Cher's O2 Arena Extravaganza Is A Jaw-Dropping, Life-Affirming Experience

Cher's O2 Arena Extravaganza Is A Jaw-Dropping, Life-Affirming Experience

It's a message from the ultimate show-girl...

Playing the O2 Arena must be daunting for many. But style icon, Twitter connoisseur and all-round living legend Cher made it seem effortless.

Sunday evening turned into Friday night and dare the word “gig” be uttered by anyone in the audience. This was an extravaganza, Cher said so herself.

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You’d expect a polished performance for someone whose career spans five decades, and a polished performance is what we got. The evening began with golden gladiators prancing around Cher for ‘Woman’s World’, she was wearing a neon blue carnival-esque bodysuit, suitably adorned with all the glitter.

“How do you like my beautiful blue wig? It’s natural!” she teased.

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After disco classic ‘Strong Enough’, the crowd was treated to a ten minute memoirs with Cher monologue where Cher recalled turning 40 and being turned down for Witches of Eastwick for “being too old” - she was funny and charming and genuinely seemed to still enjoy being on stage even After All this time… during her speaking parts there wasn’t a single person in the arena who cared that she wasn’t singing.

Her charm, wit and ‘not-give-a-fuck-ery’ remained front and centre and managed to make a 20,000 capacity arena feel like an intimate show - and of course she couldn’t resist a little Presidential dig around the fifteen-minute mark.

“I could go off but anyway he’s an asshole - and I don’t think Boris is that much better!”

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From the Sonny tribute (‘The Beat Goes On’, ’I Got You Babe’), the sultry Burlesque moment (‘Welcome To Burlesque’) to Whitesnake guitarist Joel Hoekstra jamming out for a good while (honestly just for fun and to prolong an outfit change interlude but still, go off Joel), there was no rhinestone left unturned on this elaborate path down memory lane.

The cover-heavy show included smash hits like Marc Cohn’s ‘Walking In Memphis’, Micheal Bolton’s ‘I Found Someone’ and of course, ABBA. Thanks to Cher’s approximately 12 second long cameo at the end of Mamma Mia 2 Here We Go Again, we were treated to the whole fantasy: the garish flower adorned flares, the go-go boots, the drama! The crowd went wild for ‘Waterloo’ and I personally, will now die happy. 

Ostentatious is a word that jumps to mind when looking back at the show as a whole: it’s one thing finding the time to do a few outfit changes throughout, but set changes were also firmly a thing. For each different segment the stage became more theatrical than before, the costumes because more wild and there were even acrobats swinging on silk from above.

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Bringing her Vegas residency across the globe is a very smart move, and one that I don’t think will be forgotten by any audience member. Cher ended the show with the banger-to-end-all-bangers ‘Believe’, which included dubstep (?), neon and a whole lot of screaming semi-drunk singalongs from the crowd.

There was obviously no other way to close such a show and it truly was an impeccable last performance. I’ve slightly failed to mention just how flawless Cher’s vocals were live but yes, she really is the whole package. Needn’t I remind you she’s 73?

There aren’t many artists past or present who could pull off the insanity of eight outfit changes, set changes, riding an elephant onto the stage, dedicating a whole ten minutes to their own Oscar win, literally dressing like the Virgin Mary and insulting multiple world leaders all in the space of two hours.

Cher is the ultimate show-girl - I believe it.

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Words: Laura Copley
Photo Credit: Morten Rygaard

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