We all know that great old joke: “The only thing that will be left after a nuclear holocaust is Cher and cockroaches.”
But sadly, we don’t yet have conclusive scientific proof that Cher really is immortal. Either way, here’s the thing: Glastonbury definitely needs to book the singer, actress, TV host, Auto-Tune pioneer and gold-plated gay icon for the legends slot ASAP, while she’s still putting on shows as outrageously entertaining as her ‘Here We Go Again Tour’.
The UK leg began on Sunday night at The O2 in London, where I can confirm it earned its rave reviews, and Cher will be bringing the Vegas-style spectacle to arenas nationwide until November 3.
Though some festival-goers cling to old-fashioned notions about what a headliner should look like – white, male, preferably holding a guitar – it’s generally accepted that the Glastonbury legends slot can go to an artist who trades in pure pop showmanship. Kylie Minogue’s 2019 legends slot, a masterclass in just that, has become the most watched in Glastonbury history.
Cher would bring her own spangly, super-camp brand of showbiz glamour to the Pyramid Stage. The ‘Here We Go Again Tour’ features Cher flanked by dancers in skimpy Spartan costumes, Cher wearing wigs that even RuPaul might be tempted to nick, and the singer riding a giant mechanical elephant – just because she can.
Incidentally, Cher’s been riding an elephant on stage since she began her ‘Farewell Tour’ in 2002 – that tour finally finished in 2005, and Cher returned to live work with a Las Vegas residency three years later. She might not be great at saying goodbye, but she’s no fool, and you can bet your tent she’ll still be getting her money’s worth from that elephant if the Eavises book her for the next available legends slot.
But though Cher’s now a glossy showbiz icon with an Oscar, an Emmy, a Grammy and three Golden Globes on her trophy shelf in Malibu, her gloriously unpredictable career actually sprung from the same countercultural well as Glastonbury itself.
She first became famous in the ‘60s as one half of Sonny & Cher, who were embraced by Middle America as the acceptable face of the hippie movement – which helped to inspire the inaugural Glastonbury in 1970. Is Cher a hippie now? Of course not – she’s an incredibly wealthy one-woman industry who responded to her mother’s suggestion that she might settle down and marry a rich man with the dynamite one-liner: “But mom, I am a rich man.” But, she does still sing her hippie-era classic ‘I Got You Babe’ with archive footage of ex-hub Sonny (R.I.P.) projected onto a video screen. What a pro.
This doesn’t mean Cher is apolitical – she’s a self-styled “progressive independent” who makes both Trump and Boris the butt of the joke on her current tour. She’d bring her fabulous sense of humour to the Pyramid Stage, along with a voice that’s still strong enough – pun intended – to turn any song into a fist-pumping anthem.
Can you imagine how great Cher staples like ‘If I Could Turn Back Time’, ‘Walking in Memphis’ and ‘Believe’ would sound on Sunday afternoon at Worthy Farm? But above all, Cher deserves the legends slot because she is truly a legend of pop culture. And she’s achieved that legendary status because she’s a performer with enough charisma, chutzpah and stage presence to pause her otherwise super-slick arena show night after night to deliver a brilliant, rambling 15-minute monologue about David Letterman (an “asshole”), Jack Nicholson (a bit of a chauvinist pig, by all accounts) and her own age-defying endurance (“What’s your grandma doing tonight?”).
She’s Cher, bitch. So Glastonbury, why haven’t you booked her yet?