Cher is hardly the first artist to embark on a less-than-final farewell tour – hence the wry showbiz acknowledgement and sense of performer obligation implicit in the Abba-referencing title of her current world tour: Here We Go Again.
Cher, Hydro, Glasgow ***
There was no equivalent shoulder shrug from the excitable audience who greeted the sight of a statuesque 73-year-old in a knowingly ridiculous blue wig descending from on high in a large suspended picture frame as some kind of second – or third, or fourth, or tenth – coming.
With her high heels on terra firma, Cher dutifully hoofed her way through a varnished, autotuned, nipped and tucked Woman’s World and perfunctory Strong Enough in the spry company of dancers dressed as centurions. The camp Vegas glitz was off the scale but this was merely the first of a series of bite-sized performance chapters which endeavoured to encapsulate a career of constant reinvention. However, Cher almost derailed her own glamour train at the first stop, delivering a tedious talk show anecdote about David Letterman, when she could otherwise have shoehorned in at least a couple of costume changes.
Next on the whistle-stop agenda was candy-coloured 60s Cher with a side order of Sonny Bono via the big screens. A muted version of cult classic The Beat Goes On failed to connect with the crowd who were much more enamoured with karaoke standard I Got You Babe.
A Welcome to Burlesque interlude was over before the first drinks had been served in order to make way for the Abba tunes from her current Dancing Queen album. Waterloo was phoned in without incident but her booming voice was far more impactful on the cathartic melancholy of SOS and easy listening melodrama of Fernando.
The throwback nostalgia continued at Cher’s diner with a relatively dignified Walking in Memphis and the cheesy handjive of The Shoop Shoop Song. But this was mere pop fluff compared to the not-so-serious rock business of gurning guitars, braying vocals and scanty outfits which accompanied the bombastic I Found Someone and If I Could Turn Back Time. The inevitable encore rendition of Believe may have been the popular party choice to send her fans singing into the night but it was this semi-parodic pair of 80s soft rockers which she sold with the greatest alacrity across a very mixed 90-minute extravaganza. Fiona Shepherd