Published on theMusic.com.au, Jan 2019
Phil Collins fans are a seemingly impatient bunch, demanding the arrival of the English legend with a wave of whistles only ten minutes after the advertised start time. Their calls were swiftly acknowledged, as the house lights dimmed and a rolling black and white collage of the musical powerhouse’s career to-date graced the screen; images that raised anticipation in the room to an all-time high before Collins casually strolled into view to a near-standing ovation and took a seat between two spotlights.
“Good evening, Western Australia,” he began. “Had a back operation a couple of years ago. Back’s fucked… Not dead yet. But that won’t stop us from having some fun.”
Nostalgia was in full effect as the lush verse melodies of Against All Odds danced their way around delicate, glistening guitar lines into a huge stadium rock chorus that sent chills down your spine.
The rock affair continued to the beat of Another Day In Paradise, with Collins’ backing singers elevating his already spot-on vocals. A horns section stole the show during I Missed Again, which rolled into Hang In Long Enough as Collins showcased his air drumming skills to the beat of his son, drummer Nicholas.
“A couple of hundred years ago I was in a band called Genesis,” Collins said, a segue into Throwing It All Away. In-between the tune’s call-and-response sections, he rocked back and forth in his chair to reach its high notes, proving that, despite being in one place most of the show, he was still able to deliver every song with infectious energy.
His voice did most of the heavy lifting as evident in ballad Can’t Turn Back The Years, pop rock hit Inside Out and horn-driven party-starter Who Said I Would; three numbers that also showcased the eclectic nature of his extensive back catalogue, something that kept the show interesting.
Collins then embarked on an emotionally-charged duet with backing vocalist Bridgette Bryant. The duo danced their way through Separate Lives, marking a set highlight that had the room sitting in silent awe.
The real showstopper, however, came from Collins’ son who unleashed an insane ten-minute drum solo alongside percussion Richie “The Octopus” Garcia that made it hard to believe he was still a teenager. The audience were stunned and Collins would have no doubt been filled with pride at its conclusion. The beat rolled on, with Collins finally able to showcase his rhythm via a slap-top Cajon, shuffling into upbeat single Something Happened On The Way To Heaven.
Talent definitely runs in the family, with Nicholas shifting from behind the kit to a piano for You Know What I Mean, an emotional high point that carried the show to its conclusion via drum-heavy crowd favourite In The Air Tonight, The Supremes’ You Can’t Hurry Love and a handful of hits including Dance Into The Light, Genesis’ Invisible Touch, Easy Lover, climaxing in a flurry of confetti to epic dance party Sussudio.
By the time encore Take Me Home rolled around, the event was a strong contender for gig of the year. Phil Collins is definitely not dead yet, offering up a show that was equal parts uplifting, nostalgic and inspiring.