Soul superstar Lionel Richie kept his promise to say Hello to his adoring Aberdeen fans following a sick note from his doctor 10 years ago.
The September 29 2012 AECC date was already on the back of the UK tour T-shirt when the soul superstar was forced to cancel that performance just days before the show.
He was suffering from illness and told to rest his voice.
His Aberdeen fans were devastated.
Here was a man that had scored hit singles and sold albums in the multi-millions since the mid-1970s – first with his group the Commodores – and, since 1982, as a solo artist.
So what happened?
Richie was struggling but was making progress after visiting his doctor.
He returned for a further consultation where he expected to be given the all-clear to make what would have been his third visit to the AECC in just five years.
The giant of pop-soul and R&B had previously played the Granite City venue in 2007 and 2009 and the shows were hailed a huge success by both fans and critics.
So he was determined to keep that September 29 date.
Although he had improved with the initial treatment, he was told to continue to rest his voice and decided to cancel his UK tour and concert dates in Ireland.
But there was some good news.
Richie released a statement in the wake of the AECC cancellation which said: “I would like to apologise to those of you who have purchased tickets for my shows.
“I am bitterly disappointed that I have had to postpone these dates, but I know that when I see you all in December, we can party All Night Long.”
His Aberdeen concert was rescheduled for December 13.
For Aberdeen that meant – once, twice, three times a Lionel!
Before the rescheduled gig he spoke to the P&J about his love for Aberdeen.
“I absolutely love playing Aberdeen,” he said.
“The intensity of the welcome from the people there blew me away.
“Aberdeen is a very charming city and every time I have played there fans have went absolutely wild for me.
“The friendliness of the people is a real credit to the city.”
Richie recharged his batteries
At the peak of his success, the singer fell off the radar for 10 years from 1986-96.
And Richie admitted to the P&J that an enforced break from the pressures of fame – due to illness, bereavement and divorce – ultimately saved his career.
“The time off did some amazing things for me,” he said.
“I had a chance to live real life away from fame and most importantly, it gave me a chance to recharge my battery.
“I didn’t plan to take so many years off. But it produced a renewed vibrancy about what I want and where I want to go.”
Richie was in fine voice when he returned to Aberdeen on December 13.
He brought the house down with a mix of new songs and those stone-cold classics!
The Evening Express review said: “It may have been a bit later then expected but Lionel Richie’s visit was worth waiting for.
“The renowned star had fans in good spirits in no time as his presence on the stage was met with cheers and claps echoing around the arena.
“The singer was in the north-east to perform at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre, after he was forced to delay his show in September having been told to rest his voice.
“Accompanied by an eclectic band of guitarists, piano players and drummer he soon had fans tapping their toes.
“Lionel’s voice was more powerful and vibrant than expected as he belted out classic tunes from his days in The Commodores.
“Audience members sang along to Easy (like Sunday Morning) before the star had everyone moving again for the well-received Dancing On The Ceiling.
“And the range of audience members, both young and old, showed how Lionel’s music had remained popular throughout his lengthy career.”
A champagne finish from the legend
Richie decided to warm himself from north-east chill with a glass of champagne!
As well as singing some of his most famous tunes, he made sure he interacted with the audience as he took them through an anthology of his music.
The EE added: “Lionel selected songs which he claimed had been there for fans through both heartbreak and celebration.
“The artist moved between classics such as Three Times A Lady to dancing along with his band to Brickhouse.
“Lasting almost two hours, Lionel proved he was still as entertaining and show-stopping as some of the newest singers of the day.”