Lionel Richie performing his All The Hits, All Night Long Tour at the Capital FM Arena Nottingham on Tuesday 17th March 2015

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

I first saw Lionel Richie in 1979 at The Bingley Hall, Stafford, when he was sporting a large afro and fronting the hugely successful Commodores. Since then there have been many outings including his 1987 Outrageous Tour when he literally danced on the ceiling. Now it was the turn of The Capital FM Arena to be given the Lionel Richie treatment as he brought his All The Hits, All Night Long Tour to Nottingham.

From the moment he stepped onto the stage, arms aloft, to the words, ‘Hello, is it me your looking for?’, it was clear that the years have been kind to the now 65 year old singer; one of the biggest selling artists of all time, with over 100 million units sold. Now with the afro long gone, and the dance moves not quite as slick, Lionel Richie bounced onto the stage to his upbeat noughties track, All Around The World, and the place simply erupted. The soul man had arrived.

With a catalogue of so many songs to choose from, Richie remained faithful to his big hits. There were the chocolate box ballads; Ballerina Girl, Say You Say Me and Easy. A mini set of Commodores numbers was included; Still, Lady, Sail On, and Three Times A Lady, which Richie explained, was inspired by his father who had made a speech about how much he loved his wife, whilst Brick House had Richie patrolling the stage and conducting the crowd like a true professional.

He expertly changed the tempo time and time again. For an Arena bedecked with seats, there was barely anyone seated as Penny Lover, Don’t Stop The Music and My Destiny were given an airing. The audience enthusiastically filled in for Diana Ross during Endless Love, and by the time he started singing Dancing On The Ceiling, the Arena had been turned into one big disco.

Returning to his piano for a classic rendition of Hello, there was a mass sing along with the lights of a thousand mobile phones shinning towards the stage which was a real delight to see.

Mention should be made of his magnificent 5 piece band, who despite not looking old enough to have been around in the 80’s did a great job of keeping up with this veteran.   They were clearly enjoying themselves, and even though this was the last night of their UK tour, there was no sign of complacency.

Whilst the silkiness of Richie’s voice has been replaced by something more mature, his boundless energy was there for everyone to see. During his entire performance his light hearted banter endeared this American star to a warm Nottingham crowd. He was on top form and extremely likeable; refreshing really for a man who has been at the top for decades.

Fittingly, All Night Long (All Night) brought the set to a close and left the audience on a high. The encore of We Are The World, a song he co-wrote with Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson ended this party, perhaps with a whimper rather than a bang, but the crowd loved it just the same.

Richie is a true musical legend. He didn’t actually dance from the ceiling tonight but he can be excused for that. Being offered the Sunday heritage slot at this year’s Glastonbury will cause problems next year, because on this showing, you wouldn’t want to be the one to follow him.