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 when Gwen was doing in there. I loved the indoor-amphitheater, party vibe. Gwen was just amazing. She inspired me.”
Hitting the Mark
Raiders owner Mark Davis gave a quick progress report during his jaunt across the carpet.
“I’m pleased with the progress on the building, obviously,” he said, referring to the Las Vegas Stadium. He talked of the team’s final season in Oakland.
“It will be the 60th birthday of the AFL and also the Raiders, and the 100th anniversary of the NFL, so we’ll celebrating that as well,” he said. “That will be a good way to close our time in Oakland. And here, there is excitement with our new players, (premier receiver) Antonio Brown … I always say, the score at halftime doesn’t matter. We need to finish this off, and Jon (Gruden, head coach) and his staff are working their butts off to put together a great team by the time we get here.”
During their duel appearance on the carpet, Twain arrived and struck a full pose as Richie strode by as if not to notice her. As he walked between her and the cameras, he stopped and said, “Wait! I didn’t know you’d be here!” The two are longtime friends who re-recorded “Endless Love,” the original hit duet between Richie and Diana Ross.
Stage and TV star John O’Hurley, well-known for his role as J. Peterman in “Seinfeld,” was terrific in the role of King Arthur in “Monty Python’s Spamalot” at Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas. He played King Arthur in the musical, which closed in July 2008 after a little more than a year onstage.
“Not a day goes by that I don’t remember that time, it was our favorite time.,” he said with his wife, Lisa, at his side. “Our son (William) was just 6 weeks old when we opened, and he practically grew up backstage. It was one of the great shows I was able to do.”
Of his adaptation of the musical’s lead character, he said. “King Arthur was J. Peterman, a thousand years removed.”
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.