CHER – The Park Theater at the Monte Carlo, Las Vegas, NV – 2/14/17

Recap/Pictures/Video – Lisa “Sunshine” Svelnys – Hollywood Rock Journalist

As a young child I would sneak into my mothers record collection and thumb through all the covers.  Among those records was an old Sonny and Cher concert program – it was teal and she got it from a concert at The Hartford Civic Center in 1977. At 8 years old I would stare and day dream looking through that concert program until I was caught and told to put it away.

Being invited to Las Vegas to see CHER, front row center stage at The Park Theatre at The Monte Carlo by one of my very best childhood friends, was an incredible dream come true.
We were blessed with tickets for the show on Valentine’s Day, less than a week after opening night.

Cher has won a Grammy Award, an Emmy Award, an Academy Award, three Golden Globe Awards, a Cannes Film Festival Award, and a special CFDA Fashion Award, among several other honors. Throughout her career, she has sold 200 million records worldwide including her record sales as part of Sonny & Cher. She is the only artist to date to have a number-one single on a Billboard chart in each decade from the 1960s to the 2010s.

The 5,300 seat arena-theater in Vegas transformed into a kaleidoscope of colorful imagination. Cher wore Bob Mackie gowns (one weighing 75lbs), had 11 costume changes, incorporated ariel dancers moving on suspended silk ribbons, moving set pieces, never ending acrobats & dancers, a five piece band, and she rode a giant beautiful animated elephant.

The show lasted 90 minutes and was filled with career highlights; songs that empower you, make you sing and dance, and others that can easily evoke memories of days gone by. And some, even before you’re aware, can make a tear trickle down your cheek.

She performed 17 of her greatest hits,”Woman’s World,” “Strong Enough,” “All or Nothing,” “The Beat Goes On,” “All I Really Want to Do,” “I Got You Babe,” “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves,” “Dark Lady,” “Half Breed,” “Welcome to Burlesque,” “Take Me Home,” “After All,” “Walking in Memphis, “Shoop Shoop Song,” “I Found Someone,” “If I Could Turn Back Time” and “Believe.”

For “Half-Breed“, Cher came out in this incredible and STUNNING feathered costume, it was breathtaking. “Half-Breed” was featured on the album of the same name and became Cher’s second U.S. solo number-one single.

Being that it was Valentine’s Day, she changed her show a tiny bit. Instead of the audience Q and A, she took this time to talk about Sonny. She told the story about how she left home at 16 and lived with two other girls in a tiny apartment, well.. that was until she lost her job. Having no money and not wanting to go home, she talked to Sonny, who lived on the same floor, to see if she could stay there with him. He asked her if she could cook, she said yes, and he let her move in. However, before doing so he made a strong point of telling her that he was not attracted to her in any way and he would have women over in front of her. She said she always felt not accepted in any complete circle, and she always felt “less than”. We all know how this ends,.. or maybe you don’t. Sonny asked Cher to marry him on Valentine’s Day. After announcing that fact to all of us in the audience a giant video screen came down and she sang “I Got You Babe” to Sonny, who’s image was singing back to her on the screen. The whole audience fell into awe, it was a truly touching moment producing smiles, tears and allowing everyone in the audience to feel how much she REALLY did love him. Somehow I think it gave people hope that others could be remembered with such a connected devotion. To me it was the most emotionally beautiful part of the night.

The show ended on an incredible “high note” with the whole audience on their feet singing “Believe“… I think every person in the audience was completely astonished with what we had just witnessed. How on earth could this woman be 70 years old doing all that she is doing?! in my opinion she is out-performing artists a quarter of her age. Whatever Kool-aide she is drinking, I want some for sure!  This was an INCREDIBLE show and if you have the opportunity to get a seat in Vegas… DO IT! It will be a memory of a life time.

For the Record, Cher is 70 years old, so any excuse you have about doing anything is invalid 🙂 And Be Warned…She says this time that “…it really is the last show.”
*Special thank you to A. Turlington and to my mother Wilma, who did the right thing and let her daughter find her record collections as young a child.
I love you both immeasurably.
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