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9 years after ‘Farewell Tour,’ Cher returns to NLR

By JACK W. HILL SPECIAL TO THE DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE

This article was published March 27, 2014 at 3:10 a.m.

cher

Cher

Fans of famed singer-actor-performer-fashion plate Cher should be forgiven if some are reminded of that famous quote from a wily old 20th-century politician from Arkansas, who once noted “Just because I said it doesn’t make it so.”

At least this time around, the tour is called the “Dressed to Kill Tour,” or the more techie-sounding “D2K,” rather than, let’s say, the confessional “Hey, I’m Back Again Tour.” Her eighth solo concert tour is promoting her 25th studio album, Closer to the Truth, released Sept. 20. The album reached No. 3 on the Billboard top 200 albums chart.

How else to make sense of Cher, like Willie Nelson, on the road again, after dramatically going around a few years ago on what she termed “Living Proof - The Farewell Tour” between 2002 and 2005? Cher packed the then-Alltel Arena Aug. 17, 2002, then returned nearly six months later for a show Feb. 9, 2003. Her 2002 show featured Cyndi Lauper as the opening act, and the 2003 show featured Tommy Drake as the opener.

By the time the tour ended, Cher had played more than 150 shows to 1.5 million fans, just in North America. She has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide during her lengthy career, and has become the only artist to have a No. 1 single on the Billboard charts in each of the last six decades.

This time she’s touring with Pat Benatar and Neil “Spyder” Giraldo. The rock ’n’ roll duo have sold more than 26 million albums and charted 19 Top 40 singles including “Love Is a Battlefield,” “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” “Heartbreaker,” “We Live for Love,” “Promises in the Dark” and “We Belong.” They earned four consecutive Grammy Awards between 1980 and 1983, as well as three American Music Awards.

In Mark Bego’s book, Cher: If You Believe, he wrote, “Noone in the history of show business has had a career of the magnitude and scope of Cher’s. She has been a teenage pop star, a television hostess, a fashion magazine model, a rock star, a pop singer, a Broadway actress, an Academy Award-winning movie star, a disco sensation and the subject of a mountain of press coverage.”

Cher was born May 20, 1946, in El Centro, Calif., to Georgia Holt, the “stage name” of the former Jackie Jean Crouch, who was born in 1926 in Kensett (White County). Cher’s father was John Sarkisian, whom Holt/Crouch married and divorced three times (she has had a total of eight marriages).

In May, cable network Lifetime aired a bio-pic, Dear Mom, Love Cher, in which Cher paid tribute to her then-86-year-old mother, who took her family from Arkansas to Hollywood to pursue the stardom that would not be hers, but would become her daughter’s. In the show, Cher performed a duet with her mother and introduced recordings her mother made more than 30 years ago.

But the latest news from the Cher camp is her sadness and frustration over the recent defection of Bob Mackie, 73, her fashion designer for 40 years. Cher took to Twitter to let the world in on her devastated feelings about the guy who had created her costumes: “No matter how disappointed any of us are, you dont know my grief. Im sure Bob cant know how much I miss him. I’m crying.”

Does it mean that Cher will do her shows in stylishly ripped jeans, T-shirts and flip flops? Surely she has a storage shed somewhere with some old duds that will suffice? It’s not like she has gained weight and can’t fit into anything from her past.

No doubt about it - Cher did not take to heart the lesson once imparted by The Rolling Stones, a famously commercial act in their own right, who have never said they were touring for the last time, but have only dared to hint at it, with the line “This may be the last time, maybe the last time, I don’t know …”

Cher

Opening act: Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo 8 p.m. Friday, Verizon Arena, East Broadway and Interstate 30, North Little Rock Tickets: $127, $104.50, $61.50, $36.50 (800) 745-3000 ticketmaster.com

Weekend, Pages 36 on 03/27/2014

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