The penultimate tune of Cher’s Here We Go Again Tour at Chase Center in San Francisco on Thursday night was “If I Could Turn Back Time.”
It’s not something the Goddess of Pop needs to do. At 73, she’s as colorful as ever, and inspirational, too.
After telling a lengthy story about feeling rejected by Hollywood for being old decades ago, she said, “That was then, this is now. I’m not 40. I want young women to know: You have to follow whatever your heart is, whatever your desire is, and what you believe. Get up and feel how vibrant you are and how much fun life is.”
Her lavish 90-minute concert sure was fun. The number of times she changed Bob Mackie-designed outfits and hair-dos almost equaled the number of songs she performed. And why not?
The show was packed with awesome clips from her movie and TV career, going back to the 1960s when she hit the big time with her then-husband Sonny Bono.
Perhaps the sweetest number was when she dueted with him, via video, on “I Got You Babe,” their first chart-topping song. (For that tune and “The Beat Goes On,” she wore era-appropriate, sparkling, hip-hugging bell bottoms.)
She first entered the arena in a big blue wig and gladiator-ish costume – her backup dancers were dressed like Trojan warriors – for “Woman’s World” and “Strong Enough,” then left the stage only to come back atop a life-size elephant, in glowing harem garb, for “All or Nothing.” (“Aida” anyone?)
Even cheesier numbers in what at times felt like an old-time variety show coincided with 21st century film projects: “Welcome to Burlesque” from 2010’s “Burlesque” and three ABBA tunes from 2018’s “Mamma Mia” sequel, in which Cher played the granny. (And ABBA covers comprise her new album “Dancing Queen.”)
For “After All,” she donned a glittering gold gown and crown (it sort of looked like a Madonna in a Renaissance painting), then came out in black slacks and a jacket for an Elvis Presley-inspired segment with the songs “Walking in Memphis” and “The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s In His Kiss).”
She even veered into metal, with guitarist Joel Hoekstra (of Whitesnake) soloing center stage while she changed for “I Found Someone” and “If I Could Turn Back Time.”
When she returned, the big curly wig, knee boots and black body suit (reminiscent of the outfit banned from MTV in 1989 because it exposed so much of her butt) got huge applause.
Today she looks as amazing as she did then, derriere included; it seems unbelievable.
She closed the satisfying performance with the upbeat “Believe,” providing the fitting ending to an event that got off to a great start.
Nile Rodgers and Chic opened with a fabulous set of hits, including huge songs Rodgers wrote for others.
“Chic plays R&B, dance, disco, funk and soul music,” Rodgers said, as he and his tight band and amazing vocalists (lead singer Kimberly Davis belted!) barreled through “I Want Your Love,” “I’m Coming Out,” “Upside Down,” “We Are Family,” “Let’s Dance” and “Le Freak.”
He called the 2013 Daft Punk hit “Get Lucky” the song that saved his life after he was diagnosed with cancer, before he and the band ended with the Studio 54 tune “Good Times” – good times indeed.