What can you say as a reviewer when the star of the show emerges from the bum of a giant pachyderm? Never forget? A night in 2005 with Alan Jones and his friends.
Entertainment Centre, March 3
Riddle me this Batman. Let’s say you attend a Super 12 match this weekend, having paid top dollar for the privilege, and come expecting an 80-minute game as normal.
Instead, the players intermittently appear on the field, for less than half a match in total, and the rest of the time is filled with the big screen playing footage from previous games, and on-field entertainment is provided by marching bands and gymnasts.
Methinks you might be a tad annoyed and even exploited. I’m fairly sure it’s the kind of thing a certain former top rugby coach might rail against in one of his on-air sermons about the folks from Struggle Street being treated with contempt.
Now let’s say you pay hundreds of dollars to see one of your favourite performers and get a 90-minute show in which there are only 15 musical numbers - one of them a medley of four songs but that lasting not much more than a decent length tune.
Those songs rarely go beyond three minutes and even then, for a number of them she isn’t on stage for the whole song. The long, long periods between appearances are filled with footage from old TV shows and dancers and acrobats on stage.
Wouldn’t you feel cheated just a little bit? Wouldn’t you be demanding something worth the money?
Oh no, not this audience. Up on their feet they were – including a certain former top rugby coach – lapping it up and demanding an encore. Maybe it is true that if you flash enough light at someone they’ll not only tell you the sun is shining but they’ll lie down for a sunbake.
And it had started promisingly too. Well, once you got past the traducing of I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For which began the night as Cher was revealed descending on a giant chandelier, dressed in ermine and glitter.
In a long monologue Cher was wry and amusing, declaring this the “gayest show in town” and gently mocking herself. It looked like we might get something approaching the humour and pleasure of the Sonny And Cher TV show.
And when the next song (several minutes of on-screen filler later) featured a high camp elephant out of whose backside Cher emerged, it began to feel like a cross between Mardi Gras and an old school variety show.
Then she didn’t speak for another hour, her foghorn singing voice began to grate (Macbeth may murder sleep but Cher can murder many a good song, such as Nancy Sinatra’s Bang Bang), her best material – Half Breed, Gypsies, Tramps And Thieves, Dark Lady - was wrapped up and thrown away in a medley and all the time the most enjoyable fare was coming from the screen.
But hey, what’s the problem. Great show eh? Fabulous darling. So much glitter. So much movement. More. More.