Cher – Live @ Spark Arena, Auckland 2018
Totally amped walking up to Spark Arena tonight for the first of only 2 concerts by Cher. An icon of pop since I was a child, I never thought I’d get the chance to see her in person and what a show!!!
WORDS BY KIMBERLY JONES | PHOTOS BY GARY BRANDON
Known for her eclectic taste in costumes, Cher has inspired many in the crowd to dress up also. Some in simple glittering wigs with the odd studded leather jacket with others in full dress with makeup, and it all takes me back to the 80s. Such varied couples out on date night spanning the decades. One couple I spoke with before the concert said this was their first concert together after almost 40 years together!!!!
DJ Andrew McClelland prances on to the stage to warm us up with Da Do Run Run only to strut his stuff dancing all around the stage. What a night this is going to be!!! I don’t expect to be seated for long!!! People already on their feet dancing in the aisles and I spot a Cher look alike here too. This night is bound to be checking off some bucket list items for plenty of concertgoers. The classic Grease song You’re the one that I want is played and some ladies at the front start to single out one of the security offices much to his embarrassment and the crowd’s delight.
Anticipation builds as 8.30pm comes and goes. Cell phones at the ready for the first shots of the night. Cher enters the stage to Woman’s World and starts the night wearing a gold dress, orange wig and headdress as well as a gold microphone to top it all off.
Unable to decide if we sit or stand Cher continues with Strong enough and loses the long dress. Herculean dancers support the diva on stage and we are treated to a dressed down solo showing off that she still has her unique and powerful voice.
“Hang on my wig and I need a drink.” springs an uproar of applause by the crowd. Cher continues on with a story she says she hopes will translate here. She explains how in the early days Sonny and she owed money and decided to switch it up a bit by Sonny wearing a dress and Cher a tux in local theatres.
But one night Cher got angry she got drunk and started to talk about the 2 nights it took for her to turn 40 to the unappreciative crowd in the theatre. With a friend at Heartbreaker hotel, Cher says to herself that she’s 40 but she’s still Hot!! We are treated to quite a story about Cher turning 40 but no one could capture the emotion to retell it. No one delivers a punchline like Cher!
She heads backstage after a quick “where is your granny tonight”
The stage is set up with staircases either side of a large doorway making a balcony typeset with a massive screen at the back. An elephant takes centre stage in an Indian theme with the dancers gliding across the stage. Vibrant colours and lighting bring Cher back on stage atop the elephant. In a pink outfit she belts out a well know ballad All or Nothing.
Little man is played while there is another costume change with a video montage of Cher and Sonny. Red and white lights and The Beat Goes On has Cher grooving back on stage in a long sleeve pink shirt with striped glitter pants and a purple fur jacket. Some psychedelic dancers and patterns on the big screen keep the crowd screaming. This show is quickly ramping up to be the best this year.
I Got You Babe means we all take to our feet again as Cher performs possibly her most famous duet with Sonny singing his part on a big screen that’s rolled onto stage. At times I couldn’t hear her as the crowd got swept up in the excitement and the screams of I love you were endless!
A medley of Gypsys, Tramps and Thieves and Dark Lady brought out the diva in all the ladies in the crowd. Cher wearing the most colourful dress of the evening and showing a bit of leg!!
A Tribal sound and dancers wearing grass pants remind me of American Indian ceremonial dances and leads into Half breed with Cher favouring orange again looking like the daughter of a chief. With “Burlesque” being chanted by a handful in the crowd, who had clearly checked the set list before heading out tonight, brought us into You Haven’t Seen The Last Of Me and Burlesque. What made these two songs stand out was that not only did Cher wear the same outfit that she had in the movie but she sang in the same key that everyone knows and loves so it was easy for the crowd to join in regularly.
A starry sky appears and ropes drop from the ceiling for what ends up as an amazing aerial display to the soundtrack of Lie To Me. Gasps and surprised applause scatters around the arena as the couple dancing in the air pull off what seem to be effortless drops and holds. Absolutely stunning.
All eyes are on the stage watching the magic unfold.
Donning her Mamma Mia wig and costume Cher delivers a rousing version of Waterloo and SOS. This woman never ceases to amaze us with all the choreography yet not a note is missed. From the top of the balcony, sending us all back to her scene in Mamma Mia 2, Cher delivers her cover of Fernando. With blue lights adding to the emotion the crowd emphatically sing along the loudest the crowd has been all night. Fireworks explode on the big screen as the song reaches its crescendo.
A composition of movies that Cher has starred in allows everyone to have a seat and rest their voices and feet. I can feel my voice fading already. With famous quotes from movies like Mermaids, there is the occasional outburst of laughter and plenty of applause.
A castle on an island surrounded by crystal clear blue water has Cher emerge from backstage looking like a Greek goddess in gold sequins and a crown type headdress. Another ABBA tribute, After All has some in the crowd moved to tears. Another short video clip from Cher allowing for another costume change and we are all helping with Walking in Memphis which gives me goosebumps. Cher is dressed in a simple white off the shoulder top with striped pants looking just gorgeous and rocking a silver microphone now. No detail is overlooked in this show.
Straight into The Shoop Shoop Song and 2 back up singers help deliver my favourite of the night. No one left in their seats on the floor. A totally amazing electric guitar starts Bang Bang and the crowd rocks out hands in the air.
Wearing her well known black see-through sequin number and delivering yet another banger, I Found Someone, delight is clear on her face as a short guitar solo sounds through the arena and we round out the set with If I Could Turn Back Time and Cher skips off stage.
Keeping Believe as her encore we are yet again amazed by her vocals ringing through the arena over the electronic backing tape. It truly is hard to pinpoint any one part of the show as a favourite as the entire evening has been at such a high calibre. What else would Cher deliver? This was a chance in a lifetime concert and I am honoured to have been able to attend. Not a show to miss.
As Cher said, What’s your granny doing tonight??