Wednesday, February 5, 2020

If I Could Turn Back Time

In December, after having some tests done in hopes of determining the cause of stomach issues I had been having the past year, I was diagnosed with Celiac disease (if you're in England or Australia it's spelled Coeliac).  I had always thought if you were celiac, you had severe reactions to eating gluten, but according to my doctor, there is range in the severity of symptoms, and fortunately, mine are relatively mild compared to those of other people I know who have the disease.  My doctor's advice after giving me the news was "stop eating gluten".  Sounds simple, but it is much easier said than done - the damn stuff is in so many things!  It has required a huge change in my shopping and eating habits.  This alone would have been challenging but at the end of December I got sick with a respiratory virus which hung on for over 4 weeks.  Between avoiding gluten and being sick, I didn't eat much for about 4 weeks, and was generally weak and exhausted.   

The Good News!  The coughing has pretty much stopped, and I'm learning to make simple meals at home that I can eat (my repertoire is pretty minimal, so if you have any gluten-free meal recipes that don't require a lot of ingredients or prep time, please pass them on - I do eat meat)

However, I would still like to revisit a simpler time - November 29th, 2019 to be exact...

That was the day that my best pal Heather and I went to Toronto to jointly celebrate our birthdays, and we had a big day planned.    Our first stop was at Sephora, where we purchased some false eyelashes and had one of their makeup artists apply them for us.  After all, we had tickets to see the Queen of Glam herself that night...

Yep, that would be Cher

And you can't just wear any old thing when you are going to be in the presence of a Goddess

We put on ALL the sequins! (my sequinned butterfly top is vintage)

I have loved Cher since the early 70's when I sat on my living room floor watching the Sonny and Cher show with my parents.  I loved everything about her - her exotic beauty, the flashy, body-revealing Bob Mackie costumes, and her quick wit, especially when trading quips with her then-husband, Sonny Bono.  She was everything I was not, but wanted to be. I bought every movie magazine with her on the cover, and one of the first record albums I bought with my own money was 1974's Dark Lady (I was 13), with a black and white photo of her on the cover holding a black cat.

Time went by and I grew up, but Cher stayed in my heart and on my radar.  I knew what songs she had released and what movies she made.  I followed the story of her daughter Chastity's coming out as gay, and later on, as transgender.   One of the few regrets I had in my life was that I had never seen her perform live, so when I saw on Instagram that she was going to be performing in Toronto as part of her "Here We Go Again" tour in 2019,  I spent a ridiculous amount of money (lesson learned - if you buy tickets from a re-sale website be prepared to pay insanely high service fees) on two tickets for Heather and I to see her.  I bought the tickets in April so we had to wait until November before we could actually go - it was like waiting for Christmas when I was a kid.

Was it worth it?
  YOU BETCHA!!!   

The opening act was Nile Rogers and Chic

Nile Rogers, co-founder of the band Chic, is an American guitarist, singer-songwriter, record producer, arranger and composer.  He has written and produced music for artists such as Diana Ross, Madonna, David Bowie, Sister Sledge and Duran Duran, and is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  We were almost as excited to see him perform as we were to see Cher.

 Vocalists Kimberly Davis (left) and Jill Jones sounded amazing

While Chic were on stage, the arena took on the vibe of a funky disco club, and we wished we were on the floor so we could dance.   It was really cool to look around us and see so many women in their 50's and older dancing in their seats.  I was disappointed that more people did not bother to dress up; we saw a few people in sequins and bling, and one young couple dressed in 60's Sonny and Cher outfits, but for the most part, it was hard to tell people were going to a concert and not a hockey game.  Sigh. 

The band performed "Good Time" and it was obvious they were having one on stage

Then, the woman we were all waiting for...

of course she was lowered onto the stage in a gold archway, because Cher

Warrior queen

For the next hour and a half she showed us that at 73, Cher is still a performer at the top of her game.   Her voice is in fine form, and I think she sounds better than she did 20 years ago.  Bob Mackie's form-fitting costumes showed off a kick-ass body that must take some hard-core workouts to maintain (plastic surgery can only do so much).  There were 9 costume changes for 14 songs which meant that she disappeared from the stage frequently, while we were left to watch a video montage or listen to an instrumental version of one of her songs. I would have liked more songs and less filler, but honestly, I was just thrilled to finally see her "in the flesh" (and there was quite a bit on display).

For the "Burlesque" set she wore the same costume as she did in the film.   The sets were effective and eye-catching and were done mostly with projections and lighting

the "Shoop Shoop" song

 She doesn't need to turn back time, she looks incredible now

I wish I would have got a better photo of her during her performance of "If I Could Turn Back Time" when she was wearing a mesh bodysuit very similar to the one she wore in her video for song from back in 1989.  When she came out on stage the audience went nuts.

She has ended every concert on this tour with "Believe"
I waited in line to visit the merchandise table after the show - I attend concerts so rarely that I made sure that I had the full experience.   I spent too much money on a long-sleeved t-shirt and a copy of the program but I was more than satisfied with our night out.   If you love Cher and weren't able to see her on this tour, there are plenty of videos from the various concert stops on Instagram and YouTube to enjoy.


  1. Oh, how awesome!! I paid stoopid money to go see Elton John a couple of years ago, and it was totally worth it (even with the idiot man beside me "manspreading" into my seat space).

    That looks like an amazing show, Shelley, and don't you look GLAM as hell?? I love that you and your friend both dressed up. I'm saddened by the lack of dressing up for shows, concerts and theatre these days - I went to the theatre on the weekend (a Broadway cast doing "Carol King's Beautiful") and there was hardly anyone in the matinee in "real" clothes (as opposed to leggings or jeans). Sad.

    Concert tees are in the $50-75 range. I just suck it up and buy 'em (I sleep in them).

