Sydney loves a good party, but the most important ingredient is sensational music, and last night’s showcase of old school R&B, funk and soul was just what the ‘dance and love doctor’ ordered to kick off our Easter long weekend. To think of just one of these artists, let alone 2, on the same bill, was enough to make me salivate when the tour was first announced. You would be hard pressed to not find a human anywhere across this planet somehow affected by not just Lionel Richie’s music, but by Nile Rodgers. They are two incredible musicians, singers/songwriters and producers with hundreds of millions of records sold, with numerous awards and accolades. What haven’t they achieved would be the real question? And ‘not much‘ would be the only reply.
Qudos Bank Arena was packed before Chic featuring Nile Rodgers lit up the stage. Oozing class, with 70’s glamour, when they all finally appeared, it could have been Studio 54 Sydney-style as ‘Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)’ got those butts moving. Every band member was suited up or sexily sparkling, as the crowd is awash with every generation from all walks of life, here to let loose and revel in these brilliant tunes. We were grooving to such classic tracks like ‘Good Times’ and ‘Le Freak’ before being treated to a classic Rodgers medley including ‘Coming Out’, ‘Upside Down’, ‘He’s The Greatest Dancer’, ‘We Are Family’ and ‘Like A Virgin’. All songs written, composed and produced by this musical genius.
It is so humbling to experience the Chic and Rodgers legacy live. What a talent and what a life! I cannot even begin to explain the thrill. Rodgers is just magnetic and all band members killed it, especially the lovely lady vocalists – Kimberly and Folami. You just want to disappear and stay moving on this dance floor. We were then spoiled with some Daft Punk ‘Get Lucky’ as the encore, co-written with the aforementioned band, as well as with Pharrell Williams and Rodgers. It was a perfect way to finish this set, and a genius move bringing these two acts together on the one night, as everyone was well and truly limbered up for Richie. Qudos was the place to be on this balmy Autumn night.
This man needs no introduction. We all know him as another legend, and monster staple of the music industry, for what seems like a multitude of lifetimes. Just Richie’s appearance on stage sets off screaming and whistling as ‘Easy’ begins this plethora of musical gems. Just the first of many Commodores songs we hear throughout the evening. It’s like coming home when ‘Lionel is on’. Richie is that interwoven with music and life that you never really knew a world without him being there. And it gets personal, very personal. You will dance, you will sing and you will laugh and cry. There will be much heart clutching and reminiscing as you try to control your emotions in public. But we all know that is impossible as even the burliest of men seem to let go when Richie is on. Everyone would have a Richie song that leaves them in a state of emotional exposure and, that in itself, is legacy in itself.
I silently high five to myself as ‘Running With The Night’ plays early in the set. I love the flashy 80’s dance tunes and this is just another excuse to keep dancing and tearing it up. Even as I write, I’m moving around to the beat. There are so many songs to choose from, I have no idea what will play on this ‘Hits’ tour but ‘Penny Lover’ would be my first unravelling. Straight for the jugular, it is exquisite. You just melt over and over again. ‘Truly’, ‘You Are’, ‘Stuck On You’ and ‘Still’. My Lord, it’s like flesh and bone isn’t even covering your heart anymore. These intense and sublime love songs, the melodies are works of art even on their own. Richie banters with emotional fans throughout songs and I hear numerous times ‘I looove you, Lionel!!’ scattered across the arena and this isn’t just the ladies – gentlemen, we hear you, loud and baritone clear. Let it all out, and this is the right gig to show your true self as we are all feeling the same.
Sydney and Qudos are laying bare their inner souls here tonight. ‘Three Times A Lady’ and ‘Sail On’ continue the onslaught until we get some ‘Lady (You Bring Me Up)’ and ‘Brick House/Fire’. Wipe those tears and dance! As I’m sure more tears will be on their way soon, but not until it’s time for some ‘Dancing On The Ceiling’. Even Richie comments on the crowd dance moves that have come out from deep within the ‘disco or 80’s closet’ throughout the night. Bravo Sydney!
Then it was ‘Endless Love’ time. Yet another top love song written by Richie. I knew if this song made it onto the set list tonight, I would need to reel in the blubbering. Thank God, Richie got us all to sing along to help distract from the obvious meltdowns. But then ‘Say You, Say Me’ and ‘Hello’ hooked us all the way back in. I try to hold off grabbing tissues by this stage and wonder how many humans have fallen in love, married or just danced to Richie’s music. Extraordinary and such a blessing this man has been to the world of music, so gifted and charismatic. Richie is certainly his own force of nature.
We are then reminded of another aspect of this legacy when Richie and Michael Jackson’s ‘We Are The World’ begins. Another behemoth of a song. Richie then brings up the many names of legends we have lost in the last few years, many very prematurely taken forever and it is crushing. And once again, the arena is flooded with deep emotions until Richie and band move off stage before our cracker encore of ‘All Night Long’. Yes, we need this now. The absolute smooth dance track that never fails to fill a dance floor and bring a wide smile to everyone’s face. No one wants this party to end, and after Richie receives another standing ovation, I watch the blissful crowd, ecstatic as they filter out slowly into the night, fully aware that they have witnessed another cranking Richie gig. Outside, I happily bump into friends from the past who are all floating and delirious, a very special night indeed.
As I leave, so pleasantly jelly-like from this evening’s journey of dance and passion, I can hardly contain myself. Still selling out arenas around the world, is no wonder at all. A magical night of Lionel Richie and Chic/Nile Rodgers shows us the depth of talent and brilliance we have in this world, which is always a welcome change from the negativity of human existence. Get your dancing shoes on and pre-pack those tissues, as this is one night you will want to bottle and keep in your pocket as your own personal medicinal elixir!
© MARINA KNEZEVIC 2018. All Rights Reserved.
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