Spring 2014

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

Fur baby

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A gorgeous young cat showed up at our back patio door weekend-before-last while snow and sleet was coming down. We figure she was either dropped or lost, so we brought her into the garage to keep her warm. She is the sweetest thing, and she just loves attention. I take her outside during the day, and she follows me around the yard like a puppy. I wish we could keep her, but we already have three cats indoors. We are trying to find her a good home where she can stay inside most of the time.

Plants on my wish list for 2014

Winterberry Holly
‘Berry Nice’ and ‘Jim Dandy’ (pollinator)

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Horstmann Blue Atlas Cedar
Cedrus a ‘Horstmann’

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Tall Stewartia
Stewartia Monadelpha

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Deodar Cedar
Cedrus deodara

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Little Henry Sweetspire
Itea virginica

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Golden Deodar Cedar
Cedrus deodara ‘Aurea’

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And…
Luscious Citrus Blend Lantana
Cha-Ching Cherry Petunia
Orange Tiger Lily
Rosemary

Vacation in the Smokies

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We spent this week in Gatlinburg, TN, enjoying the beautiful colors that autumn painted across the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It was gorgeous.

The condominium we rented was just a five minute walk from the main street that winds through town, which gave us easy access to great food and entertainment. The condo also had all the comforts of home, so it made for a nice oasis when we wanted to escape all the tourist-traps that line the downtown area of Gatlinburg.

We arrived on Monday afternoon, so we didn’t do much besides walking around and eating dinner. We did manage a ride on the chairlift that overlooks the town, but I made the mistake of looking at how our “chair” was attached to the cable and spent the remainder of the ride with sweaty palms and a prayer on the lips.

Tuesday morning, we got dressed and went to stand in line at the famous Log Cabin Pancake House. Thankfully, they got us in quickly and we enjoyed an amazing breakfast complete with peanut butter for my pancakes. Yum!

Later in the day, we drove into the mountains and burned off a few calories by taking a half-mile hike to Clingman’s Dome. I had to stop to rest a few times during the steep climb, but I managed to get to the top for the amazing view. Even though it was breathtakingly beautiful, it was also sad to see all of the spruce and fir trees that have died due to pollution and insects.

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On Wednesday we traveled to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. It is the largest home in the United States with 35 bedrooms and 43 bathrooms. It was something to see, but it was hard to miss the absurdity of it all. The gardens that surround the home are absolutely gorgeous, and although it was quite windy, the weather afforded us a wonderful opportunity to explore some of them.

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Thursday was our last full day in Tennessee, so we decided to take things easy. We visited the Log Cabin Pancake House again for breakfast, then just relaxed until our dinner reservations at Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede. I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but it was great fun! The evening started off with entertainment from a bluegrass band, then we entered the main arena for dinner and a show. The food was very good, but served without utensils. Thankfully, they provided warm, wet hand towels afterwards. The entertainment was fantastic and funny. Dolly appeared via video at the end to sing a patriotic song, and even though I am not too keen on that sort of thing, I teared up a little at the sentimentality of it all. It was a great way to conclude our vacation.

Flower Power

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I was unfamiliar with Sedum until I noticed some coming up in a flower bed here three years ago. The light green buds open to pale pink flowers that darken in the weeks leading up to cold weather.

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I stumbled upon this Black Diamond Red Hot crape myrtle at Lowe’s a few weeks ago and immediately knew I had to have it. I love the contrast between the bright red flowers and the almost black leaves. I can easily see this becoming one of my favorite plants.

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My former neighbor gave me this Bluebird Rose of Sharon tree for my birthday earlier this year. Although the blooms are more purple than blue, it makes a nice addition to our landscape.

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Another one of my favorites, the Surprise Lilies were out in full force a couple of weeks ago. Although the blooms don’t last long, they are always a treat when they seem to spring from the ground and bloom virtually overnight.