Tuesday, July 01, 2014

There's Only One Love, Yours And Mine

It was actually raining when Lionel Richie was singing You Are last Sunday night. We had pavilion seats at the show, but the storm that rolled through brought with it a nice wind, so it rained on us even in section 400.

As he sang "You are the sun, you are the rain," I watched the fine, sideways mist catch in the stage lights and thought, I am standing in the rain... with Lionel Richie! 

Fans scattered and squeezed toward the center of the pavilion as it got wetter, which only added to the ambience if you ask me.

We were all damp, singing and happy. Or at least, I was.

Dear Lionel: I'll stand in the rain for you. I don't mind and I don't miiiiiiiind... xxox, Gina

I was completely star struck by Lionel, I'll admit. I looked up at the stage in awe, my hands clasped together like a fangirl, and I belted out the hits along with him.

And so did the woman next to me. She was from Mississippi and had come to the Tri-State with her friend who wanted to visit all 50 states before she turned 50. They were able to cross Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky off of their list while the woman next to me got see Lionel in the process.

She was the perfect seat mate. We were both super thrilled to be there, and I had a companion in singing and dancing... all night long. When she kamaru'd left, I kamaru'd left. When I fiesta'd right, she fiesta'd right. We were sisters in Lionel.  

And Lionel, what I can I say. He hasn't lost an ounce of range or soul in his voice. He was as smooth sounding on stage at 65 as he was in videos I danced to in my living room decades ago. (Who I am kidding, I was dancing to his videos in my living room last week!)

And he was just as fit. Obviously ol' Lionel has made a deal with the devil because neither his face nor his body have any signs of aging. Good on him. (Yo, Devil, I'm interested in a deal, call me.)

He was such an affable entertainer too, telling funny stories and bantering about song origins. He looked and acted as though there was no where else he'd rather be than on stage in Cincinnati, Ohio, burning through his hits. And true to the tour's name, All the Hits, All Night Long, he played nearly two hours of solo and Commodore's hits. You've got to give it to an artist who can play nearly two hours of songs everyone knows the lyrics to.

"We've been through a lot together!" he told us. "When you were in love, I was in love! When you fell out of love, I fell out of love! It was a disaster, then it got worse! So you got your albums, your 8 tracks, your cassettes.... And who'd you turn to? Lionel Richie!"

And then he played Still, Oh No and finally Stuck On You in succession.

That was the bad, the worse and disaster of love, apparently. And I believed him. I felt like I had been transported to every breakup I've ever had and lived it all over again, only this time better, and with more feeling, because it was with Lionel!

By the end the three song 'love disaster' trifecta, when he asked us who we would turn to in our new hardships and love affairs - with our CDs, our cassettes, our digital music - everyone yelled, "Lionel Richie!"

"Damn right, you will," he said, as keyed the opening notes to Stuck on You.

He really was a funny and charming storyteller. I left the show feeling like I had been through things with Lionel Richie.

The crowd of course loved All Night Long and Hello, enjoyable but weaker songs in my opinion. (It would have been better if there was a fake blind woman on stage molding a bust of his head from a hunk of clay. Hello!)

But he really shined with his other hits, and by the end we were all swaying and singing together, united by our love of Lionel Richie.

My favorite moment, other than singing "You are the sun, you are the rain" in the rain to Lionel, was the stunningly beautiful My Love. When he hit the chorus I felt faint. I grabbed Ray and looked at him like, We are going to have a moment right here, right now, whether you like it or not.

I sang to Ray like I wrote the lyrics from the deepest recesses of my heart, serenading him with the love that Lionel Richie once had for his wife. (But not anymore, because they're divorced.)

I think Ray was into it.

But even with nearly two hours of music there were still plenty of hits we didn't hear. While not one of his bigger commercial hits, Do It To Me is one my favorite Lionel jams, but it didn't make the All the Hits, All Night Long cut.

Lionel and I are going to have work through this, just like we did all of our other highs and lows.

Dear Lionel: Let's work this out. I love you. xxox Gina

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