Gays and Greys (Cher In Concert)

It’s Saturday afternoon and I’ve just woken up from a brief nap. It’s been an incredibly busy week and so I thought a brief nap was in keeping with my efforts until the phone rang and then, my mobile rang at the same time which I interpreted as a sign that I probably shouldn’t waste too much of my Saturday, even though I have been tired today. That said, I’ve woken up and I’m feeling fine… in fact, feeling quite good about life at the moment, as most things in my life seem to be going well.

The highlight of the week was undoubtedly Wednesday night when I travelled to Newcastle to see Cher in concert at the Entertainment Centre. I caught the 4.12pm train leaving Central which got me into Newcastle at about 6.40pm which was ideal, as it gave me a few hours of daylight travel in which to enjoy the gorgeous scenery the train trip affords.

I’d been anticipating the show ever since ABC-TV had screened one of the concerts half way through last year. The tv show had a great showbiz quality about it, combining video footage, live performance and lots of humour and costume changes. Cher was also responsible for some of my lifetime favourite songs ranging from a childhood favourite, Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves to a more recent disco favourite, Strong Enough. I’ve never, however, been a fan of the “slingshot period”, that period in the 80s where she sang rock ballads in her famous “slipshot costume”. But even those songs had a nostalgic value for the G&G audience which was attending.

G&G? The audience consisted of gays and greys! It’s an interesting new demographic not previously discussed which is attracted to the likes of Cher, Bette Midler, Village People etc. Actually, the Village People were the opening group for the night. Although at first they seemed a little sad – let’s just say the cute, thin Indian has put on a kilogram or thirty – they really knew how to work the crowd and by the end of their performance literally had people dancing in the aisles. I wondered though half way through the show why these guys still do it. Do they need the money? Do they love it?

And Cher? Her performance was excellent, although I did notice a couple of things. I noticed for the first time the limitations of her strong, but limited vocal range. I also noticed that although she’s surrounded by people who dance and do acrobatics, she doesn’t do all that much herself… just the occasional shimmy. And why not? She’s 60 years old which she, herself joked about, commenting that this would definitely be her final tour and that she wasn’ going to re-emerge in a few years time in one of those people movers popular with older people. I also nearly choked when she introduced a song as “This is my first number one from July 1965”, as it was actually before I was born. She was clearly a performer with no regrets about her career. It was a terrific night and I also have no regrets about the night except for one: I didn’t check the train timetable.

And why should I check the train timetable, since I’ve been travelling up and down the coast for many years. Having had a year in Perth, though, I was unaware the timetable had changed and, although I caught the Sydney train from Newcastle at 11.30, it wasn’t actually going all the way to Sydney, it was stopping at about 1.00am at Gosford. When I realised the next train wasn’t until 3.00am, I was reasonably philosophical about it all, thinking that I could pop into a bar, have a few drinks and then, by the time it was ready to leave, I’d be toasted enough to comfortably sleep all the way back to Sydney… except everything was closed. So I sat on the station, talked to myself, and made a short video called Stuck In Gosford, which I’m sure will, one day, be an Academy Award winner.

Even though I’d spent the night sleeping on a train I was reasonably alert on Thursday which is just as well since we had a live broadcast for work that night at Newtown RSL which was a huge success. Amongst the comedians featured in our show were Dhanny Boy and Bob Downe. I went to see Dhanny Bhoy last night and I’m going to see Bob Downe tonight. I’ll write about them both in my next diary entry.

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