Lionel Richie & John Farnham @ Rod Laver Arena
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Lionel Richie & John Farnham @ Rod Laver Arena

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When music icons John Farnham and Lionel Richie came together for the first of their two shows at Rod Laver Area, one expected greatness and that’s exactly what was delivered by these two superstars.

Farnham kicked things off and had much of the crowd up dancing from start to finish, belting out hit after hit with that voice we have come to know and love. Many of us have grown up listening to Farnham’s music, so this was a welcome trip down memory lane. Opening with classics Age of Reason and Hearts on Fire, Farnham then launched into Everytime You Cry, which featured nice harmonies from his backing singers.

Forever the gentlemen, Farnham gratefully accepted gifts from and shook hands with adoring fans throughout his set. He also had the crowd in stitches with his spontaneous jokes. Farnham concluded his set with audience sing-a-long favourites Pressure Down, That’s Freedom and You’re The Voice. His encore was a rousing rendition of AC/DC’s Long Way to the Top, which would have made them extremely proud.

It’s difficult to pinpoint highlights, as his whole set should be considered one, it was that good. Let’s just hope this isn’t the last time we see Farnham in concert, as most of the audience (myself included) would love to see him again. After a half an hour break Richie took to the stage, performing hits from The Commodores and his solo career. It was a slow start however, with lesser known tracks Just For You and Penny Lover leaving the crowd slightly subdued. It wasn’t until he belted out Commodores hits Easy and Brick House that the audience started coming to life.

Highlights included the audience singing Diana Ross’s part in Endless Love and hits Dancing on the Ceiling and All Night Long. Richie concluded the night with We are the World, which he co-wrote with Michael Jackson. Although Lionel Richie was great, he was overshadowed by John Farnham on this occasion. The only disappointment was that they didn’t come together to sing a duet at the end. This is only a minor criticism however, on what was a very memorable night.

BY ALI BIRNIE

Photo by Charles Newbury

 

Loved: John Farnham.

Hated: Nothing.

Drank: Strawberry daiquiri.