Festivals

Bonnaroo 2014: Lionel Richie Pokes Fun at Himself, Gets The Kids Dancing

Lionel Richie
Photo: Tim Mosenfelder, Getty Images Entertainment

Lionel Richie performs at Bonnaroo on June 14, 2014.

Lionel Richie’s resume is probably triple the length of any other act playing the 8:00 pm time slot during Bonnaroo’s 2014 lineup, and in a lot of cases, Richie is twice the age of those other artists. He’s the old guy in the room. He gets it, and he takes it with stride and grace. To the young folks, he’s been all but reduced to a meme, the leaned-back pose with the giant afro from the “You Are” single cover art. Somebody in the front row of Bonnaroo’s main stage crowd even came dressed as this version of Richie, which the singer acknowledged with a smirk.

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“Two ways this next one is gonna go down. Either you’re gonna dance on the floor…..” he said, twice, repeating himself to get the crowd riled up for “Dancing on the Ceiling.” Richie then took the crowd through some song deconstructions, relating the circumstances through which the song came into existence. Richie brought the funk towards the end of his set, dropping the Commodores classic “Brick House” and  transitioning into the Ohio Player’s “Fire” for a bit before returning to triumphantly end the track. "Brick House" also served as a suitable prelude to a song that Richie said “takes no language, no politics, no country” to appreciate: “Hello.”
 
“No idea what to expect when I came to Bonnaroo, but I’ll be back! We have been together for a very long time. Thank you all very very much for an amazing lifetime,” he bellowed earnestly to the crowd for performing “We Are The World” as the encore.

Billboard's Bonnaroo 2014 Video