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July 28, 2014

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Review: Cher is ‘Dressed to Kill’ and fabulous as ever at 68; Lauper berates audience member

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Tom Donoghue / DonoghuePhotography.com

The forever fabulous and newly 68-year-old Cher at MGM Grand Garden Arena on Sunday, May 25, 2014, in Las Vegas.

Cher and Cyndi Lauper at MGM Grand

The forever fabulous and newly 68-year-old Cher at MGM Grand Garden Arena on Sunday, May 25, 2014, in Las Vegas. Launch slideshow »

There were myriad faces of Cher on display Sunday night during her “Dressed to Kill” tour stop at MGM Grand Garden Arena, and there will be no plastic-surgery jokes allowed here because the Grammy, Emmy and Oscar winner is a diva and icon.

On full display Sunday night: Egyptian Cher. Vampire Cher. Circus Cher (with gypsies, tramps and thieves). EDM Cher. And forever fabulous Cher. After her first song and in her first address to the audience, she told the crowd that she well knew that they were here for her costumes, hair, songs and fabulousness.

About 9:35 p.m., what sounded like a recording of Cher’s voice quipped to the audience that she would be out in a few minutes after putting in her teeth. After a videomontage, Cher, who turned 68 on May 20, entered Grand Garden Arena in full Egyptian queen costume and full effect to her dance-tastic “Woman’s World” from her 2013 album “Closer to the Truth.”

Cher’s setlist and evening also included “Strong Enough”; “Dressed to Kill” (vampire Cher); a Sonny and Cher videomontage; “The Beat Goes On”; a sweet duet with Sonny Bono via video to “I Got You Babe”; “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves” in a Cirque du Soleil-meets-“Absinthe” atmosphere; “Half Breed” in a Native American costume that can be described as truly jaw-dropping; “Burlesque” and “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me” from 2010’s “Burlesque”; and “Take It Like a Man” (EDM Cher mixed in with Helen of Troy and a large golden horse).

Also, Marc Cohn’s “Walking in Memphis” in a tribute to Elvis; “Jesse James,” during which she sits and sings on a stool; “I Found Someone” in the costume that’s been updated to include more beading and stitch work; “If I Could Turn Back Time,” the song aboard the Navy ship that made the costume (in)famous; “Believe,” which starts out in an EDM remix that could’ve been the work of Skrillex (forever fabulous Cher); and “I Hope You Find It” as Cher flies over nearly the entire arena in a small sphere above her adoring fans.

Much of the “Dressed to Kill” tour is reminiscent of/taken from Cher’s residency show at the Colosseum in Caesars Palace that ran from May 2008 to February 2011 — the fabulous costumes, “The Beat Goes On, “Half Breed” and “Believe” — while “I Got You Babe,” the “Burlesque” numbers and “Woman’s World,” “Dressed to Kill,” “Take It Like a Man” and “I Hope You Find It” from “Closer to the Truth” are new and certainly high-energy.

Who’s looking forward to Cher’s farewell, farewell, farewell tour? (Wink, wink, as Cher did Sunday night.)

Click to enlarge photo

Cyndi Lauper at MGM Grand Garden Arena on Sunday, May 25, 2014, in Las Vegas.

Click to enlarge photo

Cyndi Lauper at MGM Grand Garden Arena on Sunday, May 25, 2014, in Las Vegas.

Sassy Cyndi Lauper

Grammy and Tony winner Cyndi Lauper opened the evening with “She Bop” running through the crowd on the floor in a black boxing robe with animal-print lining, appropriate for the feistiness that was to come.

Lauper, with Raggedy Ann red hair that was as fiery as her personality this night — she complained about the heat (“Can I get a fan up here?”) and yelled at her band a few times (“Pick up the pace!”) — told the audience that she’s celebrating the 30th anniversary of her debut and breakout album, “She’s So Unusual,” and that it had been 12 years since Cher and she hit the road together.

Her 70-minute setlist, along with the controversial “She Bop” (remember the Blue Boy Magazine line?), included “Witness,” “All Through the Night,” a very EDM-esque “Into the Nightlife,” “Sex Is in the Heel” from the Tony-winning “Kinky Boots,” “Time After Time,” “Money Changes Everything,” the audience favorite “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” a terrific cover of Etta James’ “At Last” and “True Colors.”

While talking about “Kinky Boots,” an audience member essentially told Lauper to stop talking and start singing, prompting the following paraphrased response from the sassy, self-professed half-Sicilian: “Get the eff out of here if you don’t want to hear me. Go out to the bar, where it sounds as if you’ve already been a few times tonight. Shut the eff up. I’m half-Sicilian; I’ll come after you!”

After the roar of applause and approval, Lauper calmed down (although she brought up the incident again later) and showed her softer side. When a fan tried to take a selfie while she was among fans on the floor, she told him, “You have to ask me so that I can look my best in the photo,” then promptly posed for the photograph.

While most fans would guess that Lauper would finish her show with “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” she chose the heartfelt route with “At Last” and “True Colors,” practically ordering during “True Colors,” as a longtime gay-rights advocate, “Don’t be afraid, to let it show! Your true colors,” to more roars of approval.

Well said, Cyndi Lauper, and you can say it over and over and over again. Thanks to contributing photographer Tom Donoghue of Donoghue Photography for his photo gallery.

Don Chareunsy is senior editor for arts and entertainment of the Las Vegas Sun.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.

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