Shacking Up with Cher

The subject line on the press release read, "Once more with Feeling ... CHER!" Oh, my God. Please say it isn't so. Cher is back, back again? It goes on to claim that "due to overwhelming demand, Cher will continue her öFarewell Never Can Say Goodbye Tour 2004.'" Damn! She really can't say goodbye, can she? After four decades of singing, dancing, and making worst-dressed lists all over the world, the dynamic and practically ageless Cher continues to dazzle audiences with an extravagant production of sparkling lights, smashing costumes, and fabulous choreography. She might not be able to turn back time, but Cher will revisit her signature songs from over the years, taking you back to sway with "I Got You Babe" and bringing you right up to her own survival anthem, "Believe." Although she recently postponed shows in London and Montreal because of a throat infection, Cher is healthy, fierce, and kicking ass with her 58-year-old sexy legs. But the diva won't be ripping up the stage by herself; she'll be driving a Plymouth Satellite with the B-52's for the southeast leg of the tour to bring even more garish fashions to the stage.

One of the original Athens bands, and undeniably one of the best new wave bands to shimmy this side of the pond, the B-52's are still puffing up their bouffants and filling the pink air of Planet Claire with their catchy keyboard tunes and head-bobbing harmonies. With two of their popular dance hits, "Rock Lobster" and "Love Shack," recently making Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, and their two-disc collection released in 2002, Nude on the Moon: The B-52's Anthology, these retro hipsters -- Fred Schneider, Kate Pierson, Keith Strickland, and Cindy Wilson -- continue to cause funky clubbers to jump to their feet for "Private Idaho" and "Dance this Mess Around." But the beehive boppers have had their share of highs and lows over the span of their 25-year career. The B-52's 1979 self-titled debut album is a classic and still highly ranked on Amazon.com, while the Eighties albums, Whammy and Bouncing Off the Satellites, were a bit lackluster. They managed to get their groove back on Cosmic Thingand enjoyed the success of hit songs "Love Shack" and "Roam," only to see the retirement of Wilson in 1990 and an embarrassing theme song gig for the live-action Spielberg-produced flop The Flintstones. It was time for a break. Wilson had a baby, Schneider worked on a solo project, and Pierson collaborated with fellow Athens activists R.E.M. on their 1991 album Out of Time. The kooky rockers rejoined in the late Nineties to release their collection of hits, Time Capsule.

Straight from Planet Claire with two turntables and a laser gun
Straight from Planet Claire with two turntables and a laser gun

Outspoken activists for animal rights issues (they often grace the pages of the PETA magazine Animal Times,and Fred Schneider recently made the list of "World's Sexiest Vegetarians"), AIDS (the disease took the life of Cindy's brother and B-52's original member, guitarist Ricky Wilson, in 1985), and environmental causes, this band can't seem to say goodbye, either.

 
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