Long before Madonna, P!nk and Beyoncé, there was the legendary pop diva, Cher. Her 50+ year career as a singer, performer and actor has earned her legions of loyal fans, including Brent Hintz, controller, subsidiary accounting.
“I first saw Cher in concert in 1976 in South Bend, IN, when I was a freshman in high school,” Brent recalled. “My neighbor worked the ticket office at the venue, which was the University of Notre Dame, and got me and my brother tickets to see Sonny and Cher.”
Brent enjoyed the concert, but he didn’t develop a true appreciation for the music icon until more than 20 years later when he started dating Jeff Sherman, the man he would later marry. “Jeff has a borderline obsession with Cher,” Brent joked.
“I met Jeff in 1998, about the time Cher’s ‘Believe’ song came out,” Brent said. “I remember being at his house and watching the music video on his big screen TV. It was a big, big thing.” The couple bought tickets to Cher’s 1999 “Believe” tour, which stopped at Sandstone Amphitheater (now Providence Medical Center Amphitheater), in Kansas City, KS.
Brent’s interest in Cher goes beyond her music, movies and out-of-this world live concert performances.
“One of the big things for me is that she’s always been true to herself,” he said. “She’s strong in her convictions, and she supports so many philanthropic programs such as health research, veteran and children’s rights, and anti-poverty programs. Plus, she supports the LBGTQ community, and that was important to me at a critical point in my life. And, the fact that she’s 73 and still out there dancing, singing and performing is amazing, too.”
Brent’s Cher Favorites
Favorite song: “Turn Back Time”
Favorite movie: “Moonstruck”
Favorite tour: “Dressed to Kill”
Favorite concert number: “Take It Like a Man”
Oh, So Close
Brent and Jeff have attended at least 12 Cher concerts over the past 20 years. “We always get seats within first 10 rows, if not the front row,” Brent said. They’ve come close to meeting Cher several times.
There was the time they came within 10 feet of the star. Jeff knew Cher typically stayed at the Alameda Plaza Hotel (now the InterContinental) when she was in town. So, they hung out in the hotel bar one night and waited.
“All of a sudden, we see several big luggage carts full of all-black suitcases roll off the elevator,” Brent said. “Then, Cher got off the elevator and headed toward the front entrance. She was wearing a black cowboy hat, black jeans and a black leather jacket. We followed her outside and saw her just stepping onto the tour bus. Jeff asked her security if she would sign an autograph, and the guy said, ‘No. I don’t think so.’ We were 10 feet from her.”
Another time, Brent and Jeff took Brent’s oldest daughter, Amanda Hintz (now Below), and Jeff’s niece, Megan Carter, to Cher’s “Living Proof: The Farewell Tour” concert. “Megan was 8 at the time, and the girls made a poster that said, ‘I Believe in Cher,’ with a big eyeball with the hopes that Cher would see it from the stage.”
It worked. As Cher started singing her hit song, “Believe,” Brent and Jeff, who had separate seats from the girls, saw someone carrying Megan on their shoulders down the center aisle toward the stage. Megan was holding the poster high above her head. “They went right up to the stage, and Cher bent down and took the poster,” Brent remembered.
The next close encounter happened a few months later at a Cher concert in Topeka, KS. Megan brought pictures of the group holding the poster from the KC concert, a picture of Cher holding the poster on stage, and a letter she’d written to Cher that included her name and phone number.
While waiting for the concert to start, Jeff recognized Cher’s head of security, Ebar, and introduced himself. He mentioned the poster from the KC concert, which the bodyguard remembered. Jeff asked if Cher would autograph the photo.
“When Ebar returned, he had a bag full of autographed T-shirts and stuffed animals, along with the photo. We were so excited!” Not long after, Megan received an autographed concert program, with Cher’s return address. Megan sent a thank you note and a few more letters over the coming months, but didn’t hear from Cher again.
About two years later, Cher was headed back into town at the same time Megan’s school was hosting a Parent’s Day lunch. Megan wrote to Cher and invited her to come. Cher’s assistant called Megan’s mother and declined the invitation. However, on the day of the lunch, the school received boxes of Cher-themed cookies. The assistant also invited Megan backstage at the upcoming concert.
“Unfortunately, when we got to the concert, security told us Cher couldn’t bring anyone backstage,” Brent said. “We were disappointed, but at the same time thrilled we had come so close once again to meeting her.”
Then, there was the time Brent, Jeff, and Jeff’s nieces Megan and Carlie, wore handcrafted sailor caps to a concert. Cher picked Jeff’s hat out of the crowd to wear on stage.
“Cher fans bring sailor caps to the concert, and when she sings ‘If I Could Turn Back Time,’ everyone tosses their sailor caps on stage with the hope Cher will pick it up and wear it while she sings,” Brent explained. “Instead of throwing his cap, Jeff held his up. Cher walked over to him, took it out of his hands and put it on. She sang with it for a while, and at the end of the song, she handed it back to him.”
Cher’s “Here We Go Again” tour heads to the Midwest this spring. Brent and Jeff have tickets to the shows in KC and Little Rock, AR. They’re hoping that at one – or both – of those concerts they’ll finally get to meet their favorite performer.
If they don’t, that’s OK with Brent. “Even if we never meet Cher in person, we are happy to have these great stories and all the memories of the great concerts we’ve attended over the years,” Brent said.