If you were Lionel Richie–a popular artist with loads of hit singles, but by no means the funkiest guy on the planet– would you dare ask one of New Orleans’ greatest funk bands to open your shows? Evidently, you would.When Lionel Richie brings his current tour, dubbed “All Hits All Night Long” to five major cities this month, the opening act will be none other than Ivan Neville‘s group Dumpstaphunk.
In a press release Neville notes that “the Commodores are one of the pioneers of funk”– a statement we won’t argue with, though Richie has gone in a much smoother direction since leaving that group in 1982. His last album Tuskegee found him re-cutting his ’80s hits with a roomful of country stars. Meanwhile Dumpstaphunk have been on a roll, with the past spring’s Dirty Word being rightly acclaimed as one of the year’s best New Orleans albums. The group celebrated its 10th anniversary during Jazz Fest and just finished up an Australian tour in advance of the Richie shows.
The double bill isn’t coming to New Orleans, but will hit Barclays Center in Brooklyn (September 24), Chastain Park Ampitheater in Atlanta (September 27), Woodlands Pavilion in Houston (October 12), HP Pavilion in San Jose (October 17), and the Hollywood Bowl (October 18).
Richie of course played the Jazz Fest in 2010, and by all accounts wowed ’em with this ’80s chart-topper. We’re trying to hear how Dumpstaphunk’s grooves might fit into a live version if they wind up onstage together, but for the life of us we can’t imagine it: