Lionel Richie at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, 10/12/2013
With a career that has spanned more than four decades, Lionel Richie has been helping us dance, cry, and love better than the sum of all of our current pop stars combined. The talented singer/songwriter/pianist need only deliver the first few words of each song and his fans will automatically fill in the blanks.
At age 64, the man from Tuskegee, Alabama still shakes, rattles, and rolls with the vigor of a much younger superstar. Mr. Richie hit The Woodlands fresh off his headlining performance on Weekend 1 of the 2013 ACL Music Festival, where I wrote the following:
The former Commodore began his set with "Just For You," off of his tenth studio album, last year's Tuskegee. Sadly, his amigo Billy Currington wasn't available to join his for the duet, but Richie looked youthful and wide-eyed as he smiled wide for his fans.
With a myriad of blue lights, Richie started his set with the same EDM-inspired intro and first track as he did at Zilker Park. The set list proved to be identical to the one in Austin, only with different asides, stories, and commentaries specific to his Houston audience.
"I knew I was gonna have a great time here in Houston, Texas!" proclaimed Richie. "The driver at the airport called me 'Mr. Line-el Richards!' in the most awesome Texan accent." The crowd was impressed at his comedic talents, as Richie played the role of outlandish gospel preacher throughout the night, with hands in the air and amens all around.
After singing "Penny Lover," he jumped on the piano for the beautiful "Easy (Like Sunday Morning)." Hearing more than 7,000 people sing that song was both inspirational and memorable, especially with the island-jam, reggae-beat remix attached to the outro.
He teased the crowd with the possibility of a Diana Ross appearance, and instead prompted the crowd to sing "Endless Love" with him. An impressive giant video screen added a modern touch to the classic songs, perfectly complementing each track with vibrant colors and moving images.
"There are two types of people here with us tonight" said Richie. "There are those who have been with me from the very beginning, and those whose mommy and daddy played my songs all night long!"