A week ago my mom and I were at Red Rocks being serenaded by Lionel Richie. When I received the schedule for the Red Rocks concert line-up and saw him on the list, I knew we had to go. Throughout almost all of my life, his mellow voice has sung softly in the background, sometimes too soft for me to notice, but always there in my subconscious. Frequently I’d find myself humming a song and asking my Dad (always the expert in these matters) “Who does that song that goes…? Almost invariably the answer was “Lionel Richie”. As I grew older, I came to expect that if I really liked a song and it was a man singing, 9 times out of 10 it was Lionel Richie. I still hadn’t gotten to the point that I recognized all his songs by heart, but my heart knew them nonetheless. The final breaking point came last August when my mom and I were visiting a store in Cincinnati. A song came on the radio and yep.. you guessed it… “Who does this amazing song??” I asked SoundHound on my ipad and the answer came back… Lionel Richie. That settled it. I told my mom I’d like my first Lionel Richie album for Christmas. And then this spring; “Oh by the way Mom, we’re going to see him in concert.”
He did an amazing concert and I took a ton of photos. He sang all my favorite songs and it was a joy to see him in person. He told us at the beginning that our concert was special for two reasons. The first was that he was able to share it with us and enjoy the music together (isn’t that sweet?) and the second was that they were filming this concert for national television as part of a July 4th show. He said he would tell us “Happy Fourth of July” at random times during the show and it was our job to respond as if it were July 4th and not as if he was crazy. Later in the show, it was also our job to be Diana Ross and sing Endless Love as a duet. So now I can say that I’ve sung with Lionel Richie in concert! He actually had us sing with him for several songs.
He did a nice mix of his standards from the Commodores and from his solo career. When he told us we’d be going back in time to when he had a huge afro and “yow” was the only word he could sing, I laughed so hard I nearly dropped the camera. And over 5,000 people collectively melted when he sang “Once, Twice, Three Times a Lady” and told us that he wrote the song based on a toast that his father gave his mother at their anniversary party.
He thanked us for allowing him to be part of our lives and families and for loving his music and making it special. He was so gracious and kind – just a delight to listen to all night long. I heard some new favorites. And next time I hear a song I like on the radio, I’m not even going to ask “who does this song?” because I’m sure it will be Lionel Richie’s voice…. especially if there’s a “yow” in it somewhere.
Blessings to you,