CVIndependent

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Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Lionel Richie made one thing clear on Friday night at the Fantasy Springs Special Event Center: He didn’t like the weather.

“It’s too hot outside to be moving like this inside!” he told the audience at one point.

Sure, it was a scorcher outside, but that didn’t stop a near-sell-out crowd on Friday night from dancing and clapping along with the former Commodores singer and ’80s R&B hit-maker.

There were ample references to the infamous “Hello” meme that has circulated around the Internet—on homemade T-shirts people were wearing, on the video screen during the show, and even on an officially licensed sweatshirt that could be yours for the low, low price of $80 from the merchandise booth in the lobby.

Make no mistake: Richie remains relevant in the music industry today; his most-recent album, Tuskegee, went platinum and hit No. 1 on the Billboard Top 100 chart in 2012. The crowd was a mixture of people young, old and older.

Before Richie took the stage, the lights went off; thunder sound effects began; and strobe lights flickered as people howled and applauded. With energy like that, one had to expect an epic opening, and that’s exactly what we got: He played “Easy/My Love.” After just the first verse, he stopped the song, stood up from behind the piano, and said, “I need you on this!” When he returned to the piano, the audience sang the lyrics louder than he sang over the sound system.

It was evident from the start that Richie either had a cold, or his vocal chords needed some rest, as he struggled during the first two-thirds of the show. There were times when the guitars and harmonica were louder than he was.

Lionel’s band included a little R&B—and a little ’80s metal. His guitarist let loose and head-banged to some of the solos on the edgier Commodores songs, and the band even channeled Van Halen during the performance of “Dancing on the Ceiling,” playing the riffs to Van Halen’s “Jump” at the end of it.

Richie’s stage banter with the audience fell a little flat after his third complaint about the desert heat and a remark that the crowd “didn’t sound too bad for being from the desert.” There were some entertaining moments, such as when Richie pointed out that there were only five men sitting in the front row (one of whom was Monreaux frontman Giorg Tierez), and he asked one of them sternly, “Why you looking at me like that?” (Tierez later denied looking at Richie funny.)

One very amusing moment came when Richie said that at the meet-and-greet before the show, a big man walked up to him and said, “I’ve made love to your music many times.” Richie laughed and said he told him, “That’s a lie!” He then said the man’s girlfriend or wife replied: “I was there.” Also: Before playing “Brick House,” he told the audience: “Imagine traveling the world and judging ‘Miss Brick House’ competitions in each city.”

The last four songs were the highlight of the show—and his vocals seemed to be just fine as he ended the 80-minute concert with “Hello,” “Say You Say Me,” “We Are the World” and “All Night Long.”

Published in Reviews

We’re in the depths of summer. Some venues, like the Purple Room (as of July 2), are on summer break. However, there are still hot events taking place in the Coachella Valley—in locations where you can stay cool.

Get your dancing shoes ready for two events at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino. At 8 p.m., Saturday, July 15, CHIC featuring Nile Rodgers will be performing. At one point, Nile Rodgers claimed that he and CHIC would be appearing at Coachella in 2017—yet they weren’t part of the lineup. If you found that disappointing, here’s a great opportunity to see them. Nile Rodgers has been on the rise again thanks to his work with Daft Punk on the Random Access Memories album. Tickets are $39 to $69. If that isn’t enough … do you like dancing on the ceiling? At 8 p.m., Friday, July 28, the legendary Lionel Richie will take the stage. I remember when I was a small child in the 1980s hearing Lionel Richie on my mom’s car radio, and seeing his videos on MTV—when MTV was still a new thing. Don’t miss this one. Tickets are $89 to $159. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa is hosting some smaller events worth noting. At 8 p.m., Saturday, July 1, Imparables will be appearing. Imparables features two of Mexico’s funniest comedians, Adrian Uribe and Omar Chaparro, who will definitely leave you laughing. What more could you ask for? Tickets are $55 to $85. At 7 p.m., Monday, July 3, you will be in heaven if you grew up in the ’80s and ’90s, thanks to The Boy Band Night, featuring a variety of top-notch entertainers paying tribute to the boy bands you know and love. Another reason you’ll be in heaven: Admission is free! The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Spotlight 29 will have a fairly low-key July, but at 8 p.m., Saturday, July 8, the Old School Freestyle Festival will be happening, featuring acts such as Sir Mix-a-Lot (read my interview with him on coming up at CVIndependent.com next week), Taylor Dayne, Stevie B, the Ying Yang Twins and others. Tickets are $39 to $59. At 8 p.m., Saturday, July 15, Elton John impersonator Kenny Metcalf (right) will be returning to Spotlight 29. His shows are always an impressive tribute to the legend. Tickets are $20. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s has a lot going on; here are just a few events. At 9 p.m., Saturday, July 15, Shooter Jennings will be appearing. The son of Waylon Jennings, Shooter has made a name for himself with his own brand of country music, as well as some very strange rock music on his 2009 album, Black Ribbons. Tickets are $25. At 9 p.m., Friday, July 21, the Queen of Joshua Tree herself, Jesika von Rabbit, will be performing. She recently released her version of the Culture Club single “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?” which caught the attention of Boy George himself, who praised von Rabbit via Twitter. Also on the bill: Fartbarf (below), one of the most underrated acts to come out of Los Angeles in recent years. Imagine if Devo and Minor Threat had a baby … and then named it Fartbarf. Tickets are $15. At 9:30 p.m., Saturday, July 22, Terry Reid will be come to Pioneertown. Reid, a UK native who lives in the Coachella Valley, toured with the Rolling Stones and was almost a member of Led Zeppelin. He has a lot of stories, and he’ll gladly tell them to you. One of the funniest stories he told me involved Chuck Berry stealing his guitar amp. Tickets are $15 to $18. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

Copa Palm Springs has an intriguing entertainer returning to the reigning Best Nightclub, as picked in the Best of Coachella Valley by Independent readers: At 8 p.m., Saturday, July 1, through, Monday, July 3, everyone’s favorite small-in-stature comedian, Leslie Jordan, will take the stage. Famous for roles in Will and Grace (will he be in the revival?), American Horror Story and Ugly Betty, Jordan is no stranger to the Copa. Tickets are $25 to $45. Copa, 244 E. Amado Road, Palm Springs; 760-866-0021; www.copapalmsprings.com.

Published in Previews