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Concert Review :Lionel Richie with Earth, Wind & Fire, @Capital One Arena

Photos Courtesy of Live Nation and Craig Hunter Ross

A night of music fortune graced the nation's capital on Friday, August 18th, when the "Sing A Song All Night Long Tour" stopped at Capital One Arena. The show boasts the presence of the iconic Earth, Wind & Fire, and Lionel Richie as the featured talent.

To my surprise, the show began promptly at 7:30 pm with the Elements kicking off the show. It's worth noting that the current Earth, Wind & Fire line-up boasts three of its original members: Philip Bailey, Ralph Johnson, and the legendary bassist, Mr. Verdine White. The band kicked off their portion of the show with "Shining Star" and delivered hit after hit for the next seventy minutes.

Elements fans know how expansive their catalog is, so naturally, all hits were part of the setlist. "Sing A Song," "Boogie Wonderland," "Let's Groove," and "Fantasy" had the audience on their feet. Surprisingly, the group played a snippet of my favorite EWF BOP, "Brazilian Rhyme (Beijo)." However, the highlight of the night was hearing Mr. Bailey's buttery falsetto on the ballads "After The Love Has Gone," "Devotion," and "Reasons." The band closed their set with a one-two punch of "September" and "In The Stone."

Mr. Richie finally took the stage after a short delay. To my disappointment, he began with "Hello "one of my least favorite songs. However, he quickly redeemed himself with a lively "Running With The Night performance." Lionel performed a mix of ballads from his solo and The Commodores catalog. The setlist included "Easy," "Truly," "Stuck on You," and "Sail On." He also performed up-tempo songs like "Dancing on the Ceiling," "Lady (You Bring Me Up)," and "Brick House."

Most of the night, the audience remained standing, a testament to Mr. Richie's songwriting talent and the carefully selected touring band members. Additionally, Richie engaged with the audience, sharing stories about the inspiration behind each song. Hearing Richie speak about his creative process for "Zoom" made me eager for a biopic. Lionel closed out his set with "We Are The World," followed by an encore of "All Night Long."

Richie's performance evoked nostalgia, but his voice wasn't in top form, possibly due to audio issues. At 74, I don't expect him to sound the same as he did in his prime. However, background singers could have covered up the issues. Nevertheless, Richie is a legend with numerous accolades who is allowed to have an off night.

As I exited the concert venue, one thing was sure: both acts could make a sold-out crowd sing a song all night.

Final Grade: B+


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