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Living Proof Concert Reviews

Toronto, ON - Air Canada Centre
TORONTO - The French term for goodbye, ''au revoir'', translates loosely into English as ''until we meet again.''
Which I guess, what Cher really meant the first time the 56-year-old dance-pop diva brought her Farewell Tour to the Air Canada Centre.
That was back in mid-June when she actually launched her latest and final roadtrip after rehearsing in Toronto for a week at Maple Leaf Gardens.
At the time, Toronto-area fans probably thought that was the last they'd ever see of her infamous Mohawk head-dress and glamorous Bob Mackie gowns in a live setting.
But that retrospective show--an hour and 45 minutes of non-stop spectcle, numerous costume changes and wigs, and hit after hit -- sold out in one day.
And if you can sell out basically the same show again in the same market a mere five months later -- as Cher did last night at the ACC, albeit over a longer period of time -- why not return?
``You guys are still as cool as you were last time!'' the singer proclaimed after, once again, making her grand entrance, descending from the ceiling on top of a golden chandelier to the strain of U2's I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For.
Her opening hair and outfit was the same too -- a long blonde wig, a white fur-trimmed, diamond-encrusted, hooded coat -- before, that is, she stripped down to a navel-baring and beaded browh and silver costume for (This Is) A Song For The Lonely, the first single from her latest album, Living Proof.
Other Mackie-designed ensembles making return engagements were a stunning turquoise and pink sari which she wore while riding a mechanical elephant (All Or Nothing, I Found Someone), the Mohawk-meets-Maori jumpsuit with the large black headdress (Bang Bang) and the fur vest with purple knit turtlleneck and striped bellbottoms number (All I really Want To Do, Half Breed, Gypsies Tramps And Thieves, Dark Lady).
Still, it felt like Cher -- who performed on an incredible stage dominated by two staircases, large amber-coloured lights, and three video screens -- had streamlined the show and made subtle changes to a few of the songs and outfits.
Thankfully, though, she didn't get rid of her black leather jacket and barely-there black spandex body suit that exposed her backside tattoos during Strong Enough and If I Could Turn Back Time -- two of the standout songs of the night.
Meanwhile her seven piece band and eight dancers/gymnasts, along with old clips from The Sonny & Cher Show that included performances with Tina Turner, Liberace, Elton John and David Bowie, filled in admirably whenever she left the stage to change into yet another costume.
Also returning last night was '80s pop icon Cyndi Lauper as Cher's opening act.
Decked out in a black tuxedo shirt, and matching pants with a red tartan train, the big voiced 49-year-old performer enthusiastically took charge of the crowd, visiting often with fans in seats on the floor and at the side of the stage.
Lauper's adorable son also sat in with his mother and her five-piece band for three songs including her breakthrough hit Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, banging away intently on a mini-drum kit while wearing headphones.
Auburn Hills, MI - Palace Of Auburn Hills
AUBURN HILLS - On the first U.S. stop of her farewell tour at the Palace of Auburn Hills Saturday, Cher offered living proof that she's a Renaissance woman.
Cloaked in a closetful of different costumes during the course of the set, Cher belted out two hours' worth of hits, celebrated her Oscar-winning film career and recalled her TV appearances with former husband, the late Sonny Bono.
She kicked off the spectacle with a retrospective video that included vintage photos and film clips backed by DAT verison of ''If I Could Turn Back Time.'' Cher, wearing a jeweled headdress and robe, made a stunning entrance, slowly emerging from the rafters atop a gold-plated chandeliet. She began the show with her self-proclaimed ''good luck'' tune, a disco verison of U2's ''I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For.''
Prior to ''Song for the Lonely,'' back-up dancers removed the headdress and robe to unveil a revealing midriff-baring vest and beaded harem pants. More dancers then arose from beneath the upper level of the stage.
She teased the audeience by saying this wasn't the ''official'' start of the show. First, she needed to share a few stories.
''Well, I'm back here. I have Mr. Bigg with me. Somebody threw him under a track last time we were here,'' she said before explaing that Mr. Big is her pet cat.
''We have to have a small chat. What do you think about me coming down 40 feet on a chandelier? I was laying in my bed and I thought a really cool way to the start show would be for me to come down on a chandelier. But I've never been 30 or 40 feet in the air, except for sometimes after sex,'' she added as members of the audience responded with catcalls.
Cher's show had a Las Vegas-meets-Cirque du Soleil-meets Ringling Bros. feel to it. Acrobats, wrapped in yards of fabric secured to the rafters, quickly unraveled themselve to the stage through songs such as ``We All Sleep Alone.'' Emphasizing the big-top vibe, Cher slipped on a ringmaster's jacket.
