Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

Dec. 9, 1986: Lionel Richie performing at the first of his three sold-out shows at the Forum. This photo was published in the Dec. 11, 1986, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Marsha Traeger / Los Angeles Times Archive/UCLA

Dec. 9, 1986: Lionel Richie in concert at the Forum in Inglewood.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Marsha Traeger / Los Angeles Times Archive/UCLA

Dec. 9, 1986: During his concert at the Forum, Lionel Richie combined several of his best known ballads into a medley.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Marsha Traeger / Los Angeles Times Archive/UCLA

Dec. 9, 1986: Lionel Richie onstage at the Forum.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Marsha Traeger / Los Angeles Times Archive/UCLA

More galleries on Framework

return to gallery

Lionel Richie and benign rock

Pictures in the News | June 13, 2014

Friday's Pictures in the News begins in Brazil as the 2014 World Cup gets underway. Police in Brazil clashed with protesters, leaving at least eight demonstrators and three...   View Post»

   

Lionel Richie and benign rock

Pictures in the News | March 5, 2014

Wednesday's Pictures in the News begins in the Big Easy, as revelers throw beads in the rain to crowds below from the balcony during Mardi Gras festivities in the French...   View Post»

   

Lionel Richie and benign rock

Liberia: Remembering

By Carolyn Cole, Los Angeles Times Ten years ago the bloody siege of Monrovia marked the culmination of a brutal civil war in Liberia, a West African country...   View Post»

   

Lionel Richie and benign rock

Pictures in the News | May 31, 2013

Friday's Pictures in the News begins in Southern California, where the Powerhouse fire has charred more than 1,000 acres. Also in the Southland, Los Angeles County prosecutors...   View Post»

   

Lionel Richie and benign rock

Powerful tornado slams Moore, Okla.

A tornado more than a mile with winds up to 200 mph roared through the Oklahoma City suburbs Monday, flattening entire neighborhoods, setting buildings on fire and landing a...   View Post»

   

Lionel Richie and benign rock

Pictures in the News | April 4, 2012

Monday's Pictures in the News begins in Makati, Philippines, where self-taught artist Ronald Bautista works on his version of the Passion of Christ for his neighborhood's...   View Post»

   

Lionel Richie and benign rock

Pictures in the News | March 21, 2012

Wednesday's Pictures in the News begins in Mexico, where residents stand amid a damaged house in Ometepec after a powerful 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck the area, causing...   View Post»

   

Lionel Richie and benign rock

Pictures in the News | Jan. 3, 2012

In today's Pictures in the News: monkeys clamber after fruit on a foggy morning in New Delhi; a customer shops in "A Mall of Junk" in Depok, Indonesia; a lamp post provides a...   View Post»

   

Lionel Richie and benign rock

The Week in Pictures | Sept. 26 - Oct. 2, 2011

The trial of singer Michael Jackson's physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, begins in Los Angeles; Typhoon Nesat slams the Philippines, causing widespread flooding and destruction;...   View Post»

   

Lionel Richie and benign rock

Pictures in the News | August 2, 2011

At a feeding center at the world’s largest refugee complex in Dadaab, Kenya, a mother looks for signs of recovery in her severely malnourished 1-year-old son. The worst...   View Post»

Lionel Richie and benign rock

Dec. 9, 1986: Lionel Richie performing at the first of his three sold-out shows at the Forum.

In the Dec. 11, 1986 Los Angeles Times Calendar Section, Chris William reported:

Good, good, good, good vibrations. . . . That’s what you think of when you consider a concert by Lionel Richie, master of the happy romantic ballad and the humanistic dance single, the one-man “Up With People” of the ’80s…

Richie promised at the start of Tuesday’s show that “the one ground rule is that anything and everything goes,” but you just know there won’t be any startling surprises with this guy, onstage or off.

It’s hard to recall as benign a singer who’s reached anywhere near such pop plateaus (15 million copies sold of one album alone) in recent years. In a time when America doesn’t seem safe from its own politicians, maybe it needs to feel safe with at least one of its primary entertainers.

Richie and his band came off as the happiest-looking crew this side of the Brady Bunch. Professional cynics shouldn’t be too quick to nay-say all that. Of all the major performers who are required to be that consistently cheery each night, Richie does the most consistent job of being convincing in that role, and who’s to say that happiness is shallow? Certainly anyone who ever fell sway to John Lennon’s “Imagine” would be risking hypocrisy to brand Richie’s new “Se La” or “Love Will Conquer All” as hokey.

Of the two smartest things Richie did during the evening, one was not singing “We Are the World,” though he did offer an eloquent thanksgiving-type spoken rap. The other key move was combining some of his best-known ballads — like “Say You, Say Me” and “Three Times a Lady” — into a medley.

With few of the trademark slow ballads included in their entirety, the mood was mostly surprisingly upbeat, and the staging silly and clever — including a trick that had three band members dangling upside down from the overhead rafters at the climax of “Dancing on the Ceiling.”

Richie doesn’t begin to know the meaning of his favorite word (“outrageous”), but he does know how to wax warm and put on a show, and then some…

The first photo in the above four image gallery was published in the Dec. 11, 1986, Los Angeles Times. All the photos were taken by former staff photographer Marsha Traeger.

scott.harrison@latimes.com

Follow Scott Harrison on Twitter and Google+

Thumbnail view of all From the Archive posts.

No comments yet

Add a comment or a question.

If you are under 13 years of age you may read this message board, but you may not participate. Here are the full legal terms you agree to by using this comment form.

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until they've been approved.

Required

Required, will not be published