Belfast Telegraph

Lionel Richie has the Belfast Odyssey dancing on the ceiling

Review: Lionel Richie at Odyssey Arena, Belfast

By Andrew Johnston

When Lionel Richie last played Belfast in 2012, he promised he'd be back - and last night, he kept his word.

And neither the frequency of his visits here nor the fact he hasn't had a top 10 hit here in more than two decades seems to have dented his appeal.

Many legendary artists have found themselves no longer able to fill the Odyssey in recent years, but Richie was welcomed into a packed arena that was sold out.

Taking the stage in a black, military-style jacket, the veteran crooner revelled in the hero's welcome he received, as he belted out opening number All Around the World. It was the start of a high-energy performance that belied Richie's 65 years.

Richie's voice remained as warm and powerful as ever, and he effortlessly hit all the right notes, purring and vamping away.

Although there was room in the set for some newer tunes, the show was essentially as it was billed: All the Hits, All Night Long.

"It's cold outside," Richie jokingly grumbled near the start of the evening, blissfully oblivious to the fact that last night was mild by Northern Ireland standards. "Even though you're freezing to death outside, we're going to be on fire in here tonight," the singer announced, to a predictably ecstatic response.

Indeed, there was no escaping the party atmosphere, and Richie looked as if he was having as much fun as anyone.

Whether perched at the piano for evergreen ballads like Easy or Hello or belting out pop anthems such as Dancing on the Ceiling or All Night Long (All Night), Richie was on fire.

Richie gives his fans what they want, time and time again, and you suspect that as long as he does that, they'll keep coming out to see him.

Four stars

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