It Happened Last Night: Cher, Cyndi, and Madame Patti LaBelle in Philadelphia

On Monday night, Cher brought her “Dressed to Kill” tour to Philadelphia with special (and I do mean special) guest Cyndi Lauper. Naturally, Philadelphia soul legend Patti LaBelle sat in the seat next to me, adding another level of fun to an already fun evening. Here, ten observations from the most entertaining Monday night I’ve seen in a while.

1. White Dude Dancing

No one had more fun than this white guy doing some pretty epic white guy dancing. You go with your bad khaki’d self.

2. Cher Can Still Fit Into Her “Turn Back Time” Costume
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hL_7pA3UZk
She told us so. Actually, what she said was, “I can still get into my ‘Turn Back Time’ costume, and I’m 100.’ She’s only 67, and she looks great, but the crowd appreciated her self-deprecation, which continued throughout the show.

3. I Took the Worst Selfie Ever
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Ah, that moment when you realize that your concert companion for the evening is none other than Patti LaBelle, who is gracious enough to offer to take a photo with you. So instead of asking your friend to take a photo of you and Patti, or asking Philadelphia paparazzi extraordinaire Hugh E Dillon (who was nearby) to snap the photo, or asking our generous host Garrett Getlin Snider to snap the photo, you decide to take a selfie with Patti LaBelle. And it turns out like this. Patti looks as great as I look like a dork. Bravo, Fiorillo. Bravo.

It’s worth noting that Patti was so gracious that when we were sitting together in the front row of our box, she suggested that I try again. “I think your lens is smudgy,” she told me, so I tried to wipe off the lens. And about one tenth of a second before I snapped my next photo, the house lights went out and Cher took the stage. Sigh.

4. Cyndi Lauper Is, To Use a Word From the 80s, Awesome

Her opening set at the Cher show was far too short. She did all of her hits, from “Time After Time” to “Money Changes Everything,” and really brought the house to a standstill with her emotional performance of “Hat Full of Stars.” Cyndi, please come back to Philly. Play the Tower.

5. Cher Needs to Sing More
Here’s how a Cher show works: Cher sings a song or two, Cher leaves the stage while someone does a mediocre circus act on stage, Cher returns a few minutes later in a new costume, Cher sings another song. Repeat. The costumes are fun, but this gets a little old after a while. I think there were a dozen costume changes at the Philadelphia show. This might play better if the schmaltzy production level of the show was higher, like, say, a Madonna show. But it’s not, and we need more singing, less schmaltz. And I wasn’t the only one who thought so. Ahem.

6. But the Talking Is Good
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYFtgMxL1FM
Both Cher and Cyndi Lauper did a lot of talking during their sets, telling stories, going on rants. Lauper did a bit about the Flyers. This kind of audience interaction is great and makes you feel like the artist is having a good time and wants to be there, that this isn’t just some late-in-life money grab. In this video, Cher describes herself as a “transvestite pinata” and extolls the virtues of Dr. Pepper and then berates the company for not giving her free Dr. Pepper for life.

7. Leave the Flashback Duets to Natalie Cole
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8anlS8pqAs
Seriously.

8. Public Restrooms Are For Suckers
“Are those skybox seats, is that what you call them?” asked Cher, looking up to the suite level, where we were sitting. “Those are the rich people seats. I don’t know why you guys wanna be up there. You can’t see shit! The party is down here!” Yes, Cher, but the private restrooms and Patti LaBelle and fully stocked beer fridge are up here. And something tells me that you have never waited in line at the Wells Fargo Center bathroom to pee during a show.

9. Patti Likes Cher and Cyndi Equally

Yeah, because when you’re a hard-hitting journalist like me, you lean over to Patti LaBelle and whisper in her ear, “So, uh, which one do you like better, Cher or Cyndi?” She explained that she and Cher “go way back” (see the above video), and that she is the godmother to Lauper’s son. It’s a little hard for me to imagine having Patti LaBelle as my godmother. But I guess when your mom is Cyndi Lauper…

10. It’s a Show Worth Seeing
There are just over 30 dates left on Cher’s “Dressed to Kill” tour. She has repeatedly said that this will be her farewell tour (meaning her final farewell tour), and so any true Cher fan will want to see this show. And with tickets as low as $25 in some cities, that’s just over $2 per costume. But, really, if you’re not 100% sold, know that the Cyndi Lauper set alone is worth the price of admission.

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