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The diva unleashes a spectacular at Caesars Palace.
Las Vegas and Cher have both changed over the years, but neither so much that the two old friends aren’t on the same page. Subtlety was never their strong suit, understatement not an option. “Las Vegas is way over the top, and the show that I do is way over the top. I feel that it just has to be,” the ageless (but really 62-year-old) star noted in February, when she first spoke of her three-year deal to play about 200 shows at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace.
And so the new opus begins with Cher, dressed in the golden garb of a Mayan princess, taking a ride over the audience, a 40-foot descent to the stage in a contraption that’s somewhere between a chariot and a Christmas ornament, one she calls “my Flying Wallenda, Evel Knievel death-mobile.”
The opening spectacle makes the gondola ride later in the performance seem rather modest. When it comes to the actual songs and their basic treatment, The Colosseum revue will be familiar to those who caught the singer on one of her “farewell” tour stops, which came to the MGM Grand Garden four times between 1999 and 2005.
“You’ve got to give people the songs they want,” Cher says. “I don’t like it if I go to see an act and they don’t do any of the songs that I love…If you’re going to sing to an audience you have to make them happy.”
And showgoers will be happy to see Cher dig into her “closet”—or at least a stage-prop version of it—to dust off such Bob Mackie-designed outfits as her Indian headdress for “Half Breed” and the gypsy garb for “Gypsies, Tramps, & Thieves.” In all, Cher and her 18 dancers and aerialists change costumes 140 times.
The creative team around Cher was allowed to amplify the production design and take advantage of the massive Colosseum stage. “We get to do things here we would never even dream of,” she says.
The show features bungee jumpers as well as dancers cavorting on a 65-foot, 10,000-pound bridge that moves up and down between two towers of scaffolding. Cher’s production puts three-dimensional scenery in front of—and makeshift dressing rooms in back of—the giant video wall that dominated Celine Dion and Elton John’s Colosseum revues. The video screen isn’t the novelty it was in 2003. “The big danger is that the screen becomes so important that you end up watching TV,” says production designer Jeremy Railton.
The video support in this case includes plenty of footage of the late Sonny Bono, singing with Cher in their early days. The duo already had worn through one pop career and was reinventing themselves as a nightclub act when they first played Las Vegas in 1969. Cher continued to play Las Vegas with and without him until her movie career took off in the 1980s during which she won an Academy Award for her role in Moonstruck.
She doesn’t miss her old Vegas schedule of two shows per night, with the second at midnight. “It just killed me,” she says. The new show is “kind of like a party” by comparison.
Show time for Cher at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace is 7:30 p.m., dark Monday, Thursday, and Friday. Ticket prices are $95, $140, $175, and $250, plus tax and fees. 866-510-CHER,Buy Cher Show Tickets HERE