Cher Opens ‘Dressed To Kill Tour’

Cher opened her 2014 Dressed to Kill Tour on Saturday night at the U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix, AZ.

The singer, who will play 49 shows over the coming months, was in her normal full regalia with multiple costume and set changes along with a lot of off-the-cuff comedic patter between numbers. 

The set list covered 49 years of music, going back to the Sonny and Cher hits I Got You Babe (sung with a projected video of Sonny) and The Beat Goes On up through four songs from her latest album, Closer to the Truth.  She covered all of the phases of her career including the 1970’s TV star (Gypsys, Tramps and Thieves, Half Breed, Dark Lady), her late 80’s resurgence (I Found SomeoneIf I Could Turn Back TimeJust Like Jesse James) and the late 90’s comeback with her biggest hit (Believe).

Every song in the 20-selection set, with the exception of Dressed to Kill and Welcome to Burlesque were former singles but, in a half century career, a few things need to be left out. Missing were the top ten hits You Better Sit Down Kids (1967), The Way of Love (1972), Take Me Home (1979) and After All (1989) along with the Sonny & Cher songs Baby Don’t Go (1964), All I Ever Need is You (1971) and A Cowboy’s Work is Never Done (1972).

The set list:

  • Woman’s World (from Closer to the Truth, 2013)
  • Strong Enough (from Believe, 1998)
  • Dressed to Kill (from Closer to the Truth, 2013)
  • The Beat Goes On (from Sonny & Cher’s In Case You’re In Love, 1967)
  • I Got You Babe (from Sonny & Cher’s Look at Us, 1965)
  • Gypsys, Tramps and Thieves (from Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves, 1971)
  • Dark Lady (from Dark Lady, 1974)
  • Half Breed (from Half Breed, 1973)
  • Welcome to Burlesque (from Burlesque: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, 2010)
  • You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me (from Burlesque: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, 2010)
  • Take It Like a Man (from Closer to the Truth, 2013)
  • Walking in Memphis (from It’s a Man’s World, 1995)
  • Just Like Jesse James (from Heart of Stone, 1989)
  • Heart of Stone (from Heart of Stone, 1989)
  • The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s in His Kiss) (from the soundtrack for Mermaids, 1990)
  • Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) (from The Sonny Side of Cher, 1966)
  • I Found Someone (from Cher, 1987)
  • If I Could Turn Back Time (from Heart of Stone, 1989)
  • Believe (from Believe, 1998)
  • I Hope You Find It (from Closer to the Truth, 2013)

New Music: Sheppard ‘Geronimo’

Brisbane band Sheppard are proud to announce their signing with historic British record label Decca Records (backed by Universal Music worldwide) – the original home of international icons such as The Rolling Stones and Tom Jones. 

The first Australian band ever to sign with Decca (which was founded in 1929), Sheppard are heading to North America next week to finalise the worldwide release of the new single “Geronimo” which is impacting radio around Australia now and debuted this week at #31 on iTunes. 

“The sense of history we feel being the first Australian band with a label like Decca with such a long and important tradition is really amazing,” said vocalistGeorge Sheppard, “The way we’ve been embraced by the Australian public over the last year has been fantastic and it feels that while this news is a culmination of many years of hard work, it really is the start for us.” 

The band will remain independent in Australia, (with Empire of Song / Chugg Music continuing to handle their releases) with Decca taking the reigns for the rest of the world.  Sheppard’s breakthrough single ‘Let Me Down Easy’ was one of 2013’s biggest local radio hits (Top 10 most played Australian single nationwide), selling near-double platinum figures since its release.  The band are looking forward to history repeating with latest single ‘Geronimo’; 

“Geronimo has already had so much great feedback from overseas,” saidGeorge Sheppard. “It is great to see radio jumping on board again here at home. It means so much to us that people are enjoying what we do.” 

In its first week at Australian radio, ‘Geronimo’ was added to programming on ten major stations, earning a place as #10 most added track at radio in Australia w/c March 17. 

On top of three upcoming US appearances in Portland, San Francisco andLos Angeles, Sheppard will also appear at MUSEXPO and the Worldwide Radio Summit in Los Angeles in April. The band will return to Australia in mid-April to support Michael Franti at his Sydney and Melbourne shows.

