The Commodores, The Band Lionel Richie Was A Part Of Through The 1970’s, Join Him Onstage Earlier This Month At The Essence Music Festival

Written By: B. David Ferrel

New Orleans, Louisiana – Again onstage, performing at a seemingly agile peak as if today were still 1975, Lionel Richie thrills the audience for nearly two solid hours. In fact, Lionel Richie owned that stage as though performing a concert in 1968 even, the year the Commodores first signed with Atlantic Records; and yes, with the same enthusiasm as when they went on to Motown in 1972 (only now, however, without the saxophone).

But this time is a bit beyond-the-standard for Mr. Richie… At least, a bit beyond Richie’s standard of the past nearly three decades since his time with the Commodores.

This time, at the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans, his former band-mates joined him onstage. That’s right. The Commodores came to his aid onstage to finish out the set. For another difference, insignificant though it seemed, this reunion at the Essence Music Festival took place roughly two weeks after Richie’s 60th birthday. He’s still got some stamina goin’ on!

Lionel Richie and the Commodores had actually planned a reunion for a solid year, so now time has come; and obviously not passed for too long a period so as to be forgotten.

15th Essence Music Festival

The Essence Music Festival definitely had a gospel feel to it; this surely must be the best way to control the belligerent vandalism and injurious bar-fights. The reason for this annual festival, in fact, is for the celebration and restoration of African American cultural musicianship.

The Essence Music Festival began in 1995, and has been maintained there every year, except for 2006 due to Hurricane Katrina. Sponsored each year by Essence (magazine), Where Black Women Come First, this commemoration of the African American culture and contributions is the largest in the United States. In June 2009, the event began with a gospel from the Dallas pastor who presented the sermon for President Barack Obama’s inauguration, Bishop T.D. Jakes.

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