Lionel Richie

South by Southwest Aftershots

Lionel Richie

ACL Live at Moody Theater, March 14

Aside from Thriller, no album was harder to escape in the mid-Eighties than Lionel Richie's Can't Slow Down. It was no surprise then to see most everyone mouthing the words to Richie's cavalcade of hits Wednesday night. The singer, 62, noted that the concert was a warm-up for his world tour in support of duets album Tuskegee. That was readily apparent in the form of not-quite-cohesive arrangements and sound problems, but Richie's easygoing Alabama charm kept things on track. This was a Las Vegas-style performance, with songs like "Easy" and "My Love" truncated into medley form. Richie delivered "Oh No" and "Still" alone at the piano, but both were cut to just one verse and a chorus. For some reason, "Dancing on the Ceiling" got the showpiece treatment, complete with a left-field interpolation of Van Halen's "Jump." Onetime Houstonian Kenny Rogers materialized for an off-the-cuff duet of Richie's "Lady"; and if the resulting "Kenny, Kenny!" chant was any indication, the roasted chicken magnate is due for a comeback. An end run of the Commodores' "Fancy Dancer" and "Brick House" gave way to a sizzling snippet of the Ohio Players' "Fire" then came "Hello" and the natural finisher "All Night Long." It was only 1:46am, but no one went home unhappy.

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