayed in that lane for the like-minded “Strong Enough” and “All Or Nothing” (animatronic elephant and all) then dialed the time machine back to her days singing alongside Sonny for “The Beat Goes On” and a virtual duet of “I Got You Babe.”
With each era came an entire wardrobe makeover and next it was off to the movies for “Welcome To Burlesque,” followed by an expanded ABBA set that mirrored her current Dancing Queen tribute album and could’ve easily landed her an audition for the actual group. In terms of strictly singing, Cher shined in the unvarnished by comparison “After All” and aced the part of a rock n’ roller come “I Found Someone,” enhanced by Illinois’ own ace axeman Joel Hoekstra (of Whitesnake and Trans-Siberian Orchestra fame).
The legend continued to defy age vocally and visually with “If I Could Turn Back Time,” strutting in a revealing outfit inspired by the steamy MTV clip and obliterating any ageist opinions. An encore of “Believe” fired up the Auto-Tune from at least a couple decades before it became commonplace in hip-hop and pop, and as she paraded around the Cirque du Soleil-styled extravaganza, reinforced the fact that while momentary stars ascend and descend faster than ever nowadays, Cher is fiercely forever.
As if that wasn’t enough, Chic featuring Nile Rodgers, fresh from the long player It’s About Time, got everyone warm with a series of the group’s own grooves and the leader’s key productions. “Everybody Dance,” “Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)” and “I Want Your Love” may have debuted during the days of disco, but have endured as textbook examples of funk and soulful pop, while Rodgers work with Diana Ross, David Bowie, Daft Punk and dozens more of similar stature easily justified his recent induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
-Review and photos by Andy Argyrakis
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