Quirky T was fortunate to be able to conduct the Guitar Train to stop to see one of her favorite musicians, Phil Collins, in concert. I knew it would be a bittersweet experience since Phil Collins is not the able-bodied man he once was. I knew he would be sitting in a chair for the whole performance and not playing the drums because of back problems and drop foot. Still, I was not completely prepared for the moment he slowly walked on stage with the aid of a cane. That moment made me very emotional. I really hope he wasn’t in any pain. As much as I and other fans want to see him, he doesn’t need to be performing live anymore. Obviously something is propelling him to perform. Maybe it’s the chance to share the stage with his teenage son, Nic, or to prove the title of his recent memoir that he’s “Not Dead Yet”. https://guitartrain.wordpress.com/2018/01/28/how-much-do-you-want-to-know/
As soon as the music started, the fact that Phil Collins remained seated was not so obvious. He still can sing and had much energy despite having limited mobility. The songs played were hits from his Genesis and solo careers. The only song I wasn’t familiar with was “You Know What I Mean” which I’ll write more about later. With so many great songs to choose from, Phil said before he played the first Genesis song the chance that they would play the song we want to hear is slim. That was actually not true for me since I was happy with the three Genesis songs he sang – “Throwing It All Away”,
“Follow You Follow Me”,
and “Invisible Touch”.
I’m not used to him singing Genesis songs at his solo concerts. I liked how he always kept them separate but it made sense to sing some Genesis songs here because this tour may be his last performances. The only other Genesis songs I really would’ve liked to hear were my two favorites – “That’s All” and “Turn It On Again”. I realized that hearing “Abacab” and “Home by the Sea” would’ve been long shots.
As far as solo songs, I enjoyed all the songs performed except “Easy Lover” which has never been a favorite of mine. The only other solo songs I would’ve really liked to hear were “Don’t Lose My Number”, “I Don’t Care Anymore”, and my absolute favorite song of all time, “We Said Hello Goodbye”. So I can’t complain about his song selection except that it would’ve been nice to hear more songs but I understand if physically he couldn’t do more. One highlight of the concert was his duet with back-up singer Bridgette Bryant on “Separate Lives” which was slowly, beautifully done with drama and tension. Another highlight was the earlier mentioned song “You Know What I Mean” which Phil prefaced by saying his son, Nic, chose this song out of all his songs. The song provided a tender father- son moment as Nic played the song on the piano while his father was next to him singing it. Check out setlist.fm to see the complete set list for the concert. https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/phil-collins/2018/prudential-center-newark-nj-7b96aa74.html
I felt there was a fatalistic element hanging over the concert. Given Phil Collins’ ill health and age, some of his lyrics took on other meanings. He started the concert with the song “Against All Odds” which had the potent line “take a look at me now” which I was doing as a comparison to how he was in past concerts. Also in the song, “Hang In Long Enough” (which Phil has done), is the line “It’s a long, hard road and the end is getting near.”
I guess all we can do is be happy that we had Phil Collins music in our lives and be happy he’s still with us now. Despite my reservations about seeing Phil Collins in a diminished state, I’m so glad I went to the concert. It was another amazing concert by an amazing musician whose music has meant so much to me throughout my life.
Guitar Train passengers, how would you feel about seeing your favorite musician performing in a physically diminished state?