Cher’s ‘Dressed To Kill’ tour in Nashville

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I saw Cher in concert for the 9th time Monday evening. Her “Dressed To Kill” tour stopped in Nashville, TN, and I was lucky enough to score three front row seats during a presale in October.

Honey, Amanda, and I headed down Monday afternoon, checked into our hotel, grabbed some Chipotle, and got dressed. We arrived at the arena and got to our front row seats about five minutes before the opening act, Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo, began their set. What followed was an hour of amazing classic hits, such as “Love Is A Battlefield” and “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.” So good!

Around 9:15, we heard Cher’s voice over the speakers telling us we were in for a treat. She also mentioned that she would be telling a story about almost being arrested in Nashville several years earlier. The house lights dimmed and the screams began. A fast-paced video was projected on the curtain that hung in front of the stage, which showed various Cher photos and clips set to remixes of her biggest hits. It was a fantastic way to build anticipation, which was evident in the delight of the crowd when the curtain dropped and Cher appeared in all her fabulousness (is that a word?) high atop a gold column.

The set was beautiful and constantly changed as Cher sung her way through a long list of greatest hits and four songs from her latest album “Closer To The Truth.”  Although Cher’s longtime costume designer, Bob Mackie, was unable to create the clothing for this tour, her outfits were fantastic. Everything was colorful and over-the-top, just like one would expect from a diva of her magnitude. The troupe of dancers accompanying her were top-notch, including two male dancers who performed a lovely, yet death-defying, interlude while hanging high above the stage from nothing but strips of fabric.

Being a big fan of “Game Of Thrones,” Amanda squealed with delight when a huge Trojan horse was wheeled out on stage and opened to reveal Cher in a gladiator-inspired getup. I was astounded at her Native American-inspired headdress while she performed “Half-Breed.” She was beyond beautiful, hilarious while telling stories about Dr. Pepper and joking about her age, and her voice was in great shape (she was definitely singing live).

After about an hour-and-a-half of hits and costume/wig changes, she finished the show by floating over the audience like an angel as she sang “I Hope You Find It.” It was gorgeous.

While I still prefer The Farewell Tour (better intro, better costumes, better setlist) over this one, it was absolutely one of the best concerts I have attended. It was theatrical, colorful, and thoroughly entertaining on every level.

Cher is my favorite living performer, so I would watch her even if she was just sitting on stool singing or talking. Thankfully, she gave us so much more than that.

Setlist

  1. Woman’s World
  2. Strong Enough
  3. Dressed to Kill
  4. The Beat Goes On
  5. I Got You Babe
  6. Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves
  7. Dark Lady
  8. Half-Breed
  9. Welcome to Burlesque
  10. You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me
  11. Take It Like a Man
  12. Walking in Memphis
  13. Just Like Jesse James
  14. Heart of Stone
  15. Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)
  16. I Found Someone
  17. If I Could Turn Back Time
  18. Believe
  19. I Hope You Find It

Lily

The kitty that showed up at our back door a few weeks ago went home with her new parents this morning. I know she is going to a good home, but it is still bittersweet. Even though I was resisting it, I had become attached to her.

We knew she needed to be fixed whether or not she stayed with us, so she was spayed Friday morning. She also had her shots and was checked for worms. The vet bill was over $200, but it was worth it to know she is healthy and won’t be reproducing.

Although our prospects of finding her an adoptive family seemed pretty slim, one of Honey’s coworkers managed to connect us with a lady who was looking for an indoor cat. A few phone calls later, Lily had a new home.

As she purred loudly this morning, I planted a big kiss on the top of her head and told her I hope she has a good life.

Bye, Lily. I love you.

In like a lion

This winter keeps dragging on and on. We had snow and ice again last week, but we finally had a warm day yesterday with temperatures in the 70′s. Unfortunately, a cold front blew through during the night which brought more blustery and cold weather today.

Even though Mother Nature can’t make up her mind about the temperature, I am beginning to see signs of a change of seasons. Eastern Robins have been hopping over the lawn in search of worms, buds are adorning the trees, and daffodils are starting to push their leaves through the ground. The grass is even starting to green up a bit.

I have become a bit obsessed with landscaping over the past few years, so I am itching for warmer weather and the opportunity to get out and work in the yard. I have been sketching ideas for plant beds on notebook paper, and I would like to bring some of those ideas to life as soon as possible.

We recently had our property surveyed and marked, which makes it so much easier for me to tell exactly how our property line cuts through the hilly, wooded area behind the house. I have been exploring the woods over the past month, and absolutely love being in the middle of all the trees and knowing that it is all mine. Heaven on earth.

Even though we have been here four years already, I am still discovering things about this place that makes me happy. The woods are filled with dogwood trees, wildflowers, and even a huge burning bush that is growing inexplicably under the shade of a cedar tree. One of the small dogwoods trees was so lovely that I couldn’t resist transplanting it into the yard last weekend, even though the earth was so wet from the melting snow that I had to wear rubber boots.

I am so ready for Spring.

A year without church

Today marks a year since I have been to church. We started attending services in 2006, joined in 2009, and attended regularly until the first week of February of last year. Honey has visited once since then.

