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I didn't intend to attend the Cher concert. I also didn't know that Cyndi Lauper was the opening act.

But I thought, "What the hell?" after a fortuitous lunchtime conversation with a friend who said that, often, on the day of a major concert, some of the comp tickets that were given to radio stations, and given out for other PR reasons, are returned to the box office and come up for sale, and they're usually pretty good seats.

My first trip to the PNC Arena box office was at 9:30, because I wasn't sure if they were going to open at 10:00 or 12:00. Their website said they open at noon for their "summer hours," otherwise at 10:00, but they didn't say when their summer hours went into effect.

The summer hours were listed first, as if they might already be in effect, but it is only spring, after all, so I couldn't be sure. Hey, I've got an idea! Why not list the dates of what your summer hours are, if they aren't actually tied to, well, summer. Just a thought, from you know, a customer who has been inconvenienced.

Needless to say, I was back at about 11:15, and I was the first one in line to wait for the noon opening.

Many people, nicely dressed, came up to try the locked door, and I watched them try subsequent doors until they found one open at the "VIP Entrance." That area was separate from the box office, and there was some kind of business meeting going on over there.

A lady and a man, both in suits, walked toward me after I had figured out what was going on from standing there long enough, and I said to ward them off, "That door down there is open, and a lot of people who are dressed like you have gone in there."

The lady laughed and said, "Dressed like us, huh?"

"Yes," I said, "All fancied up."

At about 10 'til, a man walked up with some tickets to return, and I asked him if worked for a radio station.

"For a group of 'em," he replied.

The doors opened at noon, and since I ended up being the only one waiting, I was served first. "I'd like your best seat, for one," I said to the cashier.

"Does the cost matter?" she asked.

"Oh no," I said, and then added pointing to the highest price ($105) listed on the ticket pricing sheet, "Assuming it's not more than this."

She gave me a choice of 3 seats, and I asked, "If this ticket was for you, which one of those 3 would you chose?" And that's the one I bought. Section 119, Row G, Seat 4.

Instead of paying $20 for parking (Can you say ripoff???), I parked at the fairgrounds for free and walked over there.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this concert, but it wasn't without criticism. Specifically, these four things bothered me:

  1. Cher made some comment about the folks sitting in the box seats that was somewhat derogatory, clearly meaning to make "the rest of us" feel better about our seats. What was annoying about it was that she sort of made fun of them for having a lot of money. Pot. Kettle. Black. My take is we were all customers there, and you don't bash your customers.

  2. She went off on some ten-minute or so rant against Dr. Pepper, which made no sense to any of us who didn't know her history with them. I just assumed they were a sponsor, or past sponsor, of hers, and she was pissed with them. I guess what was annoying was that there was no acknowledgement of the fact that some of us not only didn't know what she was talking about, but didn't care about her tiffs with her sponsors.

  3. She played to much to the left side of the stage. I was on the right side of the stage, of course.

  4. Okay, let's face it. Cher looks great in spite of her 68 years (she was about a week away from turning 68 at the time of the concert). We know it. She knows it. And we all know how. So, why mention how old you are way too many times during your performance? It was almost like she wanted us all to shout in unison every time she did, "Oh, but you look so great!"

    It was funny the first couple of times, espeically the first time, with an outfit with a slit up to her belly button on, she said, "And what's your grandmother doing tonight?"

As I said, though, overall she sounded great, and put on a high-energy show. And although I thought the costume-changing was excessive, at least it was staged in a way to keep us entertained (e.g., entourage dancing numbers, videos of her career) while we waited.

I'm glad I got to see the gay icon in person in my lifetime. Not as glad as I was to see Barbra on my 55th birthday, however.




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