Concert of a lifetime for loyal Richie fan
For Denise Wood, Lionel Richie has been a comforting voice during tough times.
Meeting the American pop star would top the New Plymouth fan's bucketlist, but failing that she'll be content to watch him perform today at the TSB Bowl of Brooklands.
"Three things have gone wrong for me this year so if I die after the concert, I'll be happy," Mrs Wood said.
In the past year Mrs Wood has fallen and hurt her back, had her home's plumbing give up the ghost on Christmas Day and suffered a broken heart.
"The romance didn't survive but Lionel was there.
"You listen to his songs and he's had his heart broken too."
Determined to find out when Richie was arriving yesterday, Mrs Wood drove out to the airport where she bumped into Invercargill mayor Tim Shadbolt.
"I said: 'You're not Lionel but you'll do, can I have a photo'?"
She also rang the Taranaki Daily News in search of any information regarding Richie's arrival.
"I'm a middle-aged woman and I feel like a teenager."
Mrs Wood was shocked to find Richie was expected to arrive on his private jet at New Plymouth Airport about 8pm tonight.
"He's cutting it fine, we're meant to be seated at 7.15pm and there's roadworks out there."
It was Richie's "wholesomeness" that made his music resonate with her.
"All his songs have meaning, they're all beautiful love songs.
"He's got a good heart."
She was keen to replace her framed internet photo of Richie with a snapshot.
And if she did get a chance to meet the man himself she knew what she'd say.
"Hello, is it me you're looking for?"
Meanwhile, revellers at the concert will be grooving under clear skies, according to MetService.
The forecast is fine with fresh south-easterly winds on Saturday with a maximum of 23 degrees Celsius in the afternoon and 9C overnight, forecaster Frances Russell said.
"It looks like it will be quite good.
"Things are much more settled than last weekend."
The concert kicks off at 7.15pm tonight.
Taranaki Daily News