ABBA ‘Official Photo Book’

‘Abba: The Official Photo Book’ will be released in Australia in April.

The 400-page book in the format of a classical LP is the first ever complete and authorized official Abba photo book to be released anywhere in the world. The book contains over 600 never before seen photos and tells the story of the band from formation to their solo years. ‘Abba: The Official Photo Book’ was written by Petter Karlsson and features a forward by Agnetha, Bjorn, Bennt and Frida. 

The book will be released in Australia in April 2014 through publisher Hardie Grant.

Reissue: Roy Orbison’s ‘Mystery Girl’

Roy Orbison’s last major album, Mystery Girl, will be reissued in deluxe editions on May 20 via Legacy.

Orbison’s career resurgance started with the use of his song In Dreams on the soundtrack for David Lynch’s Blue Velvet and continued with the Black and White Night live concert and The Traveling Wilbury’s, Volume 1, his fictional group with Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, George Harrison and Jeff Lynne. Mystery Girl was completed in 1988 but Roy never saw it released. The album went to number 5 in the U.S. and number 1 in Australia, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.

The Deluxe version of Mystery Girl will be a CD/DVD set with the ten original tracks plus nine previously unreleased studio and work-tape demos including The Way Is Love, featuring a newly restored Roy Orbison vocal track layered with contemporary guitar, drum and vocal accompaniment by Roy’s three sons (Roy Jr., Alex and Wesley).
The DVD includes Mystery Girl: Unraveled, a new one-hour documentary chronicling the song-by-song creation of Mystery Girl through rare and intimate archival footage and the memories of those who were there. In addition to the documentary, the DVD includes eight Roy Orbison music videos, four of which are previously unreleased including a piece documenting the renewal and rebirth of The Way Is Love.

An Expanded Version is a single CD with the original album plus five bonus tracks while the 2-LP set will have the same content as the Deluxe version CD.

Executive produced by “Roy’s Boys” (Wesley Orbison, Roy Orbison, Jr. and Alex Orbison) and directed by Alex Orbison, Mystery Girl: Unraveled features new interviews with Billy Burnette, John Carter Cash, Mike Campbell, Steve Cropper, Richard Dodd, Jim Keltner, Jeff Lynne, David Malloy, Tom Petty and Roy’s three sons. The film also incorporates never-before-seen interviews with Bono, Barbara Orbison, Jeff Ayeroff and others, all sharing insights into Roy’s life and work.

Archival footage includes revelatory sequences lensed, literally, in Mike Campbell’s garage (aka “Mike’s Garage,” where much of the album was recorded) in addition to breathtaking studio sequences and live footage shot around the time of the album’s recording.

Mystery Girl: Unraveled concludes with new documentary footage illuminating the creation of The Way Is Love, one of the previously unreleased tracks on Mystery Girl – Deluxe. Roy’s vocals were found on a previously unheard Roy Orbison/Bill Dees work-tape, originally recorded on a boombox cassette player, and meticulously stripped out for this extraordinary new recording. Produced by John Carter Cash and engineered by Chuck Turner, the The Way Is Love vocal was taken to Johnny Cash’s Cabin studio in Hendersonville, Tennessee in 2013, using the newly discovered Roy Orbison vocal as its core. Realizing a life-long dream to record with their father, Wesley and Roy Jr played guitars on the song with Alex handling the drums and all three sons bringing background vocals to the mix. “Cutting a track with my brothers was more incredible than I can describe,” said Alex. “I have been looking forward to this for my entire life.” Roy Jr. noted that “More or less the reason Alex and Wesley and I are musicians was to play in Dad’s band when we got older,” and Wesley summed it up nicely, “I think we really got something special.”

Roy’s core group of musicians on the original Mystery Girl recordings included Jeff Lynne (guitar, piano, bass, backing vocals), Tom Petty (acoustic guitar, backing vocals), Mike Campbell (guitar, bass, mandolin), Jim Keltner (drums), Howie Epstein (bass, backing vocals), and Benmont Tench (piano, organ, cheap strings). Contributing artists on the album include Barbara Orbison, Roy Orbison, Jr., Al Kooper, George Harrison, Bono, T Bone Burnett, Steve Cropper, The Memphis Horns, and more.

