by Albert Rodriguez -
SGN A&E Writer
If you were late to Tuesday evening's concert at Key Arena, you probably missed Mariah Carey's less-than-an-hour performance that to my disappointment only saw the pop diva run through a dozen songs, intertwined with three costume changes and a semi-chaotic number with her twin children. But in Carey's defense, since she wasn't the headlining artist, she did the best she could with her short allotted time; I only wish she'd been on stage longer.
Initially seated on a gold-framed throne and then rising up and singing her opening song at the foot of the stage, while wearing a tight black dress with silver frills, the power vocalist, who has sold a whopping 200 million records and collected 5 Grammys in her career, opened her set with 'Heat' from her E-MC2 album. Carey sounded incredible, belting out a few top ballads from her 30-year catalog, such as a gorgeous rendition of 'My All' and a flawless delivery of 'Vision of Love,' her first ever hit that had a church-like feel inside the arena.
'Heartbreaker' had a light disco vibe and was speckled with bits of Diana Ross' 'Love Hangover,' which she covered back in 2000 during a concert tribute to the Supremes singer. 'Touch My Body' was playful, if not unsurprisingly sexy, considering Carey has always welcomed sensuality into every facet of her career, from music videos to publicity photos to just about everything in between.
After greeting fans, many of whom were gay couples or friends dressed in matching shirts with Carey's album titles or face imprinted on them, the pop-R&B queen quickly summoned her makeup artists to the stage for a quick touch up before continuing on. A longtime LGBT community supporter, the global superstar accepted the Ally Award at the GLAAD Media Awards in 2016, presented to her by dear friend Lee Daniels, who directed Carey in the Oscar-winning film Precious.
During 'Always Be My Baby,' the singer's children Moroccan and Monroe, were brought out to the stage with one of their friends to help mommy sing it. But only Monroe, who at the age of 6 possesses mom's talent and sass, offered her vocals to the song; meanwhile brother Moroccan ran and jumped around the stage, not paying too much attention to what was going on. Like Carey said, 'they do what they want' and that they did; needless to say, her kids are really adorable and we'll probably be seeing more from Monroe in the years to come.
'It's Like That,' one of the native New Yorker's most recent hits, was cool and catchy, while 'We Belong Together,' a huge comeback single for Carey from 2005 that closed out her main set, delivered all the goosebumps and spine tingles it was supposed to. For an encore, Carey soared on a performance of 'Hero' that was dedicated to a friend battling cancer. And that was it. There was no 'Emotions,' 'Fantasy,' 'Make It Happen,' 'Someday,' 'Dreamlover,' 'Obsessed,' or several other songs that we were hoping to hear performed on Tuesday evening. Instead, we got to see Carey slip into three glittery gowns, all silver by the way, and a no-name DJ spin '80s and '90s tracks for about 7 minutes. Surely, there was time to squeeze in more songs.
After a long break, it was time for Richie. Settling into a piano that rose from below the stage, the five-time Grammy winner opened with 'Easy,' which included a snippet from 'My Love' and solo guitar and saxophone parts. He followed with 'Running with the Night,' displaying some tricky dance moves at the center of the V-shaped platform.
'Seattle, welcome to the show!' exclaimed Richie, surveying the adoring crowd on their feet and cheering wildly. Throughout the night, he would interact with the audience frequently, telling comical stories, or simply setting up the next song with a brief introduction.
Fans sang along to pretty much everything, like 'Penny Lover' and a beautiful version of 'Truly,' plus a spirited rendition of 'You Are' performed in front of a solid red-lit screen and Richie working the stage from side to side. 'Stuck on You' featured a harmonica and was dedicated to a couple, who were also super fans of Richie's, sitting just below the stage. Everybody was up for 'Dancing on the Ceiling,' which transitioned the venue into a party scene with exuberant energy bursting from all around.
The legendary singer-songwriter delighted longtime followers with a Commodores medley that stitched together verses and choruses of 'Fancy Dancer,' 'Sweet Love' and 'Lady (You Bring Me Up),' as well as full versions of 'Three Times a Lady,' which found Richie hanging onto a note for about a minute before wrapping up the song, 'Brick House,' 'Just to Be Close to You' and 'Sail On,' which Richie noted was penned when his ex-wife said 'Would you please just go away,' which are part of the song's lyrics.
'Hello,' off the Alabama-born musician's second album Can't Slow Down, featured a large disco ball lowered from the arena's roof down to about ten feet above the heads of those on the main floor. 'Say You Say Me' erupted into another sing-along with even grown men belting it out at the top of their lungs. A surprise entry on Richie's set list, and something he didn't include on his last tour stop in Seattle a few years ago, was 'We Are the World,' a universal hit that he co-wrote with Michael Jackson. Photos of artists who participated in the recording of the song, which benefited food charities in Ethiopia, were shown as he performed it. This capped the main portion of Richie's performance.
'All Nite Long (All Nite)' was the closing number and the lone song played during an encore. No one stayed seated for it, as concertgoers were on their feet jubilantly dancing and singing as if attending a big wedding reception; it was a really fun way to end it all. And 'all' being the key word because Richie promised he'd unload all the hits on this tour, and with the exception of 'Still' and 'Endless Love,' which to my disappointment was not performed with Carey, a missed opportunity if you ask me, he did indeed deliver all the hits.
Seattle was the final night of this collaborative tour of Richie and Carey with no immediate word on an extended run. The show was originally scheduled for April, but the former artist was forced to reshuffle a series of dates as a result of a knee injury. I'm glad to report that he's in great health and sounds amazing, so here's to the likely possibility we'll hear all those hits again in the near future.
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