Lionel Richie, The O2, review: The ultimate crossover artist still reigns

The Richie revival rolls on

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The star who single-handedly kept Motown afloat in the '80s, Lionel Richie is duetting with "12,000 Diana Rosses" on the cloying ''Endless Love'' but still manages to keep the "7000 bodyguards" in the audience on side.

Indeed, the forty and fifty-somethings who said ''Hello'' to each other in 1984 can't get enough of his every man, interchangeable ballads that leave no lyrical cliché unturned.

Yet the sincerity of a perfectly-groomed performer who considered becoming a priest is contagious while the sheer number of hits – from the opener ''All Around The World'' to the inevitable ''All Night Long (All Night)'' – promised on the ticket and delivered over two hours by a compact, multi-tasking, five-piece band marshalled by musical director Chuckii Booker, eventually overwhelms even the most cynical.

These aren't tears but beads of sweat L R – as the gold initials above the keyboard of his grand piano say – is wiping away after a particularly funky ''Brick House'', the 1977 Commodores dance smash, the only time he growls like a soul man of yore.

Never in the Luther Vandross league as a 'quiet storm' balladeer, he remains the ultimate crossover artist, the serenading troubadour. “We'll see you at Glastonbury. We ain't done yet,” he says. The Richie revival rolls on.

On tour until March 31st 2015

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