"I'm not kidding, this is my farewell tour," promised pop icon Cher at a show in Edmonton earlier this week. "I swear to God. I'm never coming back and that's it."
It's a promise the music biz veteran has made before, the last time in 2002 for Living Proof: The Farewell Tour; but this time, the 68-year-old really seems to mean it – and she's certainly not going out with a whimper.
On top of a hit-heavy set list that spans six decades, from the 1967 Sonny and Cher hit The Beat Goes On to the 1998 club megahit Believe to the 2013 single Women's World, Cher's aptly named Dressed to Kill tour comes with a dizzying array of getups, all of them by award-winning costume designer Hugh Durrant.
She kicks off her Vegas-sized show atop a seven-metre pedestal, wearing a glittering gown and a feathered headdress.
At one point in the show, she's twirling from a chandelier; at another she is in a jaw-dropping Helen of Troy-inspired costume. And then she's in a leather jacket and knee-high leather boots; during Half-Breed she's in a floor-length native American headdress. And, of course, the famed see-through body suit returns for I Found Someone and If I Could Turn Back Time.
And while Cher doesn't do much in the way of dancing – how could you in those shoes – her D2K tour, which has grossed more than $30-million in ticket sales since March, includes 10 dancers and acrobats who keep the show flying high.
The outspoken star, who got her unexpected start as a backup singer when another singer's car broke down, also takes a slower stroll down memory lane, and performs a virtual duet of the sixties classic I Got You Babe with her late ex, Sonny Bono.
So what sets veteran stars like her apart from their predecessors? "The thing that we don't do is leave. Like we go to the young kids, 'If you can get in here, get in here,'" said Cher, who closes the show with a Miley Cyrus cover. "But you're not gettin' over me."