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Cher at San Jose Arena

..............Cher

.......A gracious and energetic performer, Cher delivered the goods flawlessly with a wide breadth of emotion, enthusiasm and sincerity in her Saturday night concert at the San Jose Arena.. Her performance was that of a true diva, including 17 songs, seven outfits, five set changes, dazzling light and dance sequences, acrobatics and a multimedia montage of sound and video clips highlighting her 36-year music and film career. None of this, of course, is any surprise. In fact, it's expected of a pop icon like Cher. But shining through all that glitter and flash came her most impressive attributes: an unwavering voice, a die-hard spirit and a presence on stage that screams, "I'm still here!" Cher strutted on stage in an outfit best described as a mix of medieval court fashion and Neanderthal sportswear.
..........Her opening number, a cover of the U2 hit, "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," gave the sense that this 53-year-old artist has the desire for another incarnation or two. "I need you to be who you are tonight," she said as the lights raised and she took stock of the audience. Having acquired a new group of fans with each reinvention, Cher's audience was a vast mix of age and lifestyle. "If I could give just one message to the young people here tonight, I'd say that you can possibly make anything out of your life. Whatever you want to do, you can." And you have to wonder if those were the same words of inspiration she offers her designers when it comes time to put together her wardrobe. Cher's outfits are a stunning combination of glitter, spandex, fringe, headdresses and wigs that show unlimited imagination. All of which were reaffirmed by her music.
........Selections from the "Believe" album included "All or Nothing," "The Power," "We All Sleep Alone," "Dove L'amore" and "Strong Enough." Add to that "Take Me Home," "Walk-in' in Memphis," "The Shoop Shoop Song," and "If I Could Turn Back Time." A seemingly bittersweet, yet comic, video segment of the Sonny and Cher days preceded the evening's '70s offerings. The psychedelic set boasted a two-story blow-up lava lamp and groovy lights. Attired in an elegant and simple full-length sequined gown, Cher delivered hits "The Way of Love," "half-breed," "Gypsy" and "Dark Lady." The final video set highlighted her film career, including her Oscar-nominated role in "Silkwood," and her Oscar-winning performance in "Moonstruck" and was the perfect segue to "After All," the 1989 hit duet she sang with Peter Cetera. Her No. 1 hit of 1999, "Believe" wrapped up the evening in grand fashion complete with silver disco-ball outfits, acrobats swinging from the ceiling and dancers filling every possible level of the stage.

.........Opening act Lou Bega hosted a talented band. Surrounded by a septet of dancers, he knocked out eight tunes, including his best-selling hit "Mambo No. 5."

By Randy Cohen

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