It was on a rather cold Saturday that I drove to Glasgow from Coventry to see Phil’s gig on the second leg of his First Final Farewell Tour. Upon arriving and having something to eat, I could hear the sound of Phil and the band still sound checking in the auditorium. Strains of Drums, Drums and More Drums; Another Day In Paradise and In The Air Tonight were to be heard by all and sundry. I made my way to the merchandise desk and made my selections from what was on offer before finding our seats.
Time moved on and every time that Brad Marsh, Phil’s drum technician came on stage there was huge applause and cheering. At this stage I had a horrible thought that the venue wasn’t so tall which might restrict the light show and give a rather diluted effect.
Down went the house lights after what seemed like an age and the usual announcement of what to do in an emergency came on. Then, as if by magic; Phil appeared and he started the night off with Drums, Drums And More Drums with him doing a drum roll on the snare drum for what seemed to be about two minutes and then he was joined by Chester Thompson and Luis Conte and then this turned into one of those drum duets that Phil and Chester used to do on the Genesis tours before it changed again into Timbantiocha which continued until the start of Something Happened On The Way To Heaven which blew me away last time I heard it which was at The La Scala gig in London.
Tonight it took on truly epic proportions with the brass section on really good form blasting a refreshing sound into this piece.
Against All Odds appeared again and to be honest I am not a great lover of this version, I much prefer the solo piano version which Phil has done in the past but nevertheless it was performed with gusto and energy.
Don’t Lose My Number was next and I have really grown tired of hearing this song but I was open to giving the song another chance and with the use of proper visuals to accompany it the song gelled well enough.
One More Night was closer to the original than versions which Phil had performed on earlier tours and it was performed with great enthusiasm which was matched by the audience’s participation. Can’t Stop Loving You was one of his more recent songs from the Testify album. It sounded great but the fans took this as their cue to go to the loo or buy drinks etc which I thought was rather sad. I enjoyed it and it worked well in the larger scale arena. The visuals tied in very nicely with the lyrics of the song too making it even more moving.
Hang In Long Enough is another great work-out for the brass section which was upbeat. True Colours was next and I am a fan of Phil’s version but not Cyndi Lauper’s original version though. It calmed everyone down for a well earned breather and set the mood for the next track; Come With Me which was another relaxing track. I would have preferred other tracks from Testify but there you go. Then before the next song, Phil read out a marriage proposal from someone in the audience, and apparently they said ‘Yes’.
A Groovy Kind Of Love was quite suitably next in the set list and appeared again in the same version as the 1990 tour.
Another Day In Paradise came next and I was surprised that Phil hadn’t gone into his spiel about homeless charities before hand the visuals this time placed the emphasis on the homeless statistics that brought the message of the song home suitably powerfully I do not recall there being any charity present to collect donations.
I had never heard We Wait and We Wonder live before and this was one of the highlights of the show for me. The visuals came into full play here with an explosion and then flames throughout the song. With Phil on the marching snare drum he was joined by Luis Conte on the opposite side of the stage. I think the inclusion of this song was a masterstroke because the song is just as relevant today with the terrible attacks on London in July 2005 and the almost daily atrocities in Iraq the lyrics were quite haunting.
Separate Lives I am sorry to say I could have done without. I am so bored by this song now and Phil has so much other material in his arsenal that he could have chosen instead of it. Although the song tells the story of the end of a relationship, I do think that Phil should end his relationship with this song especially as he sings so little of it these days!
At this stage of the concert I expected an interval, after all Phil isn’t a young man and neither are some of his band, yet he just soldiered on and the next song was one that I had been waiting for; the song that brings tension in the air and then releases it with some force right at the end: In The Air Tonight. If you have seen the First Final Farewell DVD then you will already know what this version of the song is like.
The visuals behind Phil were a little different with a blue screen with what appeared to be lightning strike joined in the middle where the black Gretsch drum kit was that Phil would beat to death towards the end of the song. This song always works for me, except when he does the piano version. The tension grew and grew and I could feel all the anger of my personal life about to erupt and then when he hit that infamous drum pattern, I felt that release of tension.