Mystery Girl: Deluxe Edition
CD (Same track listing for LP edition)
You Got I
In The Real World
(All I Can Do Is) Dream You
A Love So Beautiful
California Blue
She’s A Mystery To Me
The Comedians
The Only One
Careless Heart
The Way Is Love (unreleased with new instruments and vocals)
She’s A Mystery To Me (Studio demo with Bono)
(All I Can Do Is) Dream You (Studio Demo)
The Only One (Studio Demo)
The Comedians (Studio Demo)
In The Real World (Studio Demo)
California Blue (Studio Demo)
Windsurfer (Work-tape Demo)
You Are My Love (Work-tape Demo

“Mystery Girl: Unraveled” Documentary
“New” videos
The Way Is Love
California Blue (new alternative version set to the studio demo bonus audio track)
You Got It (2014 version)
She’s a Mystery To Me (alternate Fincher version, unreleased)

“Old” official videos:
You Got It
California Blue
She’s a Mystery To Me
A Love So Beautiful
Mystery Girl: Expanded Edition
You Got It
In The Real World
(All I Can Do Is) Dream You
A Love So Beautiful
California Blue
She’s A Mystery To Me
The Comedians
The Only One
Careless Heart

Bonus songs:
The Way Is Love
She’s A Mystery To Me
The Only One
California Blue
You Are My Love

Rob Smith: ‘Closets, Combat and Coming Out’

On the 11th anniversary of the American invasion of Iraq, gay former soldier Rob Smith remembers the harrowing events.

The streets of Iraq had a look of war-strewn desperation to them that was hard to stomach. Everywhere I looked, I saw Arabic language that I couldn’t understand. The roadsides were littered with abandoned fighter vehicles that the Saddam loyalists had used in their futile attempts to defend themselves against the American invaders. Small, brown Iraqi children would come out of nowhere sometimes, running with and waving at the tanks.

We were moving slow enough in the 15- to 20-vehicle convoy for them to keep up with to a point. They wore tattered pants, and T-shirts with logos and brands from them that were distinctly from the 1980s. Their high voices were filled with joy and hope as they chanted, “America! USA!” with bright smiles and hands extended in the thumbs-up position.

Many times they were alone, but sometimes older, hardened Iraqi men who looked at us with contempt and distrust joined them. I smiled and waved at the children. They were ignorant of the fact that I was doing so with a semi-automatic weapon positioned directly in front of me.

When I saw the faces of the adult men I gripped my weapon just a little bit tighter. I pressed the butt of my weapon deeper into my shoulder in case any unforeseen events required me to have it in position immediately. I would look each man in his eyes above the heads of the small, simple children they were protecting. I matched the contempt in their eyes with steely resolve in mine. They needed to know that I wouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger in case they wanted to try anything. I found myself locking eyes with most of them until we were safely out of view.

I wondered what they thought of us, American infidels, who’d come to violently overthrow the regime. I saw a lot of children and a lot of angry Iraqi men during those days on the convoy. I thought a lot about how I would feel if the situation was reversed. What if my country had been bombed into submission for reasons that were still murky? What was it about America that determined we were always right in using force? If we were to listen to what was told to us by the government and our leaders, Saddam Hussein was a bloodthirsty tyrant. He was out to unleash weapons of mass destruction onto an unsuspecting American public. I just couldn’t allow myself to be convinced. Were the 9/11 attackers not based in Afghanistan? The shift from talking about Afghanistan to focusing on Iraq was so swift and smooth I didn’t even realize it happened. All I knew was that after returning from the first six-month deployment in Kuwait in mid 2002, all talk had suddenly shifted to Iraq. I wanted to trust what was being told to us, but the questions in my head wouldn’t allow me to do so fully. Was blind trust a prerequisite to serving the country, or does it just make it easier to do the job?

My days were spent asking a lot of those questions in my head. Being in Iraq had turned the mood sober for all of us. I looked into the faces of my fellow soldiers and could tell they were lost in their own thoughts as much as I was in mine. After four days of convoying through the cities and fields of Iraq, we finally arrived at our first destination. The small city was named Samarra, and we came right on the heels of a firefight that was happening between marines and Iraqi insurgents in the city.

