IT’S HARDLY ACCURATE to say that Cher’s having a moment—she’s been having them since 1965. The genre-busting star’s career of hit songs, television shows, blockbuster films, and awards has included such moments as accepting her 1988 Oscar statue for Moonstruck in a nearly completely sheer, black Bob Mackie gown, and her 1986 Oscars outfit—with mohawk headdress made of 800 rooster feathers—that Mackie admits he questioned as “overkill.” (It is one of the most famous ensembles ever to have attended the Academy Awards.) She has taken a few farewell laps: Her 2002 Living Proof tour began as a 59-date tour in North America and morphed into 326 appearances around the world; a three-year residency at the Colosseum; and another farewell tour—Dressed to Kill—in 2014. The day we spoke, she’d just added 18 dates to her extended Classic Cher engagement at The Park Theater at Monte Carlo and the new theater at MGM National Harbor. And in March, the septuagenarian opened her National Harbor show by asking the audience, “What’s your grandmother doing tonight?” At this moment, as she kicks off another string of shows at MGM National Harbor, on August 31, Cher is saying farewell to no one.
Obviously, you’re not calling this a farewell tour. What does it take to pull you out of quieter times?
I don’t know! Each time, I’ve honestly thought this was the end, because you can only do it for so long. There’s a finite time. And
As Cher returns to MGM National Harbor with her smash Las Vegas show, we sat down with the living icon to talk about her career, the costumes, and of course, life after love.
who knows if anyone’s ever going to want to come see you again? So you start it, but you have no idea what’s going to happen. I think it’s fun and that’s your main objective. I mean, you want to bring people to a place that brings them great joy and that reminds them of a time in their life. And I’m always surprised at how many young people come too, because you don’t expect that.
Do you still have the same excitement when you go on stage?
You have to let yourself be free to enjoy it. I know what it’s like not to enjoy it, and it’s really not fun, so if you give yourself permission to have fun, then everything else falls into place. I’ve felt like I was being held back [before], and this place just allows me all the freedom that I want.
You pre-dated any performer we think of as edgy. Is there anyone contemporary you think is pushing boundaries the way you were in the ’60s and ’70s?
Of course I do, but when I was doing it, I was the only one that was doing it, so it was a little bit harder. When I went on the boat and did “Turn Back Time” [on the battleship USS Missouri in a fishnet body stocking surrounded by the ship’s crew], people freaked out, and it got taken off MTV, and people were shocked—and how could I? and whatever. And now anyone can do anything. I was the first person ever to show their bellybutton on TV. Well, it doesn’t sound like much now, but it was a big deal then. So some-