By Eve Cheesmur
Date / Venue: Sunday March 23rd, Vector Arena, Auckland
Co-headlining acts seem like the rage at the moment, and it was no exception for last nights line up at Vector Arena where two stars took to one stage. Five time Grammy winner Lionel Richie and 'The Voice' ofAustralia, John Farnham would have been hard pressed to get an older crowd dancing on the ceiling on a Sunday night, but they definitely had everyone on their feet, producing hit after hit all night long (all night).
I like John Farnham. He is such a likeable guy. I'd go so far as to say, my dad and John would get on a treat. I can imagine them sitting across from each other, sipping on beers and out dad-ing each other with dad jokes. John enforced his stand up jokes on the crowd and it's fair to say, he could probably give up his day job to be a comedian.
But, it wasn't about the jokes and the charming banter with the audience, it was about The Voice, performing the hits. And boy, can the 15-time ARIA Award winner wail. It was a flashback to a happy childhood, listening to chart-topping hits including Touch of Paradise, You're the Voice (which included a bagpipe solo), Pressure Down, Talk of the Town, That's Freedom, and Love to Shine. I have never seen so many bingo wings flailing around in the air.
The lighting and visuals were pretty unimpressive for John's show, where the graphics resembled the screen saver on a Macbook Pro. The band was tight, although the backup singers were a bit too loud at times but John made up for the lacklustre lighting by danced to his own beat on stage.
Coming back for an encore to cover AC/DC's It's A Long Way to the Top (If you want Rock n Roll) and providing his own lyrics 'It's a long way to the shop if you want a sausage roll' a mullet-less John gracefully bowed and politely thanked everyone. He'd won me over with his charm and graciousness along with his nostalgic voice.
It felt like the crowd was predominantly there to see five-time Grammy winner Lionel Richie....and why wouldn't you be. With record chart topping including 'Hello', 'All Night Long' and 'Easy' written and performed by Lionel himself, the man is something of a legend.
The set started in quite a confusing way, a mish-mash of strobe lights, synths and Lionel's dulcet voice bouncing 'Hello' around the arena, I wasn't sure what we were in for, but it wasn't long till Lionel found his groove and the crowd pleasing hits started up.
At 64 years old, Lionel's hits from his time with the Commodores seemed to resonate with the crowd the most. The highlights package from his 90 minute set included Truly, Brick House, All Night Long, and an interactive crowd experience of taking Diana Ross' place in Endless Love. I still think the Lionel and his piano were the greatest success and thoroughly enjoyed the ballad of Stuck On You.
Lionel's band was bizarre. The drummer trapped inside a bullet proof casket, the bassist who seemed to be dancing as much as he was playing bass, and the guy on the saxophone/harmonic/keys/synths.....he was just plain annoying and almost ruined the show for me a couple of times. The redemption came in the form ofDancing on the Ceiling, and we were all up on our feet having a good old time to a dance floor (or roof) classic.
Two legends, one stage. There was no better, or worse act from the night.
(It's just that John was better than Lionel).