Lionel Richie, CHIC Featuring Nile Rodgers, Leo Sayer @ Botanic Park, Adelaide 7/4/2018

Adelaide has been spoilt for choice with all the live entertainment in Mad March now rolling in to Amazing April with the many Bluesfest side shows hitting town this week. Botanic Park is a stunning venue aided by perfect weather and the theme of dancing, having a good time and meeting new people was just the tonic to keep this party going All Night Long. It doesn’t get any bigger than three of the biggest international recording artists going around than with Lionel Richie, Chic Featuring Nile Rodgers and Leo Sayer playing one hell of a party.

Leo Sayer was quite the showman kicking things off really well sounding so great in the lengthy line trying to get in to the venue. Once inside it was quite easy to see that Leo Sayer still has it and it is quite staggering looking at his set list to see how many hits were crammed in to the fifty-minute or so set. Sayer’s trademark crazy hair and his red floral jacket were great as he took music lovers through the hits including the likes of One Man Band, Moonlighting and getting everyone up and out of their chairs for You Make Me Feel Like Dancing which brings back many memories of his guest appearances on The Wiggles. Good times! Dancing The Night Away and More Than I Can Say were highlights also.

CHIC featuring Nile Rodgers were fantastic and there is no doubt that was a major coup landing a support act of this ilk to support Lionel Richie when arguably they could be headlining their own show (which they did albeit a little bit smaller at Jive the night before). Nile Rodgers is not only a super talented singer, guitarist, writer and producer but has quite the resume when it comes to writing and producing some of the biggest hits that have climbed the charts. CHIC really did lifted the mood and energy of the crowd. Rodgers came out a few minutes early to say hello to the crowd saying that there set was jammed packed but it was about dancing, having a good time and meeting new friends.

What an ensemble featuring singers Kimberly Davis and Folami Ankoanda backed by a six piece including Rodgers! The sound was perfect and over the next hour being treated to the likes of Everybody Dance and keeping that theme going with Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah). Not being much of a dancer myself and sporting a pair of concrete shoes I was shuffling along like a grandpa to these awesome tunes. Rodgers says that he has the best day job in the world writing and producing singles for the likes of David Bowie, Diana Ross, INXS, Lady Gaga and more recently Daft Punk which served as an intro to the treasure trove melody of hits which were mashed up together including I’m Coming Out, Upside Down, He’s The Greatest Dancer and We Are Family. Bliss!

The hits kept coming with Madonna’s Like A Virgin followed by a brief moment of reflection with Rodgers acknowledging his battles with cancer and being a two-time survivor asking people to light up their phones as “stars of the night”. What followed was described by Rodgers as something quite “prophetic” and turned Botanic Park in to a massive dance floor with Daft Punk’s Get Lucky which shows that he’s still lending a hand on some of the biggest hits of today. At this point this party really did rise to a whole new level starting with the “Adel-ladies” up on stage for a dance and reminisce of a Studio 54 dance party with drummer Ralph Rolle revving the crowd up for Bowie’s Let’s Dance! They weren’t done there either with the massive finale including Le Freak and Good Times. The atmosphere was really buzzing and that feel good vibe was really something seeing so many happy people around the place.

Lionel Richie needs no introduction and the crowd were well and truly warmed up and ready for more. Wow! Lionel was nothing short of brilliant bringing his cavalcade of hits from his own solo career and with The Commodores combined with an amazing production of lights and special effects. A lot of people did mention and have been commenting on the sound mix of the first couple of songs which wasn’t the greatest which did impact on the subdued opener in Easy. Things really picked up with Running With The Night and Penny Lover with Richie commenting on the prefect weather and that he was “sweating to death” up there. Truly and You Are were stunners prompting the humorous response from Richie talking about the challenges of remembering the second verses to songs and distractions from fans including a man who said at the meet and greet that he made love to Richie many times, Richie later responded saying he couldn’t make love to him but could sing Stuck On You.

 Brickhouse which morphed in to Fire was brilliant and as Richie said he hadn’t seen dancing like that since 1976 which was out of control “I saw it with my own eyes”. Three Times A Lady as Richie outlined would do one of three things, get engaged, get married or get you in to a whole heap of trouble. More hits with Sail On, Fancy Dancer/ Lady (You Bring Me Up) and Endless Love to which Richie has asked Diana Ross to join him for thirty one years but alas no, she didn’t make it! The end of the “dignified portion” of the show included monster hits included Say You Say Me and Hello. Dancing On The Ceiling was amazing with some dancing as Richie explains can’t be identified. The main set finished with a dedication to his music fraternity who have passed to soon with a song he penned with Michael Jackson called We Are The World. The encore was epic and with one last chance to party it seemed fitting to close with All Night Long. Brilliant show, quite amazing indeed.

Live Review by Rob Lyon

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