Cher brought her Vegas-style stage spectacle, the Living Proof Farewell Tour, to a newly renamed 1st Mariner Arena in Baltimore, Maryland, on Thursday, February 27, 2003. The veteran songbird hit the stage as yet another snowstorm swept into Charm City.

     The show was delayed to account for snowfall hampering fans driving to the venue. To keep the crowd occupied, `70's music pumped over the sound system as members of the audience were captured by cameras and projected on screen dancing and having a good time before the concert.

     Cher's fan base is made up by the most eclectic diverse demography found at any contemporary concert. A brief snow blown scene with snowing sound effects set the mood before two large white curtains were drawn to reveal a huge chandelier hovering above the stage with Cher secured in the center.

     Cher opened her flamboyant concert with a cover of U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" as the chandelier descended onto the stage. Her dance-rhythm version had the arena floor up on their feet.

     Her only act of promotion was singing "Song For The Lonely", the one new song Cher sang during her performance. The fast-paced dance-rocker spotlighted a choreographed routine by her seven member dance troupe dressed up as humanoid cats. A video of the new single appeared on screen as she sang along.

     Changing into a red top hat and topcoat brandishing a black whip, Cher began chatting up her fans. "So how'd you like my entrance?", was her ice breaker. She mentioned she wanted a good audience and cracked her whip, stating, "So don't piss me off!", which generated a round of cheers and applause.

     Cher commented the chandelier failed on the first leg of the tour. She was suspended above the stage like a, "Drag queen pinata in Cleveland". She said this was her last tour and that younger women were waiting to take her place, mentioning "J.Lo and Britney". Their names were met with boos from the audience.

     Cher counseled the other starlets to catch up on her career as a blueprint for success. Her final remark, "Follow this, you bitches", set off a roar of approval throughout the arena. Cher was striking dressed up in costume as a circus ringleader.

     A moving moment was a video tribute to her ex-husband, the late Congressman Sonny Bono. The montage stitched together performance clips of the young couple singing "The Beat Goes On" and "I Got You Babe". Both color and black & white clips alternated as the `60's duo lip-synched along the medley.

     Cher appeared in purple bellbottoms with an oversized anc, reflecting `60's fashion and sang a medley comprising "All I Really Wanna Do" - "Half-Breed - Gypsies, Tramps And Thieves" and - "Dark Lady". The band toned down it's level as Cher sang solo on stage for the medley.

     Straight out of the `70's, a disco-themed interlude preceded "Take Me Home". The dancers were dressed in fire engine red for a techno-media presentation. Cher was dolled up as a Disco Diva flapper. Band bassist Bill Sharpe provided a cool bass sound.

     The entire arena leapt up on it's feet as Cher launched her last song of the evening, "If I Could Turn Back Time". The original video of the song was projected as Cher delivered a strong vocal on the pop-rocker. An extended band jam ensued as Cher waved goodbye and exited the stage.

     Repeating her chandelier levitation trick once again, Cher sang her chart-topping dance sensation, "Believe", as her lone encore. Silver streamers and Diva Dollars, printed with CHER FAN DOLLARS on them, were fired up above the audience. Cher wore a sliver dress, a red whig, and a large red heart on her chest, as four acrobats were lifted above the stage on giant silver hoops for the finale.

     Paul Mirkovich is tour Musical Director. The band leader handled keyboards and contributed backing vocals. The support band featured David Berry on guitar and backing vocals, Stacey Campbell and Pattie Darcy Jones on harmony vocals, Ollie Marland on keyboards and backing vocals, Mark Schulman on drums, and Bill Sharpe on bass and backing vocals.

Baltimore setlist: I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For * Song For The Lonely * All Or Nothing * I Found Someone * Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) * The Beat Goes On/I Got You Babe - Sonny Bono tribute * All I Really Wanna Do/Half-breed/Gypsies, Tramps And Thieves/Dark Lady medley * Take Me Home * The Way Of Love * Westside Story video * After All * The Shoop Shoop Song (It's In His Kiss) * Strong Enough * If I Could Turn Back Time * Encore: Believe

RockonTour   Issue #18
Concert Fan - the Single Source for the Concertphile © 2003 RoT
                  the Single Source for the Concertphile

Farewell to an American Songbird
Cher warmed a snow weary Charm City

by Timothy Tilghman