The video screens at the side gave the fans a good view of Phil and an overhead view of the drum kit which I appreciated. Sadly, our seats were so narrowly spaced that the air drumming had to be put on hold.
I have liked Dance Into The Light since I first heard it and this version continues the same trend. It is an irresistibly catchy song. The same can be said for You Can’t Hurry Love and a show by Phil wouldn’t be complete without this song.
There I was bobbing along with another eight or so thousand other fans! Two Hearts continued the party atmosphere and Wear My Hat which was more humorous than the version back in 1997. During the hat swapping, Leland Sklar ended up sporting a rather traditional tartan hat which was met with applause. Phil would later dub Lee as Lee McSklar… OK, perhaps you had to be there!
Invisible Touch is one of my favourite Genesis songs and considering that Phil was one of the trio responsible for creating the song it is only right that he perform it if he wishes although I have read many different opinions about his performance of it, I am going to stick my neck out and admit that I liked it although according to my girlfriend I looked like I was sucking a lemon!
There was no warning as the band launched into Easy Lover and my girlfriend was singing along as it is one of her favourites.
Sussudio is a favourite of mine and I had a great time seeing this performed back in 1997 when the confetti guns went off. Daryl sounded as though he was playing in a Reggae band because of the riffs he was playing and the rhythm section turned it into a Latin/Reggae fusion! The obligatory bit came for the audience to join in and Phil actually picked people who could sing, then he was joined by Danny Gillen who was holding Phil’s son Nicholas who joined his dad to sing Sussudio.
Considering that Always is not a Phil Collins song, I was glad to hear it. I find this version terribly romantic and having Phil sing it while I was next to my girlfriend was the cherry on the top of an already well iced cake. We were to find out afterwards that Phil’s mum was in the audience which is why he dedicated it to her.
The drum intro was the same as on the DVD before Daryl’s familiar guitar patter emerged and I knew what was coming next.
Take Me Home. Was it really that time already?! I found it moving really because it was like a goodbye knowing you won’t be seeing this person again. The visuals showed a red curtain as if it was the end of the night and it was, and as the last notes were dying out, Phil waved goodbye; the video screens showed a still of Phil waving and then he was gone.
- Phil Collins – Vocals / Drums
- Brad Cole – Keyboards
- Daryl Stuermer – Lead Guitar
- Ronnie Caryl – Rhythm Guitar
- Chester Thompson – Drums
- Luis Conte – Percussion
- Leland Sklar – Bass Guitar
- Amy Keys – Backing Vocals
- Lamont Vanhook – Backing Vocals
- Lynne Fiddmont-Lindsey – Backing Vocals
- Connie Jackson-Comegys – Backing Vocals
- Bill Cantos – Backing Vocals
- Drum Thing,
- Something Happened On The Way To Heaven,
- Against All Odds,
- Don’t Lose My Number,
- One More Night,
- Can’t Stop Loving You,
- Hang In Long Enough,
- True Colours,
- Come With Me,
- Groovy Kind Of Love,
- Another Day In Paradise,
- We Wait And We Wonder,
- Separate Lives,
- In The Air Tonight,
- Dance Into The Light,
- You Can’t Hurry Love/Two Hearts,
- Wear My Hat,
- Invisible Touch/Easy Lover,
- Take Me Home.
The show was much better than I thought. The stage was actually smaller than the DVD makes it look. Phil’s banter with the audience was better than I thought and much funnier.
The visuals were well thought out and in sync mostly with the songs, especially In The Air Tonight. The use of strobe lighting effects was a bit excessive and no warnings were given, but aside from that it was great.
The only negative things I have to say are the seating at the venue was a bit cramped, and the venue’s roof seemed a bit low hence why the stage looked a bit weird from my view point. I even finally managed to meet up with some members of the “Phil Collins Forum” after the gig and one lucky chap who I believe goes by the name of “UK76” Ulli Klemt who had been thrown a broken Chester Thompson stick; oh and thanks for the hug Lynnie. Here’s to the next time!
For more information about Phil please visit his official site www.philcollins.co.uk