Lionel Richie launched the show with the latter-day “All Around the World,” but then dismissed any critics by playing a full set of hits from the ‘80s and earlier. He began with a rendition of “Penny Lover” that was sweetened with the sound of a Stevie Wonder-like harmonica. A triumphant slaying of “Easy” started off as a spotlight piano, but then blossomed into the full band — signature guitar solo in tow. He seasoned the mix with Caribbean steel drum, sexy sax man interludes, and a mash-up with “My Love” that, while possibly accidental, the master balladeer integrated and recovered seamlessly. Easy, indeed!
A sonic triptych followed of “Still,” “Oh No,” and “Stuck On You.” Richie detailed this as the evolution of a relationship: from the regret of a breakup, to the realization of being disenfranchised, to finding “the one.” Moreover, how Richie records (“...or CDs, or 8-Tracks,” he cracked) ushered us through both the good and bad times. A concourse of Commodores (“Three Times a Lady,” “Sail On,” “Fancy Dancer,” “Sweet Love,” “Lady,” “Just to Be Close to You,” “Brick House”) then ensued to everyone’s delight. He dedicated “Hello” to VIP section newlyweds, ended naturally with “All Night Long,” and posed a joyful sing-along encore of “We Are the World” that traded his usual romantic love game for a tone of higher diplomatic unity.
- Concert: Lionel Richie
- Date: June 7
- Venue: Sleep Train Amphitheatre
- Seats: Section 101