’’I was led to believe this was a summer gig - it’s as cold as hell up here’’ said Lionel Richie as the sun set over Edinburgh Castle and we started to chitter slightly more than expected considering it’s July.
But, professional to the sole of his boots, he mentioned it with a smile - and the warmth he generated made up for the fact some us didn‘t think about packing a decent coat, let alone gloves and a bunnet.
Richie certainly knows how to work an audience.
After ‘winning’ Glastonbury, he basically repeated the trick on the castle ramparts to a full house.
Next year marks the 30th anniversary of the release of ‘Dancing On The Ceiling’ his most successful album, but he’s still going strong, playing for fun, and, having fun. With a songbook second to none, he simply cherry picked the absolute best from his stint with The Commodores, his own solo career and songs written for folk such as Diana Ross.
Stage craft? Ach, he makes it all look so effortless as he flitted from duetting with the audience on ‘Endless Love’ to bathing the entire esplanade in a glorious rendition of the timeless ‘Easy’ and then generating a romantic, nostalgic ‘aah’ around the stands as he struck up the intro to ‘Three Times A Lady.’
True there were a couple of fillers - one or two of the old, perhaps less well known numbers haven’t aged that well - but then he simply rolled out another of the big hits and the place was up on its feet once more.
And when you have ‘All Night Long’ and the utterly irresistible ‘Dancing On The Ceiling’ up your sleeve - which morphed into a segment of Van Halen’s ‘Jump’ (and why not!) - then you can pretty much declare yourself king of the castle.
I suspect Lionel Richie is one of the coolest 66-year olds living right now.
By the time he’d taken his final bow, no-one was bothered by the cold night anymore ...