Lionel Richie Brings the Party to Saratoga Performing Arts Center

As one of the final stops on the All The Hits, All Night Long Tour, a tour that spanned the world from North America to Asia, India, and down under, it was certainly an extreme honor to be able to cover Lionel Richie for NYS Music at Saratoga Performing Arts Center on July 25.

lionel richie saratoga
Lionel Richie – Saratoga Performing Arts Center

Lionel Richie truly needs no introduction, but humor me as his career deservedly should be applauded.  Throughout his years as both a member of the Commodores and as a solo artist, Lionel Richie is and has achieved….

  • 100 million albums sold worldwide
  • Oscar winner
  • 5 time Grammy winner
  • 16-time American Music Award winner
  • Golden Globe winner
  • 5 time People’s Choice Award winner
  • A World Music Lifetime Achievement Award recipient
  • A Star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame
  • An ASCAP Lifetime Achievement Award recipient
  • A United Negro College Fund Achievement Award recipient
  • A Goldene Kamera Award winner. Songwriters Hall of Fame Inductee
  • Tuskegee Institute Honorary Doctor of Music Degree
  • Germany’s ECHO Award for Lifetime Achievement
  • TV Land Icon Award recipient
  • Hong Kong’s Rojo Award winner
  • Alabama Music Hall of Fame Inductee
  • Italy’s San Remo Festival Lifetime Achievement Award winner
  • World Music Awards Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
  • National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences Governors Award winner
  • One on only two songwriters to achieve #1 records for 9 straight years.  The other accomplished songwriter?  Irving Berlin

Opening the evening clad in red and hot, hot, hot was CeeLo Green and his amazing band.  Belting out tunes, performing and dancing as hot as their costumes, this group of entertainers sure turned up the heat to prepare the audience for the main event on this summer evening. Not that Lionel needed any warm up, but just the same Ceelo definitely provided an audience geared up to go and ready to dance all night long.

This tour was named appropriately, All the Hits, All Night Long, as Lionel took the stage and commanded the love and admiration of fans that span generations belting out hit after hit and inciting the audience into dancing all night long.  Just saying, ‘He was spectacular’ doesn’t begin to describe what I witnessed on July 25th at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.  He took the stage and from the moment he began interacting with the audience I witnessed a tidal wave of sheer enjoyment from VIP fans in the front rows of the pit to the those seated in the balcony and out on the lawn.  He forewarned the audience that as he performed throughout the evening, memories would flood back to a place you were when you first heard the song; a time you recalled that marked special meanings in your life, and perhaps install the courage of karaoke as each member in the audience became a singer, singing along with each and every song.

It was true.  It happened.  As he belted out his ballads, I was back in high school at the prom dancing to “There Times A Lady” and on the dance floor taking my first dance as a wife to “Truly” and back in my first car with the windows rolled down singing at the top of my lungs to “Brick House” –  as I thought I was the best backup singer ever.  He did transform me back to those moments, the audience did sing along with each and every song, and I must admit, I did too.  What’s amazing is although I aged, he didn’t age a bit.  His voice was pure, his performance agile and tireless, and his ability to connect with his audience spot on.  Perhaps he drank some of that mineral water years ago from the springs in Saratoga, giving him the ability to share his music forever with his fans.  His secret I wish to know, because Lionel is timeless, his music timeless, and his energy tireless.

Also requiring applause is Lionel’s band.  Lionel is such an amazing performer, he could take a microphone out to the middle of a stage and just sing acoustically without any problems and rock the house.  However, with Ben Mauro on lead guitar, Ethan Farmer on Bass, Dino Soldo on Saxophone and Harmonica, Oscar Seaton on Drums, and Chuckii Booker on Keyboards, these five powerhouses turn up the volume on this show and bring the party all night long with Lionel.  Shredding alongside Lionel throughout the night, hanging upside down off the piano, and rocking all over the stage the band truly were the cherry on top of this amazing sundae performance – okay it was Friday, but you know what I mean.

With a few new dates being announced on Lionel’s website, please take a moment to see if and when you have the opportunity to see his next show, I give it an 11 on a scale of one to 10, and 6 out of 5 stars.  That’s allowed, right?  Nonetheless, I think you get my point, if the opportunity presents itself to take in one of his shows, I highly recommend it.  Tell them NYS Music sent you.

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