Review: Lionel Richie brings All The Hits to Birmingham

Lionel Richie

Barclaycard Arena
Birmingham
All The Hits Tour
07/07/2016

lionel.jpg

★★★★★

A year on from that epic Glastonbury set, Lionel brings the party and all his hits to a sold out show in Birming-HAM!

Last year something amazing happened, 200,000 people gathered around a stage in a very muddy field in Glastonbury and sang their hearts out to Lionel Richie, fully embracing the cheesiness and realising just how many much loved classic hits he has actually made. On the back of this performance has come a completely sold out Greatest Hits tour as thousands of people who were either stuck watching that set on the TV or hardcore fans without a Glasto ticket have packed out the Barclaycard Arena in Birming-HAM! (as Lionel calls it) for the final date of the UK tour.

For an unexplained reason the show, unfortunately, started 35 mins late, this didn’t dampen the spirits of the very enthusiastic crowd, which ranged from young children all the way to grandparents, a fact which Lionel joyously picked up on, it’s clear on his face and in his voice just how much it means to him that his music has transferred through generations of fans. this led to an amusing medley early on where he ‘educated’ the young ones with Commodores songs such as ‘Still’, ‘Oh No’ and his own ‘Stuck On You’ intertwined with the stories of young heartbroken fans running home to play Lionel himself on their Record Players back in the day.

Lionel is full of charm as he interacts with various audience members, delighted at one gentleman’s dancing which is frequently showed on the massive screens, the man’s dance moves could only be matched by Lionel himself who didn’t stand still for a single moment, on stage you would think you were watching Coldplay’s, Chris Martin.

The show is named “All The Hits” and that is certainly what you received, ‘Running With the Night’ had everyone on their feet from the very beginning and was swiftly followed by ‘Penny Lover’. Lionel joked that “you should get to know all the people around you very well because you’ll be hearing them not me” He was definitely right about that as the crowd happily sang along to nearly every song, noticeably ‘Stuck On You’, ‘Three Times A Lady’ and ‘Endless Love’ where the crowd was encouraged to sing Diana Ross’s feature.

At points you thought you were at a full-on rock show, Lionel was flanked by two electric guitarists, a drummer, a harmonica player and even a saxophonist who were unleashed on classics such as ‘Easy’ (Yes, that solo is a epic as ever) and ‘Brick House’, the band impressed throughout the night effortlessly working alongside Lionel’s still stellar vocals which are yet to fade.

It all led to a very strong final 5 songs, starting with ‘Say You, Say Me’ the whole arena lit up by mobile phone torch lights as Lionel conducted a mass singalong, this led into an emphatic Dancing On The Ceiling with once again everyone on the feet, dancing their hearts away. The pace slowed down for his classic ballad “Hello” however it was easily the loudest the crowd has been all night, as I’m sure you could have heard the greeting from down the street! Lionel departed the stage but not after a moving performance of We Are The World which in recent times feels like more people in the world should be embracing it’s meaning, lyrics flashed across the screen for everyone to pitch in alongside pictures of the late Michael Jackson who co-wrote the song with him.

“If you want to stay All Night Long, then we should party All Night Long” beams Lionel as he launches into his last hit, still after a 90-minute show, Lionel and the crowd were once again full of energy as the whole arena shook for a final time. It was hard to see who left the show with a bigger grin on their face; Lionel or the audience.

 

SETLIST:

  1. Running With the Night
  2. Penny Lover
  3. Easy (Commodores song)
  4. Ballerina Girl
  5. You Are
  6. Still (Commodores song)
  7. Oh No (Commodores song)
  8. Stuck on You
  9. Brick House / Fire (Commodores song)
  10. Three Times a Lady (Commodores song)
  11. Sail On (Commodores song)
  12. Lady (You Bring Me Up) (Commodores song)
  13. Endless Love
  14. Angel
  15. My Destiny
  16. Say You, Say Me
  17. Dancing on the Ceiling (with Van Halen's Jump)
  18. Hello
  19. We Are The World 
  20. All Night Long (All Night)