    I cook quite a bit of GF food - mostly pasta sauces and chili and soup. I cook a lot of big batches and freeze it so that I don't have to cook during the week.

    1. I'm glad there are still a few of us that like getting "dressed up" to go to a concert or the theatre. I realize that most people don't like wearing fancy clothes. I would pay big bucks to see Elton John, but unfortunately, he did his final tour this past year.

  2. Happy belated birthday wishes, and congratulations on giving yourself such a great gift! Thanks for sharing your fun at the Cher concert. You and your friend looked totally fabulous--even better than Cher, to me!

    I am not celiac myself, but my sister and her son/my nephew are, as well as one of my closest friends, so I have a lot of experience making gluten free food. Generally, I focus on dishes made with vegetables, beans, meat, and gluten-free grains such as rice, corn and quinoa--which is actually a seed. Cauliflower "rice" is a favorite for both my sister and my friend. Here in the US, it is readily available at Trader Joe's and Costco. Another great meal without gluten is any kind of tacos made with corn tortillas, especially yummy with fresh ones. These are way easier to come by here in Tucson, AZ I am sure, but I hope you can get them where you live. Good luck with feeling better!

    1. Hi Linda, thanks for your GF feedback. I have been eating a lot of rice, vegetables and meat. Unfortunately, corn has never agreed with me and a lot of things like crackers, etc. substitute corn for wheat.

  3. Firstly, sorry that you have this celiac disease, it's the kind of thing that makes daily life more difficult. I'm intolerant to lactose and it only creates problems in my social life, as it is not easy to go out for dinner with friends. I've learned to manage it, cooking from scratch (wich is healthier and cheaper) and avoiding any prepared food, even sausages. Nowadays there are more options available, but it's better to carry your own food and be safe!. Anyway, you can adapt many récipes to your own requirements. For sure you know about polenta and oatmeal as gluten free options!
    Lovely to see you and your friend looking so fabulously sequined and ready to have fun!. Cher looks so Gorgeous and she knows how to créate a magnificent show, woww!. I also love when more people get dressed for a concert or event, it makes the whole experience so much better!

    1. Monica, thanks for your comment. I agree that having a food intolerance makes it hard to go to restaurants. I haven't been out for dinner or lunch since I was diagnosed as it's just easier (and cheaper) to make something to eat at home. Not very good for your social life though.

  4. Woo hoo to Cher!! And double woo hoo that you guys dressed up big time for the event, false eyelashes and all. I really think people have forgotten how great it feels to get dressed up for something other than weddings or church or grad parties or work functions, any function that smacks of obligation or duty is in there too. Cher is stunning and an absolute icon. So glad you had this experience with Heather.

    As for the celiac diagnosis - ^%*@$!!!! But I'm relieved that your symptoms are gone and your condition is manageable with a diet change. You'll find some easy-to-prepare faves over time, but I'd be freaking during the transition. So be strong, this is a healthy way to eat anyway. Your body will thank you for that alone. xo

  5. You both looked absolutely wonderful for the gig, you out-Chered Cher!!
    I'm glad you've finally got a diagnosis - Coeliac Disease isn't a nice thing at all but at least it's manageable. xxx

  6. If you want to get together to chat about Celiac please get in touch.I have been living with it for over twenty years as well as multiple food an environmental allergies.Yes,it can be frustrating when one can't eat in restaurants but I always cook my own food and take snacks with me when I am out and about.Many things to discuss but I think I can help make some things easier for you:)

  7. Sorry to about the disease but glad that it can be managed. There are too many lifestyle disease these days. Trying to stay gluten free diet is tough. I suggest consult a good dietician and create recipes around the ingredients recommended. Enjoy life and stay healthy. Have more gifts and party like cher.

  8. Oh gosh Shelley, that is some serious illnesses you had and have. I think you are dealing with it admirably. Reading you had a respiratory virus is in today's light, quite frightening. Could it have been the Corona virus and you now have antibodies? Or would you be more suspectible for it? Or none at all?
    Cher does indeed look fabulous. It is good to hear her voice is still so good too. I like her a lot too. She is witty and beautiful. Apart from a great singer also a good actress.

    1. I forgot to say that you looked super in that vintage sequinned top. But you already know I love it. Your friend looked super too.

  9. Sorry to hear about your illness. The picture of the concert is wonderful. I believe you had a memorable time. The pictures are so lively that one can feel the actual ambiance of the show while just watching the pictures.

  10. That respiratory illness, I'm another wondering if it was Covid, it has been around for longer than January. As for the gluten free disease, is there an organisation you can join, there is here in the UK, and they give mountains of advice and help.

    I saw Cher on one of her final tours some 12 years ago. She was just fabulous. When she came on in the old Sonny and Cher costume to sing those songs I was swept back to the mid 60s. She simply wowed the audience.

  11. That was the day that my best pal Heather and I went to Toronto to jointly celebrate our birthdays, and we had a big day planned. Our first stop was at Sephora, where we purchased some false eyelashes and had one of their makeup artists apply them for us. After all, we had tickets to see the Queen of Glam herself that night...

  12. For the next hour and a half she showed us that at 73, Cher is still a performer at the top of her game. Her voice is in fine form, and I think she sounds better than she did 20 years ago. Bob Mackie's form-fitting costumes showed off a kick-ass body that must take some hard-core workouts to maintain (plastic surgery can only do so much).

  13. Everyone wish they could turn back time...

  14. I'm so sorry to hear about that! Everything will be ok! Wish you all the best!

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  21. I'm really late to this party, have just discovered your blog (and hope you will be posting again?). I love both your outfits in this post, you both look fantastic! And obviously, I love Cher. Grew up listening to her as my mum's a fan. What an icon! Loved seeing these pics. :)

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