Concert Review: Lionel Richie & Mariah Carey

(Unedited) Seeing Ms. Lauryn Hill/NAS/Chronixx in concert Thursday night reminded me that I hadn’t posted about Lionel Richie. I’ve been holding that one near and dear. Typing his name makes me smile because he put on a great show, even my summer concert buddy, my mama, loved his show.

Lionel is still very comfortable on stage and it’s apparent how long he’s been doing this. His execution was effortless. Since Richie’s concert at the United Center I’ve found myself busting out singing “Penny Lover,” “Just to be Close to You” and “You are the Sun, You are the Rain,” lol lol lol those songs were my jams when I was little. I think I was too young to even like these song, but they were definitely hairbrush as mic, dramatically singing in the mirror, kinda songs!

I’d been looking forward to seeing Lionel Richie cos I love me some Commodores, and with the exception of, Dancing on the Ceiling, I like his solo stuff. Though I didn’t like that song, I knew all the words and sang all of them at the concert.

* Saturday. August 26, 2017. MiMi & Li-o-nel at the United Center. *

So, let’s start with Mariah Carey. Her entire set I kept looking around at the white folk, mostly millennial women, and being amused because I felt like I was at a Britney Spears concert, these women were loving MiMi. Her set was “tired” though. Poor word choice, but I just can’t with Ms. Carey, and it doesn’t help that I’d watched that cable special she did over the summer following her European Tour. Overall, for her set: 1) It seemed like she was lip-syncing songs 2) It was an awkward and lackluster performance.

• Tanaka, her dancer turned lover, was her “handle.” He didn’t dance,
he just escorted her on and off stage, carrying her a couple times. Uhm yeah…
• Da Brat was her special guest for “We Belong Together.”
• Who knew Trey Larenz was still singing back-up for Mariah….? I didn’t.
• Who knew that Big Jim, her music director, was from Rockford, IL? I didn’t know that either.
• Pretty much, Carey’s band outshined her.
• She did 3 outfit changes. Cos why? I do not know.
• Highlight: The twins are adorbs, Roe and Rocky.

As for Mr. Lionel Richie, he put on a show! Lights. Camera. Action.

The opening light show was direct, clean and attention grabbing — it wasn’t too much, it was just the right amount of drama. He opened with “Easy” and came with hit after hit after hit. I love concerts where the artist has so many great songs in their catalog that I can sing along with all of them. So so so, feel good.

Nothing like seeing a singer, songwriter and musician do their thing. Lionel gives me all the feels because his music, like several others I’ve seen this summer, takes me back to childhood, a happy place.

Here’s the thing though, Lionel’s band is stuck in the 80’s, especially the white guitarist with the 80s rock band thing going on — I friggin’ love it. And if you remember those Lionel Richie videos back in the day, with predominately white dancers and musicians, you know exactly what I’m talmbout. *yell laughs* It wasn’t like he didn’t have brothas in the band as well, but the 80s guitarist with his long rockstar-hair, kept catching my attention and tickling me. Also, Mr. Richie didn’t have 20 y/o dancers flitting around stage. I am thankful for that because I think it’s unnecessary and inauthentic for older singers to have young half-naked women prancing around on stage.

I also enjoyed his commentary. He shared that he’d gone to high school in Joilet, IL. Who knew?

Lionel was also very personable, connecting with the audience and teasing more “seasoned” and elder concertgoers about how they were flashing back to their heydays as they listened to these songs and cut a rug.

His set-list included:
• Easy
• Running in the Night
• Penny Lover
• Truly
• You Are the Sun, You are the Rain
• Stuck on You
• Dancing on the Ceiling
• Three Times A Lady
• Sail On
• Sweet Love
• Lady
• Just to be Close to you
• Brick House
• Fire
• Hello
• Say You, Say Me
• We Are the World

Like I said, this was a feel good show. Definitely would see him again in concert!


nicole jhan’rea



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