Cher kicked off her first farewell tour in 2002. A dozen years later, the "Goddess of Pop" is still on the road.

So, forgive folks if they are taking Cher's current goodbye trek with a grain -- if not a mountain -- of salt.

Yet that well-deserved skepticism didn't stop locals from buying tickets to see the multimedia icon in concert on Wednesday. A capacity crowd of some 12,500 fans turned out to the SAP Center in San Jose for what definitely, maybe, could be Cher's last stand in the Bay Area.

Or not.

It's so hard to tell when it comes to Cher, who seems to take great delight in sending mixed messages.

Cher on stage during her D2K tour concert at  SAP Center in San Jose on July 2, 2014. (Josie Lepe/Bay Area News Group)
Cher on stage during her D2K tour concert at SAP Center in San Jose on July 2, 2014. (Josie Lepe/Bay Area News Group)

"I promise this is my final, final, final farewell," the 68-year-old vocalist said in San Jose. "I'm not kidding this time -- you can check with AARP." Of course, she added a few winks to that statement, before turning around and walking away with her fingers crossed behind her back.

Not that it matters. If Cher wants to keep performing, fans will likely welcome her with open arms and wallets -- especially if they happened to catch her show in San Jose.

Cher was as entertaining as ever during the two-hour-plus set, dazzling fans with her signature, sassy mix of pop tunes, personality and big production numbers. The show was pure eye candy from start to finish, as the star -- who now prefers the label "icon" over "diva" -- injected a lot of Vegas into every song.

The trek definitely lived up to its Dressed to Kill Tour title, as Cher seemed bent on setting a world record for wardrobe changes. She donned a new outfit -- all of which were striking, if not outrageous -- for nearly every song. Even after all these years, nobody plays dress up better than Cher.

The show began with "Woman's World" from the artist's 25th studio effort, "Closer to the Truth," as the curtain dropped and Cher was lowered to the stage atop a tall pillar. Wearing an exotic headdress, with long feathers drifting out from its sides, the singer quickly took ownership of the night and commanded the crowd's attention. It was a strong opening segment, yet one that illustrated why this road show has grown so taxing for its star.

"I risk my life every night for you (atop the pillar)," she said, adding with her patented sarcastic charm: "But what's my life compared to your happiness?"

Cher's between-song, often self-deprecating, banter was as good as, if not better, than her actual songs.

"I think that John Quincy Adams was president when I started drinking Dr Pepper," she said with that million-dollar smile. And she also didn't miss the opportunity to zing the younger generation of dance-pop divas.

"I can still get into my 'If I Could Turn Back Time' outfit," she smirked. "Take that Katy Perry."

The singer would indeed 'Turn Back Time" and celebrate her roots in Sonny & Cher. She sang virtual duets of "The Beat Goes On" and "I Got You Babe" with her former husband Sonny Bono, using archival footage of Bono -- who died in 1998 -- on the big overhead screens. There was also a Sonny & Cher highlight reel shown, which featured several touching clips from the duo's famed TV variety show.

The multitalented performer, who has also achieved much success in movies, closed the main set with a powerful double shot of the hits "I Found Someone" and "If I Could Turn Back Time."

Cher then returned for a high-flying encore -- quite literally. She boarded a small platform, which was hoisted by cables far above the heads of fans. She sailed about the arena, looking every bit the "Goddess of Pop," as she sang a stirring version of 'I Hope You Find It."

It left the crowd screaming for more, and hoping that Cher didn't really mean it when she said goodbye.

Follow Jim Harrington at http://twitter.com/jimthecritic and www.facebook.com/jim.bayareanews.