As my squad members and I dismounted our vehicle and walked into the city, there was a faint air of chaos around. I knew that we’d just missed a hell of a battle. We gathered up as a platoon right outside of an abandoned building that had been taken over just hours before. We were briefed on our first mission. The company had received reliable Intel that the insurgents who were responsible for the attack we’d just missed were holed up in a mosque on the outskirts of town. We were going to attack right after dawn. As the company commander briefed us, he motioned to a mosque just behind him in the distance. I could see the roof of it against the backdrop of the hazy Iraq sun. It looked a bit like the white capitol building, only with a purple metallic color and a very distinct point coming out of the roof. That building was where it was going to happen, our first mission.

We pulled the platoon’s vehicles and equipment into the area we were to sleep in. It was an abandoned, bombed out building that was rumored to once house a private school for the children of Samarra. I walked to the gate for my first guard shift with Howard, still my only true friend in the platoon. We stood on either side of the concrete double-doors, hearing the faint sounds of the life that went on in the city, as we were in the planning stages of executing an attack on it. We could hear the faraway sounds of children laughing, and of mothers admonishing their children in the Arabic that neither Howard nor I spoke. I could feel the tension between us as the gravity of what we were to do in just eight short hours sunk in. We were scheduled to get up at 4:30 a.m. to execute our attack. I looked over at Howard, who wore a grim, frightened expression on his face.

“Are we gonna die tomorrow?” I asked nervously.

He looked over at me cautiously. I realized in that moment that I didn’t want the truth from that question. What I wanted was for him to reassure me that everything was going to be all right, and that nobody was gonna die here, least of all the two of us.

“I don’t know,” he said.
This was an excerpt from Rob Smith’s book Closets, Combat and Coming Out. 
ROB SMITH is a gay Iraq war veteran, journalist, lecturer, and LGBT activist. He served for five years in the U.S. Army as an infantryman, earning the Army Commendation Medal and Combat Infantry Badge. His memoir Closets, Combat and Coming Out (Blue Beacon Books) is available on and wherever LGBT books are sold. For more information on Smith, visit, or follow him on Twitter @RobSmithOnline.

New Music: Hopium ‘Cut’

Cut is the first single from Melbourne’s Hopium, an anonymous duo and the latest act to emerge from Outpost Management, the team responsible for Kimbra and Bertie Blackman. The stunning film clip and artwork was designed by Ribal and Gil from Melbourne’s Superteam Studio‘s best-known for their work in the field of fashion. 

Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan & David Walliams ‘Sport Relief’

Kylie Minogue has sung her broken heart out for one of her funniest performances ever.

The Australian pop star appeared on the Sports Relief benefit show in the UK on Friday night. Sport Relief is a biennial charity event from Comic Relief, in association with BBC Sport, which brings together the worlds of sport and entertainment to raise money to help vulnerable people in both the UK and the world’s poorest countries.

Kylie Minogue performed her classic hit ‘Especially For You’, initially with David Walliams of Little Britain fame and then with an appearance from her original co-singer Jason Donovan.

Walliams, done up like 80s Donovan, sang the song with a backdrop of photoshopped pics of him and Kylie from the 80s, replacing the original Jason and Kylie Neighbours images.

Then Jason Donovan walks on … and past Kylie, to complete the song with Walliams.

Nun Rocks ‘The Voice’ Italy!

A nun named Sister Cristina Scuccia has become a viral star with an astounding performance on the Italian version of “The Voice.”

The 25-year-old, performing in her habit, shocked the audience with a powerful rendition of Alicia Keys’ “No One” that got all four coaches to spin their chairs and brought the crowd to its feet for a standing ovation.

All of the panelists looked stunned when they saw who had been singing. Asked if she is really a run, the contestant replied, “Yes, I am truly, truly a sister.”

“I came here because I have a gift and I want to share that gift. I am here to evangelize,” explained Scuccia. For all of you Italian “The Voice” fans, she picked J-Ax as her coach after the rapper was the first to hit the button and turn around.