Lionel Richie, Shania Twain explore future on Las Vegas Strip

Las Vegas Review-Journal
By John Katsilometes
March 16, 2019

Lionel Richie just offered up this information, without provocation, on Saturday night:

He’s addicted. To exhaustion.

“That’s my thing, I’m addicted to exhaustion,” Richie, the honoree at the 23rd annual Keep Memory Alive Power of Love Gala at MGM Grand Garden Arena, said on the event’s “purple” carpet. “I love the idea of traveling around the world, and I’m going to do that again, and after that tour, I’m going to rest for a couple of months.”

Then, and only then, is he coming back for a residency on the Las Vegas Strip.

“We’re going to do it,’ he said before the event, which is the annual fundraiser for the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. “I love it here. But I need to see Paris, London, Copenhagen, and then after that I’m coming back to Las Vegas.”

Richie turns 70 in June. He has described himself as “Papa Bear” on the “American Idol” judging panel. He is easily the senior member of that long-running competition show.

”At first, I kept thinking, ‘What is this going to be like? I’m the oldest person on whole staff!’ Hey, if there is a history of music, I am that. But then I saw what Katy Perry and Luke Bryan will say and do, and I can’t go down that road. I can’t follow them, so I am the Papa Bear.”

Richie is still a dynamic showman and unfailingly energetic in one-on-one conversation.

“I hang around young people,” Richie said when I asked the how-do-you-stay-so-young question. “I hang around young people. Life is going to go on, so I hang around people who are talking about things I don’t know anything about. They know the future because they are the future.”

Richie said he’s honored to be honored by his longtime friends at the Ruvo Center.

“I have this gift, and the question is, what do you do with it?” Richie said. “I’m going to celebrate with music for a worthy cause and do some good.”

Tease of Twain

On the topic of superstar residencies on the Strip, Shania Twain simply batted her eyes in a teasing sort of way when asked about her upcoming plans in Vegas.

“I will be singing somewhere,” she said, smiling. “I wonder where that will be?”

She said to expect an announcement in June. I asked about her visit to Gwen Stefani’s show at Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood last Saturday.

“I was checking out that room,” Twain said. “I was checking out what Gwen was doing in there. I loved the indoor-amphitheater, party vibe. Gwen was just amazing. She inspired me.”

Twain introduced Richie, honoree of the night, by relating a story about when she lost her voice in 2011 and sought Richie for counsel. Richie offered her a chance to duet with him on any of his songs, and she chose to re-cut “Endless Love.”

“She walked into the room and said, ‘I don’t know if I can do this,’ ” Richie said from the stage. Richie remembered telling Twain, “We have something in common. We are both scared to death, because we have never done this before. Let’s just try it, and see how wrong we are about ourselves.”


2019 Power of Love gala highlights featuring Lionel Richie
In a spectacular night of philanthropy, Keep Memory Alive's 23rd annual Power of Love gala at the
MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday, March 16, 2019, brought top artists and cultural icons Shania
Twain, Snoop Dogg, Anthony Anderson, NE-YO, Anthony Mackie, Miguel, Leona Lewis, Bernie
Williams, John O'Hurley, Pedro Capó, Greg Phillinganes, Peta Murgatroyd, and more together to honor
music legend Lionel Richie and raise crucial funds and awareness for Cleveland Clinic Nevada.

Purple Carpet

Shania talking about her friend Lionel and supporting the Keep Memory Alive foundation.

Shania talking about how Lionel helped her find her voice again.

Ending song of the gala. "All Night Long" - Lionel Richie with Leona Lewis, Neyo, Miguel,
Snoop Dogg, Shania Twain, Pedro Capo

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Pedro Capo (singer)

Kimberly Friedmutter (author)