When people find out we are no longer going, they instantly assume something happened to offend one of us. That is absolutely not the case. I can’t recall ever having anything but kindness shown to my partner and myself as we attended church over a span of almost seven years. The issue, my issue, always boils down to a combination of lack of faith and problems with organized religion.

Regular readers of this blog will know some of my history with Christianity. I grew up in a very small Pentecostal Holiness church. Although there were many restrictions on dress and behavior, I believe most of the people I grew up worshiping with were good people who were sincere in their beliefs. My problems with that denomination arose when I became a young man and realized there simply wasn’t a place in the pews for people like me.

Last night, on YouTube, I stumbled across a video of a Holiness woman preaching (female preachers were common in the denomination of my youth). This was the same woman who met with me a few days after coming out to my family to inform me that gays occupy the lowest level of hell. I realized something while watching her last night; she might be charismatic and eloquent, but she likes to use fear and her loud voice as weapons of intimidation. I actually felt sorry for her.

The church we are both members of now is a far cry from the Holiness church. Aware of the UCC’s beliefs on homosexuality, I knew before we even entered the building on our first visit that we should have no problems in that regard. We never did. We were embraced as a couple and as whole people who didn’t need “fixing.”

So, why did I stop going? Again, it all came back to my issues with faith and religion. I felt like a hypocrite sitting in the pews on Sunday morning, tossing prayers toward heaven without any conviction they were reaching further than the rafters. Sure, there were times when I felt more connected to God, but overall my faith in religion has been in decline for several years.

I don’t know what I believe in any more. I want to believe there is a God who loves me and has the answers to all the universal questions we have, but maybe that is just a selfish part of being human and wanting to feel significant. Maybe all we have is what we see, and perhaps we will never know the answers to why we are here and how in the heck space can be infinite. It could very well be that we get this amazing life to live for a few decades and then we die and that’s it. And, really, isn’t that enough?

On this anniversary of sorts, I feel reflective but contented. I love spending Sundays at home with my partner and our spoiled kitties. We sleep in, watch movies, visit with friends, and cook dinner. When it’s warm enough, I often find myself working in the yard. When it’s cold, I often catch myself daydreaming and planning about what I am going to do when it’s warm enough to work in the yard. There are few things I enjoy more.

So, my Sundays are still sacred – just in a different way. And that’s perfectly fine with me.

Meet Eeyore

I took the plunge and bought the ‘Feelin’ Blue’ cedar I mentioned a few posts ago. A coworker suggested I name it “Eeyore,” because of the weeping foliage that is characteristic of this species.

Since it is far too cold to plant right now, it has a temporary home against the back of the house. I placed the root ball in a large metal tub, surrounded it with mulch, and placed unopened bags of mulch around the tub to block the wind. Hopefully, it will hang on until spring.

Feelin’ Blue Deodar Cedar (Cedrus deodara ‘Feelin’ Blue’)
Feelin’ Blue Deodar Cedar (Cedrus deodara ‘Feelin’ Blue’)

Obsessive Conifer Disorder

Perhaps it is because they stand in stark contrast to their gray-barked and bare-limbed cousins during the winter months, but evergreens have recently captured my attention. I purchased a book that details which conifers are best for landscapes in my part of the country, and I know it is only a matter of time before I begin purchasing a variety of them for my own lawn. I figure anything that can stay green and luscious throughout the frigid temperatures of winter deserves a prime spot in the view out my windows.

Saturday, on a whim, I stopped by a small garden center. Since this is their off season, none of the colorful flowers and plants that normally grace the area were anywhere to be seen. The place looked downright dilapidated. That didn’t stop me from squealing in delight when I noticed the beautiful cedars that had been moved front-and-center from their usual spot in the back corner.

A lanky-looking tree grabbed my attention first. I quickly discovered it to be a Golden Atlas Cedar (Cedrus atlantica ‘Aurea’). It was beautiful, but the $100 price tag gave me a bit of sticker shock.

Golden Atlas Cedar (Cedrus atlantica ‘Aurea’)
Golden Atlas Cedar (Cedrus atlantica ‘Aurea’)

A small, shrubby conifer nearby was the next thing that caught my eye. While the unusual, rubbery needles were anything but painful, the same couldn’t be said of the price tag. This midget-sized mound of green was also marked $100.

Blue Spanish Fir (Abies pinsapo 'Glauca')
Blue Spanish Fir (Abies pinsapo ‘Glauca’)

I returned this afternoon for another look around and spotted a small tree around 3-4 feet tall. Its cascading branches made it look a little droopy, and I discovered it is appropriately named ‘Feelin’ Blue.’

Feelin' Blue Deodar Cedar (Cedrus deodara 'Feelin' Blue')
Feelin’ Blue Deodar Cedar (Cedrus deodara ‘Feelin’ Blue’)

After much research online and with my new book, I am considering adopting ‘Feelin’ Blue.’ Apparently it is unusual for this plant to form a main leader, so the fact that this one has grown into the shape of a small tree makes it more desirable to me. What worries me is this is a terrible time to plant things (it’s freaking cold out there), and this plant has probably been neglected. I might give it a shot if I can get a hefty discount.