Luke Matthews

REVIEW: Cyndi Lauper puts on a concert, Cher puts on a Vegas spectacle

REVIEW: Cyndi Lauper puts on a concert, Cher puts on a Vegas spectacle

See photos from last night’s show HERE.

It’s rare to see a unicorn in the wild. They’re elusive. They’re very rare. They’re to be enjoyed if you do see them. Monday night at Wells Fargo Arena, a sell out crowd saw not one, but two musical unicorns in Cher and Cyndi Lauper.

Cyndi Lauper had her heyday in the 80s and she knows it. When she performs today, she makes no secret that she’s a 60 year old woman singing songs that a 20/30-something version of herself made famous. Lauper is marking the 30th anniversary of the album that put her on the map, “She’s So Unusual,” one of the biggest albums of the 1980s. She performed multiple songs from that album including “Money Changes Everything,” “She Bop,” and “All Through the Night.”

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While the album and its creator have aged, Lauper’s voice seems to be perpetually stuck in the 80s. She still has the sassy speech of a Queens, New York native. But it’s her voice that really brought me back to being a young boy listening to the radio. It can’t go unsaid that Cyndi Lauper’s voice sounds exactly like you want it to sound. So when she performs “Time After Time,” “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” and the set closer “True Colors,” they sound just like you’re playing them from her album, and that’s perfectly fine with me. Also fine with me – Lauper performing “(The Goonies are) Good Enough” from one of my favorite movies, “The Goonies.”

When Cher first appeared on stage in an outfit that made her look like a rope light palm tree, you knew you were in for quite the show from the 68-year-old icon. I call her an icon not only because she’s earned the title over her long career, but also because she referred to herself as such during one of a couple relatable chats with the crowd. She even went so far as to call herself a legend. Whether the comments were tongue in cheek are debatable, but come on, it’s Cher. We get it, we’re not worthy. We’re honored to just share the same air as Cher.

Cher opened the show with two of her strong dance hits, “Woman’s World” and “Strong Enough,” the former from her latest album. She made sure to crack multiple jokes about whether this tour would be her last. Cher has become a bit of a punchline when it comes to farewell tours. (Another group that has made the twilight of their career about farewell tours – Kiss – comes to Wells Fargo Arena August 20)

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There were at least 10 wardrobe changes throughout the show. Halfway through, I realized I probably should have also counted the number of hair/wig/color changes as well, but those were difficult to keep up with. Suffice it to say, her hair was everything but blue (take that Katy Perry).

Cher’s show is very much like a Las Vegas revue traveling from city to city. Her throng of backup dancers were often times so far relegated to supporting roles while Cher was on stage that they soon became just pieces of the set dressing rather than adding to the show. While Cher went back for another wardrobe change, the dancers were moved to the forefront of the show much like how a magician wiggles his left hand so you aren’t paying attention to what is happening with the right.

The night was part concert, part retrospective on Cher’s life and career. She made certain to dedicate a part of the show to her rise to fame in the 60s with her husband, Sonny Bono. Multiple films were shown in between songs showcasing the most powerful duo in music during the 1960s. Cher then made for a tender moment in the show when she did a virtual duet with her late ex-husband to their signature song, “I Got You Babe.” You have to take a minute to appreciate seeing that song performed in person. It gave me much the same feeling that I had when Paul McCartney performed “Hey Jude” at the same arena in 2004.

CLIP: Cher (with virtual Sonny Bono) – “I Got You Babe”

A vignette was also shown of Cher’s movie career that rewarded her with an Academy Award for “Moonstruck” in 1988. She then performed “Welcome to Burlesque” from her 2010 film, “Burlesque.”

The best moment of the night was when Cher “broke it down” and performed some slower-tempo songs. After she sang her cover of the Marc Cohn hit “Walking in Memphis,” she gave the best performance of the night with “Just Like Jesse James.” This song is exactly in the wheelhouse that I love to hear Cher. It’s very singer-songwriter with a country flair. She is unlikely to ever make a full album in this style, but if she did, I’m willing to bet it would sound fantastic.

The show closed with a rapid fire of her biggests solo hits – “I Found Someone,” “If I Could Turn Back Time (during which she wore the outfit from the video),” and “Believe.” She then put punctuation on the show with a high flying rendition of “I Hope You Find It.” Cher sang beautifully as she was flown around the arena to give everyone a close view of the living legend.

Cher’s show is very Las Vegas in how over the top it can be at times. However, she does give glimpses into the kind of person she is off stage from time to time. You can tell she’s quirky, has a great sense of humor, yet probably takes herself a bit too seriously. When it came to the nostalgia factor, Cyndi Lauper definitely won the night. If it was an over-the-top carnival experience that you sought, then Cher delivered. Which should be expected from a legend. And she is, just ask her.

SETLISTS:

Cyndi Lauper:
She Bop
I’ll Kiss You
Witness
All Through the Night
Into the Night
Sex is In the Heel (from Kinky Boots)
Time After Time
Money Changes Everything
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
(The Goonies are) Good Enough
True Colors

Cher:
Woman’s World
Strong Enough
Dressed to Kill
The Beat Goes On
I Got You Babe
Gypsies, 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
Just Like Jesse James
I Found Someone
If I Could Turn Back Time
Believe
I Hope You Find It

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