''When I was little, I used to love to go to the zoo. I wanted to be a ringmaster, but I thought that guys do that. I figured the hell with it. I'm doing it. Now were getting to the 'official' start of the Cher show,'' she said as the audience laughed.
``Ladies and gentlemen, flaming gentlemen, boys and girls and children of all ages, welcome to the Cherest show on earth.''
She then disappeared backstage and re-entered a top a puppet elephant singing ''All or Nothing''.
The set list for her Living Proof tour was a compilation of tunes from her long career. Cher performed medleys of such older hits as ''Half Breed'' and ''Gypies, Tramps, and Thieves''.
The retrospective video clips were a hit with the fans, who wildly applauded scenes showing her with Elton John, the Jackson 5, Liberace and David Bowie. She received a rousing response to clips from her films ''Moonstruck,'' ''The Witches of Eastwick'' and ''Silkwood''. As she recalled her film career via video, she sang ''After All'', from the Robert Downey Jr. movie ''Chances Are.''
In her video montage, she showed an interview in which she said that there were no benefits of growing old. Shortly thereafter, she performed ''If I Could Turn Back Time'' wearing a skimpy black outfit similar to the one she donned in the 1989 video for that track.
Cher's opener, Cyndi Lauper, was an energetic stage presence, running up and down the lower bowl, singing and dancing with the fans who arrived early to see her. She began her set with ''Shine,'' a new song that has become so popular that she is releasing an EP of the same name later this year to support it.
Vocally, Lauper sounded like she did at the height of her career. Renditions of ''Time After Time'' and ''Money Changes Everything'' were very well-received. Dubbing it a ''self-help song,'' Lauper served up a rockified ''She Bop.''
During her hour-long set, she frequently acknowledged her homosexual fanbase. ''It's gay pride this month. Sorry I couldn't be with you. Last time I was here, I was wearing a macaroni crown on my head, swinging from a swing, eatting Greek soul food,'' she said with a laugh.
In honor of gay pride, she wrapped herself in a rainbow-striped robe, while singing ''True Colors.''
Winnipeg, MB - Winnipeg Arena
WINNIPEG - If Cher has lied and this isn't her last tour, she will have a tough act to follow.
The superstar entertainer brough a full-on Las Vegas stage show to the Winnipeg Arena last night, proving nothing is too outrageous, outlandish or undoable in the wild world of Cher.
Following a video montage of pictures of Cher throughout the years, the aging dance diva made the most spectacular, over the top entrance music fans in this city have seen in recent memory, descending on to the stage on an oversized chandelier wearing a diamond encrusted fur cape while singing U2's I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For.
''I want to do all kinds of special sorts of things because this is my last time I'm ever doing this,'' she said to the jubilant crowd of 9,000.
''Give me a break, I've been an evil fricking diva for 40 fricking year.''
''Welcome to the Cherest show on Earth.''
As if to prove her point, Cher disappeared backstage, changed out of her red ringmaster's uniform and emerged dressed as an Egyptian Queen riding a purple fabric elephant.
The whole show was an eye-boggling spectacle, with elements of the Cirque du Soleil, broadway musicals and New York discos all part of the event.
The stage looked like it was designed by a European club owner, with two sets of steps leading up to a platform supported by two lighted columns topped by glowing orange balls. A wall of mirrored reflective panels behind the five-piece band and two backup vocalists created psychedelic patterns out of the lights as a dance troupe of eight performed acrobatics above their heads.
Besides all the glitter and gloss, the show was trip down memory lane. Old clips of the Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour and movies she starred in were displayed on three video screens while Cher made one of at least a dozen costume and wig changes.
She sang songs from throughout her entire career, mixing in new numbers such as Song for the Lonely, with songs made famous in the 1960s without missing a beat.
Opening act Cyndi Lauper showed she stills wants to have fun with a set of retro and contemporary pop. Despite feeling the effects of a recently healed broken leg, Lauper was a bouncy ball of energy, as perky and upbeat as she was when she was hanging out with wrestlers.
During her 60 minutes on stage she danced, rolled on the ground and ran into the crowd to hug fans.
Her voice hasn't changed from the days she topped the charts in the 1980s, but she sure looks different.
At age 49, she's replaced the pseudo-punk look with a smart lace blouse and black leathr corset. A spiky blond hairdo has taken the place of the wilde multicolored mane she used to sport.
Lauper played a mixture of her newer material, such as 1997's Sisters Of Avalon and Still With Me, along with the hits which made her an MTV saple, including a rollicking verison of Money Changes Everything, All Through the Night, and the subdued Time After Time, which featured a seated Lauper playing a custom wooden lap guitar.
Lauper finished the set with her breakthrough hit Girls Just Want To Have Fun, which turned into a giant sing-along and had the crowd dancing in their seats.