Review: Cher turns back time at Manchester Arena

Cher Manchester
Credit: Morten Rygaard
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Never mind turning back time, pop icon and all round showbiz legend Cher appears to be freezing time altogether.

Back in Manchester for the first time in 15 years, on what she wryly describes as “yet another farewell tour”, she is looking and sounding better than ever at the age of 73 – and delivering exactly what her devoted fans want in a humdinger of a live show.

She arrives on stage regally surveying her crowd of 16,000 enthralled fans at Manchester Arena in a huge blue wig and Cleopatra style robes as she’s winched to the ground in a glorious golden cage – greeted by her team of scantily clad gladiator dancers.

It sets the tone for a night of utterly fabulous, over-the-top showbiz shenanigans and celebrations of an incredible 50 year career with more glittery costume and wig changes than you can shake a stick at.

Cher Manchester
Credit: Morten Rygaard

Just two songs in, and Cher takes the opportunity to have a big old natter to her fans.

She regales us with rambling stories of turning 40 and all the worry, sexism and ageism that went along with that, before stating she now proudly reveals her age at every given opportunity. But looking THAT good at 73, you really would wouldn’t you?

She says: “I want people to know things they can do at this age. I want young girls to know, you probably don’t want blue hair, but if you want to do something always be working on your dream this is your one time around so make sure you do it.”

But if we were in any doubt that Cher is not exactly your average 73-year-old, she cheekily ends her little monologue with the question: “What is your granny doing tonight?”

Gyrating in a bejewelled corset and fishnets is probably not the answer for a single one of us in attendance.

Cher Manchester
credit: Morten Rygaard

What follows is a joyous romp through her back catalogue, neatly taking us back to the different eras she has dominated.  A swinging sixties section sees Cher, back with her trademark black heavily fringed tresses, poignantly duet with a video backdrop of her late husband Sonny Bono on I Got You Babe and The Beat Goes On.

The 70s is celebrated with her recent foray into ABBA territory thanks to her starring role in Mama Mia – Here We Go Again, with a sequin-festooned jumpsuit clad dance to Waterloo and SOS before a camp rendition of Fernando as the impressive big screens show a Greek island sunset.

And by the time we hit the 80s?  When she comes striding out of the dry ice in her now iconic lacy bodysuit showing every curve of that fabulous figure, her giant curly wig bouncing along as she belts out I Found Someone, it’s pretty much 1987 Cher right there on stage in front of us.  It’s staggering just how good she looks and sounds, her distinctive contralto voice filling the arena’s every inch as she closes the show with the oh-so-fitting If I Could Turn Back Time.

Returning to the stage for an encore of her 1998 chart-topper Believe, it’s a euphoric electro vibe to close the night that has fulfilled pretty much every fan’s wishes.

Is this really her farewell tour?  I wouldn’t bet against her returning again in another 15 years to be honest – looking and sounding better than those of us half her age.

Setlist

Woman’s World

Strong Enough

Gayatri Mantra

All or Nothing

And The Beat Goes On

I Got You Babe

Welcome to Burlesque

Waterloo

SOS

Fernando

After All

Walking in Memphis

The Shoop Shoop Song

I Found Someone

If I Could Turn Back Time

Encore

Believe

What do YOU think?

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