Last chance to ‘Cher’ the love

PITTSBURGH – Although age-wise, she is not a “spring chicken,” Cher is the incomparable chick who is dazzling audiences this spring with her D2K Tour.

On April 4, Cher’s “Dressed to Kill” concert wowed more than 19,000 spectators in Pittsburgh’s Consol Energy Center (home of the Pittsburgh Penguins).

The concert began with Pat Benatar and guitarist husband Neil Giraldo celebrating 35 years together with a one hour of hark rock. Benatar has opened since the tour began in March, with Cyndi Lauper taking over the lead-in next week through Cher’s final concert on July 1.

Cher sang a dozen songs covering her hits over five decades in show business. Her voice sounded spot on, and her costuming was – as somewhat expected – simply stunning.

Cher sported a variety of long, different-colored wigs and headpieces, and her costumes – 11 of them – ranged from the beaded and spangled elaborate to a black sheer “biker look” body suit.

The pace never slackened during her near two-hour stint as her ensemble of dancers, back-up singers and acrobats entertained while Cher changed costumes in mostly rapid-fire order.

Visually, the massive set, consisting of a circular staircase, video screens, rising platforms, descending pillars and colorful chandeliers visually assaulted my senses more than any concert I’ve ever attended.

The opening number placed Cher on a 10-foot pillar as she sang “Woman’s World” while slowly descending to the stage. Each song was a mini-production number as she sang and joked with the audience. Apologizing for recent foot surgery, which kept her “from jumping around and dancing,” she immediately defied her doctor’s orders by scampering and prancing for a few minutes.

Spectacular sets ranged from “Burlesque” (“Welcome To Burlesque” and “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves”) to an Indian camp (“Dark Lady” and “Half-Breed”). During “Walking In Memphis,” home movie clips were shown of Cher as a teenager, dressed up as Elvis strutting her stuff.

There also were sound clips from a dozen of her movies, plus her acceptance speech after winning the 1987 Best Actress Oscar for “Moonstruck.”

The night’s most poignant moment came as Cher showed several videos from TV’s “The Sonny and Cher Show” with all the goofy skits and getups, which ended with Cher singing live over a clip of Sonny and her singing “I Got You Babe.”

And then there was the encore. Cher was perched on an open throne and, as she sang “I Hope You Find It,” was slowly drawn by a cable almost 30 feet in the air hovering over the audience.

Squeals and hefty applause continued until she was turned and returned back onto the stage. That was visually amazing and all the more so since this cable is not rigged on a permanent set, but is set up and “torn down” after single-night shows only to be hooked up again in a different venue as soon as the next night.

This D2K tour is also billed as Cher’s final farewell tour. She told the audience, “This is my farewell, farewell tour. I don’t want to be held up here with a stick.” But as the audience moaned, she turned and gave a couple of big winks.

After all, Cher is 67 years old and shows amazing energy and stamina. But if this D2K Tour is her farewell, Cher will visit a few nearby cities if anyone is yearning to catch the sheer magnitude of her concert. Upcoming tour dates in the northeast include: April 23 at First Niagara Center in Buffalo, N.Y.; April 28 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia; May 9 at Barclay Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.; and May 10 at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J.

Cher is still a uninhibited free spirit who brings renewed meaning to “Let Me Entertain You.” This she does in over-the-top grandiose fashion in her D2K and (maybe) farewell concert.