Contact Us

‘Lionel Richie and Friends in Concert’ Celebrates a Music Legend and His Timeless Songs

The crowd that came to witness ‘Lionel Richie and Friends in Concert’ at the MGM Grand Arena taping Monday night (April 2) in Las Vegas were ready to be taken back in time, and they were not disappointed. From the moment Lionel stepped on stage to the final notes of the evening, it really was a night to remember. The audience greeted the pop — and country — superstar with a standing ovation when he walked out to sing the first song of the evening, ‘All Night Long.’ And they were ready to stay … well, all night long.

The stage was decked out with a huge spaceship hovering over it, with white, yellow and orange running lights. The room was packed with fans to add excitement to the Academy of Country Music’s tribute to Lionel, which will air April 13 on CBS.

Tim McGraw came out to declare, “Now that’s the way to start off an evening!” He then announced that Lionel’s country-star-packed album, ‘Tuskegee,’ has debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard country charts.

While waiting for the crew to get ready for the next song, Tim joked he might have to break into some Commodores moves. He told Lionel not to get too comfortable, however, because, “There are a bunch of people who want to sing with you.”

Martina McBride talked to the audience about the song she chose to sing, ‘Still.’ “The first time I heard this song I thought it was so beautiful, and I went out and bought the album so I could listen to it whenever I wanted to. It is the perfect blend of lyrics and music.”

Luke Bryan came out to a heavy round of applause. He told Lionel, “I’m not even looking at that teleprompter, because your music has inspired my life.” He then went on to say, “Nothing is more rewarding to an artist in this business than to meet your hero, and he’s everything you thought he would be.” Luke then performed ‘Running With the Night.’

Lady Antebellum had folks standing up before the music even started. Hillary Scott noted that country and R&B are closely related before the trio broke into Lionel’s first hit as a solo artist, ‘Truly,’ receiving a standing ovation for their performance.

The Band Perry shared a fun story about Lionel’s tune, ‘Penny Lover.’ “There’s a little trick songwriters use when composing a tune — we’ll use dummy lyrics. Lionel told us when he wrote this song, he thought the lyrics were dummy lyrics until a deejay urged him to stick with the original lyrics!”

Jason Aldean informed the crowd, “When I was asked to participate in this, there was one song I knew I had to sing. It was in the movie ‘White Knights.’ I have to say I was nervous to meet Lionel but,” and here he turned to Lionel and told him, “you were very gracious and kind. I’d like to dedicate this song to my new friend, Mr. Lionel Richie.” Jason went immediately into ‘Say You, Say Me,’ to which he applied his own special touch.

Ethan Miller, Getty Images

Lionel was called back to the stage and immediately told the audience, “It’s about to get real, folks.” He started singing ‘Sail On,’ and was joined by Tim McGraw, to the delight of the crowd.

Throughout the show, there were brief shots of the artists in the audience, every one of them singing along to the familiar songs.

Lionel went into ‘My Love’ with no introduction and was soon joined onstage by Kenny Chesney, who brought the crowd to their feet yet again. When Lionel began singing ‘Hello,’ a distinctive female voice could be heard from the wings, the audience cheering as they recognized Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland.

Rascal Flatts and Lionel soon had the audience ‘Dancing on the Ceiling.’ ‘Stuck on You’ was Lionel’s next choice, with Darius Rucker taking his place on stage to sing with him. Kenny Rogers came out to a standing ovation and thunderous applause. “Lionel, I’m so proud of you,” Kenny said of his friend. “His gift is that he makes music out of conversation.”

Fittingly, the two men had first met in Las Vegas many years ago. Kenny proceeded to tell the audience how he came to record ‘Lady.’ “I called Lionel and asked if he would write a song for me. He said he didn’t have time. I told him it was going on a greatest hits package that would probably sell four or five million. He asked if 7 o’clock was OK to come over!”

Kenny said Lionel had a rather unique approach to pitching a song. “He came in and said, ‘I have to tell you, the Commodores turned this one down.’ He started playing on this little dinky piano in the room and sang ‘Lady.’ That was all he had … one word. I couldn’t imagine why the Commodores turned him down!”

Six months later, Kenny was in the studio to record ‘Lady’ and there was only one verse on the page. “I’m looking around going, ‘Where is Lionel?’ He’s in the toilet writing the second verse. He works better under pressure!”

Kenny continued, “I have to say this was a life-changing song for me.” He then invited Lionel to come up and sing ‘Lady’ with him.

Sara Evans and pop singer Marc Anthony came out to sing ‘Endless Love,’ calling it the greatest love song ever written. They received a standing ovation for their duet.

The only person the audience didn’t see during the taping was Blake Shelton. The singer had to fly to Los Angeles for a live episode of ‘The Voice’ Monday night. Viewers will see a previously taped version of Blake and Lionel performing ‘You Are’ on the upcoming CBS special.

Even live, the taping of the songs were out of sequence as to how they will actually be seen on the television special. Toward the end of the evening, Nicole Richie, Lionel’s daughter, came out to tape the introduction of Lionel for the opening of the show.

Ethan Miller, Getty Images

“You probably think growing up as Lionel Richie’s daughter, I had some private concerts … and I did,” Nicole told the audience. “But the whole time he was singing to me, wearing those sweats with his big mustache and afro, I wasn’t listening. I was a toddler, not realizing that I was hearing some of the best songs recorded in the ’80s, and this is one of the best.” Lionel then came on stage to sing ‘Easy.’

“I’m having a surreal moment, because when Nicole was six, I was writing a song for her about the expectations of her life,” said the proud dad. “She remembered it. It’s called ‘Climbing,’ and we’re gonna do a little bit of it tonight.”

After the first verse of that song, Lionel immediately took his place at the piano and went into ‘Three Times a Lady.’ The fact that he received another standing ovation was a given.

“Thank you so much,” he said. “What an incredible evening. Thanks to the amazing talent tonight and those artists who perform on ‘Tuskegee,’ and for the chance to show off for my family. I spent a lot of time away from them and I want you to know I love you very much.”

Lionel then said, “You know, if we’re going to party there’s only one song that will do. And if you’re going to party in country music, there’s only one duo to call upon — Big and Rich! The pair joined Lionel on ‘Brick House’ for the evening’s grand finale.

The two-hour special, ‘Lionel Richie and Friends in Concert,’ will air on Friday, April 13, at 9:00 PM ET on CBS.

Watch Lionel Talk About His Grandkids

#fivemin-widget-blogsmith-image-68561{display:none;} .cke_show_borders #fivemin-widget-blogsmith-image-68561, #postcontentcontainer #fivemin-widget-blogsmith-image-68561{width:570px;height:411px;display:block;}
Lionel Richie Known As 'Pop Pop'try{document.getElementById(“fivemin-widget-blogsmith-image-68561″).style.display=”none”;}catch(e){}

Watch Lionel Richie & Shania Twain’s ‘Endless Love’ Video


Best of the Web

More From Around the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your points and personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account with your Facebook account, just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing profile and VIP program points. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://theboot.com using your Facebook account.

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

Register on The Boot quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!

Not a Member? Sign Up Here.

Sign up for an account to comment, share your thoughts, and earn points to get great prizes.

Register on The Boot quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!