Cher – Dressed to Kill tour

Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh, PA April 2, 2014

Reviewed by Michael Rampa


Even though Cher released an album last year, one look at the set list and you’ll soon realize she’s not pushing the new material. The show began with a video montage covering her fashion tastes over the years, from 70s bell bottoms through the 80s barely there black leather featured on the infamous “If I Could Turn Back Time” video. From there, she put on an awkwardly paced show that included plenty of Las Vegas glitz, countless costume changes and a near flawless voice. However, the show had  frequent interruptions, most notably her off topic tales from the past about pissing off the Dr. Pepper execs to her foot operation woes. Even though the show lasted two hours ten minutes, the songs felt truncated, forced into ever smaller time slots. But we’re talking about Cher, the ultimate performer. When she is on, there are few, if any finer stage performances in music. It’s a given that the over the top costumes, elaborate stage and the effects will dazzle, but more impressive is how the 67 year-old’s voice and figure have actually seemed to have improved over time. Her voice is silky smooth yet always threatening to explode. She entered in typical (for her) fashion, on a 20 foot pedestal with a headdress almost as high to sing “Woman’s World” off her latest, “Closer To The Truth.” For the next hour, she went back to the 1970s featuring a touching virtual duet with Sonny for the classic, “I Got You Babe,” while accompanied by funny clips from their show. ”Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves” was set up by an elaborate circus set filled with carnies.  She introduced the last half of the set by taking it into the current decade with 2010’s “Welcome To Burlesque” backed by a massive neon sign. Oddly, one of the show’s highlights was the brand new “Take It Like A Man” where she showcased her upper register while executing dance moves that would have confounded Lady Gaga. Of course, she brought it home with blistering versions of “If I Could Turn Back Time “and “Believe.” There is an old saying, “the only things that will be left after the apocalypse are the cockroaches and Cher.” Indeed, her relevancy over four decades is matched only by other living legends like the Rolling Stones and to a lesser extent, the Eagles.

Pat Benatar took the audience right back to the early 80s with that decade’s equivalent to Janis Joplin’s power rock. Along with Debbie Harry and Chrissy Hynde, Benatar was one of the premier female rockers and essentially did the heavy lifting for her successors. She blasted a few bars of “Shadows On The Night” from behind the curtain. When it dropped, there was a full on auditory assault led by her very capable guitarist and husband, Neil Giraldo. Benatar grew out her hair while sporting leggings and black boots. Even at 61 she looked much like she did on the cover of 1983’s “Love Is A Battlefield.” Surely not a coincidence. It worked as she blistered through a greatest hits  set that included “On My Own, “Promises In The Dark,” “We Belong,” and of course, her biggest  No. 1 “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.” It was her 32nd wedding anniversary and 35th as a band. She jokingly introduced “We Live For Love “four songs in, saying “this is our newest from 1979.”


On this night, a sold out crowd got a lesson in music history. Some 15,000 witnessed the genesis of showmanship and girl power rock. From Cher came Madonna and today, Lady Gaga.  Benatar has influenced everyone from Pink to Adele.