With the ticket price of live music events becoming ever more expensive and the options of places to see the more prominent names performing, requiring more travel, you have to redefine your attitude when it comes to going to a gig. Rather than make it the sole purpose of your trip away, if you combine it with comfortable travel (Eurostar), and a convenient place to stay, the whole adventure feels much more like a short holiday rather than a quick dash to get a music fix.
And that’s how I found myself checking in to The Crowne Plaza in Antwerp, a plush four-star hotel only a direct and convenient 25
-minute tram ride away from my musical destination and an appointment to see none other than Cher! The Crowne Plaza hotel was modern and functional, perfect for my overnight stay and catering for short-haul travellers, such as myself, high-flying business executives, and everyone in between.
I was never a massive fan of Cher, but she has had such a long and varied, not to mention successful highly career, so much so that the word icon feels justified in her case, that I thought I should experience her show at least once. So I snapped up a 9th-row ticket, booked the hotel, hopped on a tram, and here I was.
Someone like Cher doesn’t just play a gig, she brings a show to town, and then some, and for someone coming to her show afresh and open-minded, as it were, she made a convert out of me with ease. Keeping an audience in the palm of your hand for two hours is not an easy thing to do but this is Cher’s world, she is the mistress of all that she surveys and the wonderful between-song anecdotes (old people love to talk,) the constant costume changes, her larger than life personality and a set of fantastic songs meant that the time flew by.
It was a very theatrical show, hints of Vegas abounded, and she still knows how to belt out a tune, no lip-synching or technological cheats here, but all the time I found myself thinking, “I wonder if I will still look this great in heels when I’m 73!” And if the songs took us back through her career, the nostalgic costume changes underlined just how long a career she has had. We travelled back to her formative years, the Sonny and Cher era, right through to the here and now, Cher displaying an incredible ability to turn back time, pun intended, whilst putting on a very contemporary show.
One surprise came with her rendition of ABBA hits challenging the already dancing queens of Antwerp to up their game. By this point, the show had gone beyond merely an average gig and had turned into the hottest gay party in Western Europe that night!
We partied, and then we parted, me back to the comfort of my hotel, her to set the next town alight with her show as her tour continued across Europe and on to the UK. You should try new things; it’s what living is all about. And although I may have wandered into the arena with an open mind about Cher, I certainly left as a bit of a fan.
Written By: Ray Si – Proud Member of IGLTA