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Diva Cher shows fans she's still strong enough

SHE promised a 'fishnets and sleaze' concert and pop veteran Cher didn't disappoint at her sellout concert in Dublin's Point Depot on Saturday night.

After more than four decades in the limelight, the 57-year-old diva has decided to hang up her sequined bodysuits and extensive wig collection at the end of this, the European leg of her Farewell Tour 2003 that has already seen her play to more than one and a half million fans across the US.

But she insisted on going out with a bang and made a suitably spectacular entrance- descending from the rafters on a giant crystal chandelier while singing U2's 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For'.

Despite having once memorably quipped that "after the nuclear holocaust there'll be cockroaches and Cher", she admitted that it was time for her to bow out gracefully from the touring scene. "If I came back in three years' time I'd be coming on stage on one of those old people's scooters, boobs down to my kneecaps, toothless - not in a blue rinse - singing 'I've Got You Babe' . . . I've been doing this for 41 years, give me a freaking break," she joked.

And while Cher admitted that thinking about the new breed of young female singers, such as Britney Spears and Jennifer Lopez, before she began the tour had made her "a little bit nervous", she knows she can still out-perform those half her age.

"At least I sing live," she said with a wicked grin, in a clear reference to the rumours that Britney is miming on her current tour. "I've one thing to say to those girls coming up - follow this you bitches," she added before cracking a whip and launching into a collection of her greatest solo hits taken from the '60s, '70s, '80s and '90s. She did a run-down of all her classic numbers including 'Walking in Memphis', 'After All', 'Bang-Bang', 'All or Nothing' and 'Strong Enough' before finishing off with her most recent number one 'Believe'.

The high-octane show - involving acrobats, dancers and even a mechanical elephant - was interspersed with clips from Cher's acting career, most notably her 1987 Oscar-winning performance in 'Moonstruck'. She also managed 12 costume changes during the two-hour set.

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