Some folks have said that I have lived a somewhat sheltered life, and that is true in some ways. After years of working and raising children, I attended my first and only concert at the age of 53 when I went to see Cher at the Giant Center Arena in Hershey, PA. The date was July 26, 2003.
My youngest sister, Linda, who also liked Cher, invited me to go with her after her husband declined. I was thrilled because I loved the music from Cher, and from Sonny and Cher, since I was a teenager. There’s just some music that you can easily dance to and sing along with and that is so true with most of the songs by Cher and when she sang with Sonny, like “The Beat Goes On”.
Linda picked me up after work on Friday, July 25th, and we drove up to Hershey, a small township outside the Harrisburg metropolitan area, and home to the Hershey Company. We checked into our hotel, and then had dinner and drinks at a cozy restaurant in the hotel. We went for a short drive to the Giant Center just to get our bearings for the next day. The Giant Center is the home of the Hershey Bears hockey team and sponsors an annual concert series, attracting stars like Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood.
Saturday morning after breakfast at a pancake house, we drove to The Outlets at Hershey and shopped for a few hours. We lunched at the hotel and took a short nap. After showering and changing, we had a quick dinner and headed for Giant Center. We arrived ½ hour early and a line was already forming outside. We had great seats – not too close for the music to be too loud, not too far to be able to see Cher close-up – near center stage, which we were able to find easily.
The concert began with several videos of Cher when she was young, interspersed with clips from The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour and The Cher Show. Her entrance to the stage was filled with glitz and glitter and special effects. I was amazed at how physically fit she was at the age of 57, and her voice still had a good strong quality to it. Cher quickly made costume changes while her dancers performed to her music. The flamboyant costumes and special effects made the concert utterly fantastic. In between video clips, Cher sang a medley of her solo singles “Half Breed”, “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves” and “The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s in His Kiss)”. At the end of the 1 hour 45 minute concert, Cher performed “Strong Enough”, “If I Could Turn Back Time”, and “Believe”. Almost everyone in the audience was singing along with her, including Linda and me. We both bought the CD from her Farewell Tour on our way out of the arena.
Cher’s Farewell Tour began in Toronto, Canada in June, 2002 and continued for a record-breaking 326 shows around the world and ending in Los Angeles in April, 2005. There are some people who may not care for her style. Nonetheless, I believe Cher is talented, as both a singer and actress. She has reinvented herself several times, and her music has endured the test of time. This may be the only concert I will ever have attended and I’m glad I did.