Lionel Richie scanned the crowd at MGM Grand Garden Arena and announced, “I’m in show mode. I gotta do one more.” He then led a run of his 1983 hit, “All Night Long,” backed by friends and entertainers Shania Twain, Snoop Dogg, Anthony Anderson, Ne-Yo, Anthony Mackie, Miguel, Leona Lewis, Bernie Williams, Pedro Capó, Greg Phillinganes and Peta Murgatroyd. Even event founder Larry Ruvo and wife Camille, and Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak and wife Kathy Ong joined in.
It was an apt conclusion to the 23rd annual Keep Memory Alive “Power of Love” gala, where 1,450 people turned out to honor Richie and raise money and awareness for the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.
The night began with Siegfried Fischbacher presenting Lonnie Ali, wife of boxing legend Muhammad Ali, with the Keep Memory Alive Caregiver Hero award, for going above and beyond to care for those who are unable to care for themselves. “I am proud to be honored not just as Muhammad’s wife,
but also as his care partner and caregiver,” Ali said.
In his remarks, Richie said, “What you all are doing tonight is helping mankind and actually making a difference in the world. I’m so proud to be here tonight to share this award.”
Also in attendance were actor John O’Hurley; Raiders owner and newly appointed Keep Memory Alive board member Mark Davis; former Oakland Raiders player and coach Fred Biletnikoff; “Bar Rescue” star Jon Taffer; British singer and Mirage headliner Matt Goss; singer-songwriter Clint Holmes and his wife, singer Kelly Clinton-Holmes; and author Kimberly Friedmutter. Mark Shunock, founder of The Space; and
Bob Torti, late of “Rock of Ages” at the Rio, helped emcee.
Celebrity chefs Wolfgang Puck and Daniel Humm served Maine lobster, Alaskan king crab salad with Kaluga caviar and veal with paired wines from Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits. MGM Grand’s pastry team created an illuminated, revolving dessert, to end the night on a sweet note.
Paying tribute to Richie’s hits, Lewis and Miguel sang “Endless Love,” performing together for the first time, followed by Latin star Capó, singing “Running with the Night.” Ex-New York Yankees great Williams sang “Lady You Bring Me Up,” before Ne-Yo joined him for a duet of “Easy.” Snoop Dogg and Ne-Yo brought the crowd to full-groove mode for “Brick House.”
Ne-Yo wore a giant Afro wig and Snoop was in full ‘70s regalia. As Ne-Yo said, “If we’re gonna do this, we’re gonna do it right!” He spoke of that particular song, but he could have been talking about the entire night.