Lionel Richie and the soundtrack of life

Jun 10, 2014, 12:48 AM | Updated: 12:48 am

“We’ve been together for a long, long time,” Lionel Richie said while on stage at the Ak-Chin Pavilion here in Phoenix as part of his “All the Hits, All Night Long” Tour.

He was talking to his longtime fans, fans that were listening to his music when he was with the Commodores starting in 1968.

Richie has spent more than an eternity in the music business — 46 years — and even though he hasn’t released much new material, he can still pack in the crowds. Perhaps it is because we feel like “we’ve been together for a long, long time.”

It seems that way for me.

I’ve been listening to Lionel Richie’s music for 30 years — ever since I was a kid — mostly because my dad would pop the “Dancing on the Ceiling” cassette tape in as we drove around.

That’s the thing about music, though; it sticks with you. When Richie was singing, “Penny Lover,” “Hello” and “Say You, Say Me,” I couldn’t help but reminisce about riding in the back of my father’s Pontiac Bonneville singing along — just as I was last night.

Events become soundtracks in our lives. Sometimes, we fall in love to a soundtrack or endure break-ups through songs. Richie reminded us of that. He said, “We’ve been through a lot together. When I broke up, you broke up. When I fell in love, you fell in love…and when you did…you called on Lionel Richie.”

Music is personal, even if sometimes the ballads are cheesy or the break-up songs are overly dramatic. Lionel Richie understands this — that music touches us all in all different ways.

Sometimes it’s just fun and makes us dance. Richie got the crowd on its feet as he performed several hits from his Commodore days, like, “Lady,” “Sail,” and yes, even “Dancing on the Ceiling.”

All of those reasons were enough to see Lionel Richie live: Because of the memories his music recalls; because his songs remind me of childhood. For others, it’s thinking about falling in love.

I’ve been fortunate enough in the past five weeks to have covered a lot of memories through concerts alone. In May, I saw my favorite group, OutKast. Last week, it was Billy Joel, who always reminds me of my mom. With Lionel Richie, it was memories of my dad that came flooding in.

I love that about music; it’s unique that way. Everyone has their own soundtrack — mine just happens to include OutKast, Billy Joel and Lionel Richie.

So, yes, Lionel Richie, your music has been a part of my life for “a long, long time,” and it will continue to be for a long time to come.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Lionel Richie Set List, June 8, 2014, Ak-Chin Pavilion:

“All Around the World”

“Penny Lover”


“Ballerina Girl”

“You Are the Sun”


“Running in the Night”


“Oh No”

“Stuck On You”

“Dancing on the Ceiling”

“Three Times a Lady”


“Fancy Dancer”

“Sweet Love”


“Just to be Close to You”

“Endless Love” (the audience sang Diana Ross’ part)

“Say You, Say Me”

“Brick House/Fire”


“All Night Long”

Encore: “We Are the World”

Rob Hunter

Rob Hunter

New facts in Ferguson shooting may do little to change minds

Forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden said Michael Brown was shot six times by Ferguson, Missouri policeman Darren Wilson. Baden, who has performed over 20,000 autopsies, found that Brown has been shot four times in the right arm and twice in the head, once while his head appears to have been leaning forward. Many thought Brown […]
9 years ago
Rob Hunter

No excuses, VA, just help our veterans

It’s time to start calling the scandal at the VA by an appropriate name — a crisis. A Valley veteran suffering from PTSD after two tours in Iraq walked into the Phoenix VA on Wednesday and said, “I don’t feel well. I don’t trust myself.” He was reaching out for help and he was rejected […]
9 years ago
Rob Hunter

Rob’s 5 On It: Robin Williams’ best movie roles

Robin Williams was found dead in his Northern California home after taking his own life on Aug. 11. Here’s a look at some of his best movie roles: 1) “Good Will Hunting,” 1997
9 years ago
Rob Hunter

Mental illness, addictions likely got the best of Robin Williams

Robin Williams was incredibly, uniquely funny. He was talented actor, staring in movies and TV shows. He was also a very successful stand-up comic having last appeared in Phoenix in 2009.
9 years ago
Rob Hunter

US history fraught with baseless fear of immigration

A Reuters/Ipsos poll finds seventy percent of Americans think illegal immigrants threaten U.S. customs and beliefs. This thought has been consistent throughout the history of the country. Even the great sage Ben Franklin worried about immigration. He feared the German invasion the most. In a letter written in 1753 (when there were limited, if any, […]
9 years ago
Rob Hunter

‘Because I said so’ and other pet peeves

I’ll admit it: I have a few pet peeves. One of them is when rules are made up. Here’s an example from the security checks at Lollapalooza: Security at the three-day music festival consists of bag checks. Twenty feet beyond the bag check is the actual entrance to the festival. Let’s call it “No Man’s […]
9 years ago

Sponsored Articles

Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
Lionel Richie and the soundtrack of life