The only time Cher was booed by the capacity crowd Friday night at The Mark of the Quad-Cities in Moline was when she announced the stop was part of her farewell tour.
"Gimme a frickin' break," she said. "I've been an evil frickin' diva for 40 frickin' years."
The 56-year-old singer put on a capital-S Spectacle, keeping the crowd on its feet and singing along throughout much of her 90-minute extravaganza. As with Cher's 1999 date at The Mark, the opening act was Cyndi Lauper, who combined old and new material with smaller-scale showmanship to create a headline-worthy opening act.
Cher made an entrance after the first of several video montages of her career, descending on a chandelier and singing U2's "I Still Haven't Found what I'm Looking for."
Playing in front of a set that looked like a cross between Architectural Digest and a pinball machine, Cher performed many of the high points of her career, from a medley of "All I Really Want to do," "Half-Breed" and "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves," through her hit from last year, "Song for the Lonely." In between songs and a costume change for each one were eight athletic dancers, doing everything from American Indian-inspired dances to Cirque du Soleil-type moves.
Cher still has the chops — the songs sounded as good as the originals — and the body, as showed off by umpteen revealing outfits.
And then there were the wigs.
"I have many natural hair colors I'm going to wear tonight," she said.
Lauper made her entrance, as she did in 1999, singing and walking through the crowd.
This time, however, she made it through on a cane, the result of an onstage accident in Oklahoma City three weeks ago.
She later returned to meandering through the audience four more times, working the crowd like a seasoned politician. And she only reached for her cane three times, the rest of the hour twirling with reckless abandon.
With a five-piece band, Lauper gave new life to her nearly 20-year-old songs, including a spirited version of "Money Changes Everything," an acoustic encore of "Time After Time" with Lauper playing lap guitar, and a self-admitted, plaintive, ellipsis-like Jewel version of the once-controversial "She Bop."
She also drew cheers from the crowd when she draped herself in a rainbow-colored flag and sang "True Colors" after declaring herself a "PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) person" and raising her fist after the line "don't be afraid."
She also performed well-received songs from her new EP, "Shine," and a new song, "Still Be Mine," that "you haven't heard anywhere, even on your computers."
With the skill of a stand-up comic, she entertained the crowd between songs in what must be one of the best opening acts on the road.
David Burke can be contacted at (563) 383-2400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.