The 2022 iHeartRadio Musical Festival just got a whole lot funkier! Dressed in an eye-catching glittery jacket that perfectly matched the previous act, Sam Smith, the legendary Lionel Richie hit the stage at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Friday, September 23rd, to celebrate 50 years of chart-topping funk, pop, soul, & R&B hits.
To set the tone, Richie kicked off his set with his 1986 hit "Dancing On The Ceiling" off the album of the same name. The feel-good party track was just one of the musician's smash hits after parting ways with one of the biggest funk and soul bands to come out of Motown, the Commodores. Richie and his band got the crowding jumping by mashing up the song with Van Halen's biggest hit "Jump."
Next up was one of Richie's earliest hits as a solo artist, "You Are." The 1982 song off his self-titled debut solo album became popular for its smooth yet funky sound and Lionel's passionate vocals which were in top form for the night's performance. Taking it back to his days with the Commodores in the 1970s, Richie pulled out a real heavy hitter. Richie introduced the track by calling it, "the greatest song ever written by the Commodores." Audience members of all ages danced and sang along to their 1977 hit "Brick House" and the band's amazing saxophone soloist.
To give the iHeartRadio Music Festival audience a cool-down period, Richie sat down at the piano to sing his slower, but no less passionate, 1983 hit "Hello." The track became ingrained into the pop cultural lexicon for the memorable line "Hello, is it me you're looking for?" which the crowd diligently sang for Lionel. Even in 2015 when Adele released her hit song of the same name, people couldn't help but return to the 73-year-old's song, thus introducing it to a new generation of music lovers. "Three generations. I can't believe it," Lionel said earlier in the set, referring to the rare longevity of his music career.
Richie closed out his set with one of his most joyful songs ever. The audience erupted into a dance when the band began playing his 1983 fan favorite, "All Night Long." With iHeartRadio Music Festival's broad range of performers, Lionel Richie left the audience with a reminder of how great musicians can bridge generational gaps.
In case you missed 2022 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Lionel Richie, or just want to re-live all of the amazing performances, The CW will air a two-night television special on October 7th and October 8th from 8:00 P.M. to 10:00 P.M. ET.