October 15, 2019
Talking Stick Resort
2019 has turned into the the 80’s all over again! This year Phoenix has enjoyed such rock icons as Billy Joel, The Rolling Stones, Mark Knopfler and Kansas to name a few. The latest 80’s superstar to come to the Valley of the Sun was Phil Collins. The years have not been kind to Phil with a variety if ailments and surgeries that have taken away his ability to play the drums. He walked on stage with the help of a cane and sat in a chair throughout the evening but to his credit and the crowds benefit Phil Collins can still sing and has all of the enthusiasm sense of humor that he did back in the day. And fear not – His 18 year old son Nicholas has taken the reigns on drums and has picked up quite nicely where his dad left off.
From the opening opening “Against All Odds” Phil had the crowd wrapped around his finger for the night. He played a variety of his solo hits along with a handful of Genesis songs. He hinted that he and his Genesis band mates are all still friends “…so you never know” leaving the door open to a possible Genesis tour.
Phil was backed by Daryl Stuermer, (Guitar, Genesis guitarist) Leland Sklar (bass) Brad Cole (keyboards) percussionist Richie Garcia and the enthusiastic Vine Street Horns – (trumpeters Harry Kim and Dan Fornero, saxophonist George Shelby and trombonist Luis Bonilla). The band was rounded out by 4 talented vocalists. The evening was filled with classics including “Don’t Lose My Number”, a wonderful version of “Follow You Follow Me”, “I Missed Again”, and a great version of “Separate Lives” featuring vocalist Bridgette Bryant who is an amazing talent in her own right.
Nicholas Collins is far more advanced as a drummer than your average teenager. Or twenty-something for that matter. And why wouldn’t he be having a respected rock icon drummer as a father/teacher. Nicholas didn’t miss a beat (seriously?) and nailed the sound that the crowd remembered from the 80’s that his father made famous. He went toe-to-toe on a lengthy, cool percussion solo with Richie Garcia. Nicholas played piano for Phil on “You Know What I Mean”. When introducing the song Phil deadpanned “I thought it would be good if he listened to my old records.” , after pausing and looking at Nicholas he added “So I made him go out and buy them, of course.”
The night would not have been complete without a booming version of “In The Air Tonight” which brought a roar from the capacity crowd who were on their feet for the final songs. The encore was “Take Me Home” which was the perfect way to end a thoroughly enjoyable night.
Phil Collins may have some health issues but he can still keep a crowd on its feet and is still quite the entertainer. Most of the crowd appeared to have been around in the 80’s when Phil was in his prime. But there were many young faces in this crowd that became new fans at this concert. Here’s hoping that Genesis does in fact get back together so we can see Phil again here in Phoenix soon.